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Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 2020

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Parochial registers and records

8Parochial registers

(1)In section 25 of the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978 (interpretation), after subsection (1) insert—

(1A)In the case of a register book of services which is, by virtue of Canon F 12, kept in an electronic or other form approved by the General Synod—

(a)a reference in this Measure to the register book of services includes (where the context allows) a reference to that register book in that form, and

(b)a reference in this Measure to an electronic register book of services is to be construed in accordance with this subsection.

(2)After section 6 of that Measure insert—

6AAccess to electronic register book of services

(1)This section applies where there is an online facility provided by one or more of the National Institutions of the Church of England for enabling any person who has the custody of an electronic register book of services to allow any of the National Institutions and certain other persons to have access to the information contained in that register book.

(2)Every person who has the custody of an electronic register book of services must follow the procedure provided for by the online facility so as to allow any of the National Institutions of the Church of England, and such other persons as the Institution or Institutions concerned may authorise, to have access to the information contained in that register book.

(3)Where a person is given access under subsection (2) to the information contained in an electronic register book of services, the person shall be responsible for the safe-keeping, care and preservation of the information which the person obtains as a result.

(3)After section 16 of that Measure insert—

16AMaking electronic register book of services available for certain purposes

(1)Any person who has the custody of an electronic register book of services may, for a limited period and in the manner approved by the bishop of the diocese concerned, make the register book available for the purpose of exhibition or research or for the purpose of enabling a copy to be made of the register book or any part of it.

(2)The power conferred by subsection (1) may be exercised at the request of any person; but, whether or not such a request is made, the power may be exercised only with the consent of the parochial church council concerned.

(3)Where such a request is refused or the parochial church council refuses to give its consent, the bishop of the diocese concerned may, on the application of the person who made the request, order the register book to be made available for the period and in the manner specified in the order.

(4)Before exercising the power under subsection (3), the bishop must give the person who has the custody of the register book and the parochial church council concerned an opportunity to make representations.

(4)In section 24 of that Measure (service of notices and orders), in subsection (1), after “or by post” insert “, or by electronic means”.

9Parochial records

(1)In section 25 of the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978 (interpretation), in subsection (1), for the definition of “records” and the definition of “records in parochial custody” substitute—

  • “records” means materials in written or other form setting out facts or events or otherwise recording information, but a reference to a record does not include a reference to—

    (a)

    a register book,

    (b)

    anything which is or has been fixed to the fabric of a parish church or other place of public worship in a parish, or

    (c)

    a photograph or picture which is or has been displayed in a parish church or other place of public worship in a parish;

  • “records in parochial custody” means records—

    (a)

    in the custody of an incumbent or priest in charge or of churchwardens or of a parochial church council, or

    (b)

    in the joint custody of any of those mentioned in paragraph (a).

(2)In that section, after subsection (1A) (inserted by section 8(1)) insert—

(1B)In subsection (1), the reference in each of paragraphs (b) and (c) of the definition of “records” to a parish church or other place of public worship in a parish includes a reference to—

(a)an adjoining building used wholly or mainly as a vestry or sacristy, and

(b)a church hall.

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