The Registry is the legal office of the Diocese. Its officers are appointed, and its work is governed by a large number of statutes and measures, notably the Ecclesiastical Judges and Legal Officers Measure 1976. Under orders made by the General Synod, the Registry’s work includes (but is not limited to)
- giving general legal advice to clergy, parish officers, boards and councils throughout the Diocese
- assisting clergy and answering parishioners’ enquiries relating to marriage
- functions as Registrar of the Diocesan Synod
- consecration of churchyards
- operation of the faculty jurisdiction
Such advice is given free of charge to parishes and diocesan officers. It is always best to ask for advice from the Registry sooner rather than later, as legal problems, if left unaddressed, can become increasingly difficult to resolve.
Most of the staff at the Registry are also qualified solicitors, practising as Winckworth Sherwood, a national law firm with particular involvement in the not-for-profit sector, as well as extensive involvement with the Church of England at a number of levels.