Master of the Faculties
The Master of the Faculties is a functionary in the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury and has some important powers in English law, in particular the appointment and regulation of public notaries. The position is now always held by the Dean of Arches.
The Master of Faculties has retained his historical responsibility with respect to public notaries in England and Wales. This regulatory function is now subject to the statutory provisions of the Public Notaries Acts 1801 and 1843, and the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990. The Master of Faculties is an approved regulator under the Legal Services Act 2007: it is the sole relevant approved regulator for notaries but is also a relevant approved regulator for certain dealings in land registration and real property, and for probate and the administration of oaths.
Public notaries in some Commonwealth jurisdictions, such as New Zealand and Queensland, Australia, are still appointed through the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, though in all other Australian States and Territories they are appointed by the relevant Supreme Court.
Following the English Reformation, the Ecclesiastical Licences Act 1533, s.3 gave the Archbishop, or "hys commissarie", power to issue "suche licences dispensacions composicions faculties delegacies rescriptes instrumentes or wrytynges have byn accustomed to be had, at the See of Rome". This included the power to appoint notaries in the ecclesiastical courts and the office of commissarie developed into that of the Master of the Faculties.
- Create rights as to pews, monuments, and rights of burial places; or
- Grant licences such as a faculty to erect an organ in a parish church, to level a churchyard, or to exhume bodies buried in a church cemetery.
List of Masters of the Faculties
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- Sir Charles Caesar (1638–1642)
- Robert Aylett (1642-?)
- Sir John Birkenhead
- Henry Paman (1684–1689)
- Sir Charles Hedges (1689–1714)
- Rt Revd Samuel Halifax (1770–1790)
- Lord Stowell (1790-?)
- John Nicoll (1838–1841)
- Sir John Dodson (1841–1857)
- Stephen Lushington (1858–1873)
- Sir Robert Phillimore QC (1873–1875)
- Lord Penzance (1875–1898)
- Sir Arthur Charles (1898–1903)
- Sir Lewis Dibdin QC (1903–1934)
- Sir Philip Wilbraham Baker Wilbraham, Bt (1934–1955)
- Sir Henry Willink QC (1955–1971)
- Walter Wigglesworth QC (1971–1972)
- Sir Harold(Pecker) Kent QC (1972–1976)
- Revd Kenneth Elphinstone QC (1977–1980)
- Sir John Owen QC (1980–2000)
- Sheila Cameron QC (2000 to 2009)
- Charles George, QC 2009–
- Halsbury 1273
- Coke, E. Institutes of the Lawes of England 4 337
- Burn, R. The Ecclesiastical Law, 4th ed., 2
- 41 Geo. 3 c. 79
- 6 & 7 Vict. c. 90
- 1990 c. 41, s.57
- "Explanatory Notes to Legal Services Act 2007". Office of Public Sector Information. 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
- "About the Faculty Office". The Faculty Office. 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. .
- Ayliffe, J. Parergon juris canonici anglicani: or, A commentary, by way of supplement to the canons and constitutions of the Church of England 384
- Brooks, C. W.; et al. (1991). Notaries Public in England and Wales since the Reformation. Norwich: Erskine Press.
- Cheney, C. R. (1972). Notaries Public in England in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-19-822352-8.
- Lord Mackay of Clashfern (ed.) (1997) Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed. Vol.14, "Ecclesiastical Law", 1273
- — 4th ed. reissue Vol.33 "Notaries", 702