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An Act to abolish the Jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts in Ireland in Cases of Defamation, and in England and Ireland in certain Cases of Brawling.
[3d July 1860]
WHEREAS it is expedient to abolish the Jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts of England and Ireland over Persons not in Holy Orders in Suits for Brawling, and to abolish the Jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts of Ireland in Suits for Defamation, as hath already been done with respect to the like Jurisdiction in England: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same:
That it shall not be lawful for any Ecclesiastical Court in England or Ireland to entertain or adjudicate upon any Suit or Cause of Brawling commenced after the passing of this Act against any Person not being in Holy Orders, nor shall it be lawful for any Ecclesiastical Court in Ireland to entertain or adjudicate upon any Suit or Cause of Defamation commenced as aforesaid; and in the Case of every Person committed or to be committed to Gaol under any Writ De contumace capiendo, issued in consequence of any Proceedings before any Ecclesiastical Court in any Cause or Suit for Defamation of Character, or where such Person is not in Holy Orders for Brawling, the Judge of the Ecclesiastical Court before whom such Proceedings shall have been had shall make an Order upon the Officer in whose Custody such Person shall be at any Time hereafter for discharging such Person out of Custody, and such Officer shall on the Receipt of such Order forthwith discharge such Person; and it shall not be necessary for such Person to take any Oath of future Obedience to his or her Ordinary: Provided always, that such Order shall not be made unless the Costs lawfully incurred in any such .Suit shall have been previously paid into the Registry of such Ecclesiastical Court; provided further, that where any such Suit for Brawling or Defamation has been commenced before the passing of this Act, and final Judgment has not been given thereupon, or where final Judgment has been given, but the Defendant has not been taken under a Writ De contumace capiendo pursuant to such Judgment, the Court, upon Payment by the Defendant of the Costs of Suit incurred by the Promoter of the Office of the Judge to the Time of the passing of this Act, shall stay all further Proceedings therein.
Any Person who shall be guilty of riotous, violent, or indecent Behaviour, in England or Ireland in, any Cathedral Church, Parish or District Church or Chapel of the Church of England and Ireland, or in any Chapel of any Religious Denomination, or in England in any Place of Religious Worship duly certified under the Provisions of the Eighty-first Chapter of the Statute passed in the Session of Parliament of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Years of the Reign of Her present Majesty, intituled An Act to amend the Law concerning the certifying and registering of Places of Religious Worship in England, whether during the Celebration of Divine Service or at any other Time, or in any Churchyard or Burial Ground, or who shall molest, let, disturb, vex, or trouble, or by any other unlawful Means disquiet or misuse any Preacher duly authorized to preach therein, or any Clergyman in Holy Orders ministering or celebrating any Sacrament, or. any Divine Service, Rite, or Office, in any Cathedral, Church, or Chapel, or in any Churchyard or Burial Ground, shall on Conviction thereof before Two Justices of the Peace be liable to a Penalty of not more than Five Pounds for every such Offence, or may, if the Justices before whom he shall be convicted think fit, instead of being subjected to any pecuniary Penalty, be committed to Prison for any Time not exceeding Two Months.
Every such Offender in the Premises after the said Misdemeanor so committed immediately and forthwith may be apprehended and taken by any Constable or Churchwarden of the Parish or Place where the said Offence shall be committed, and taken before a Justice of the Peace of the County or Place where the said Offence shall have been so committed, to be dealt with according to Law.
Any Person convicted as aforesaid who shall think himself aggrieved by such Conviction may forthwith appeal to the next Court of General or Quarter Sessions which shall be holden not less than Twelve Days after the Day of such Conviction for the County, Riding, Division, City, or Borough wherein the Cause of Complaint shall have arisen; provided such Person shall enter into a Recognizance with Two sufficient Sureties before the convicting Justices, conditioned personally to appear at the said Sessions and to try such Appeal, and to abide the Judgment of the Court thereupon, and to pay such Costs as shall be by the Court awarded; and upon such Recognizance being entered into, the Justices shall liberate such Person, and the Court at such Sessions shall hear and determine the Matter of the Appeal, and shall make such Order therein, with or without Costs to either Party, as to the Court shall seem meet; and in case of the Dismissal of the Appeal or the Affirmance of the Conviction, shall order and adjudge the Offender to be punished according to the Conviction, and to pay such Costs as shall be awarded, and shall, if necessary, issue Process for enforcing such Judgment.
The Act Chapter Four of the Statute passed in the Session of Parliament of the Fifth and Sixth Years of the Reign of Edward the Sixth is hereby repealed, so far as relates to Persons not in Holy Orders.
Nothing herein-before contained shall be taken to repeal or alter the Statute passed in the Second Session of the First Year of the Reign of Queen Mary, Chapter Three; or the Statute passed in the First Year of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, Chapter Two; or the Eighteenth Section of the Statute passed in the First Year of the Reign of King William and Queen Mary, Chapter Eighteen.
Provided also, That nothing herein contained shall limit, restrain, or abolish the Power possessed by the Ordinary over the Fabric of any Church or over the Churchyard or Burial Ground connected therewith.
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