Counsel's Opinion on the application of Measures of the Church Assembly to the Isle of Man

COUNSEL were requested to advise the Legal Board of the Church Assembly upon the following questions.
Questions. Joint Opinion.
1. Do Measures of the Church Assembly which receive the Royal Assent in any circumstances apply to the Isle of Man without further confirmation or enactment by Act of Tynwald or otherwise? 1. The enabling Act does not expressly apply to the Isle of Man. The Common Law of the Island differs in details from that of England, and having regard to the wide extent and nature of the Measures which under the Act acquire the force and effect of an Act of Parliament, there is in our opinion no such necessary implication as would bind the Island though not expressly referred to in the Act.
It does not, however, follow that the Diocese of Sodor and Man remains unaffected by the Act. The Act cannot be taken to have contemplated, throught the Measures it allows, a division in the Church of England as regards Doctrinal Formulae or the Services of Ceremonies of the Church, or the administration of the Sacraments of sacred rites thereof (See Clause 14(1) of the Constitution). The Church of England must be and remain one church in these respects. The Constitution of the Church Assembly was agreed to by the Convocation of York in which the Diocese of Sodor & Man is represented, and in our opinion that Diocese will be bound in all matters spiritual by Measures taking effect under the enabling Act.
Although, therefore, in our opinion the Isle of Man is not included in the Act, it is indirectly affected by it, in as much as the Island qua a Diocese of the Province of York, while remaining unaffected as to the temporalities of its clergy must, as a constituent part of the Church of England, be bound by its formularies as and though varied from time to time under the authority of the Act.
We think that the history of the Island, its Church Legislation since the Revesting Act, and the avoidance of legislative interference by Parliament in matters which affect Church temporalities within the Island support this view.
On the principle above indicated the following Measure would bind the Diocese of Sodor & Man :-
  • The Table of Lessons Measure 1923
If the Diocese desires to be represented in the House of Laity of the Church Assembly its representatives must be elected in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, and of any measure amending those provisions such as the Representation of the Laity Measure 1922.
The following Measures would not be binding on the Island or the Diocese:-
  • The Union of Benefices Measure 1923.
  • The Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measure 1923.
  • The Benefices Act (Amendmt.) Measure 1924.
  • The Diocesan Board of Finance Measure 1925.
  • The Extinguishment of First Fruits etc. Measure 1926.
  • The Clergy Pensions Measure 1926.
2. Do they apply if the Isle of Man is specially mentioned? 2 & 3(a) In our opinion Measures affecting spiritual matters apply to the Island, whether the Island is specially mentioned or not.
3.(a) Do they so apply when the Island is not specially mentioned if by necessary implication they extend to the Island?
(b) Is there such a necessary implication where the measures deal with e.g. the performance of Ecclesiastical duties, Clergy discipline & so forth (matters general to Clergymen of the Church of England as such)? 3(b) In our opinion Measures dealing with the performance of Ecclesiastical duties, clergy discipline, and matters of a like nature do not apply to the Diocese, at least where they affect the temporalities of the Clergy. It is significant in this respect that the Church Discipline Act 1840 has been regarded as not applying to the Island, and the Clergy Discipline Act 1892 expressly does not so apply (Sec 13(3)).
4. If any Measure applies to the Isle of Man without confirmation of separate enactment by Act of Tynwald can its application be excluded or modified by Act of Tynwald? 4. In our opinion the application of a measure which on the principle above indicated applies to the Island can not be excluded or modified by Act of Tynwald.
5. If a Measure of the Church Assembly of a general character does not by necessary implication apply to the Isle of Man and is not expressed to extend to the Isle of Man, is there any power by Act of Tynwald to establish for the Isle of Man the general law enacted by the Measure? 5. As to Measures which on the above principle do not affect the Island, we think Tynwald can apply any of their provisions to the Island so long as such legislation is merely supplementary with regard to its own territory.
6. Generally 6. We understand the Diocese is again being represented in the Church Assembly which circumstance accords with our view that in some respects the Assembly can legislate for the Diocese.
The Manx Church Assembly Act 1925 will provide useful machinery for supplementing Measures dealing with or affecting Church temporalities and therefore in themselves not applicable to the Island.
W. F. K. Taylor
P. H. Maugham
F. H. L. Errington
22nd June 1927