The faculty jurisdiction of the Church of England pre-dates planning law by several centuries.
It is the means by which the diocesan bishop, through his chancellor and in his consistory
court, ensures that the sacred buildings of the diocese and their contents are compliant with
the canon law, doctrine and ecclesiology of the Church of England. During the latter part of
the last century, the effective operation of the faculty jurisdiction contributed to the
continuing exclusion of churches of the Church of England from the need for listed building
control. The rationale is that the faculty jurisdiction provides a level of protection for the
church's built heritage equivalent to local authority protection, but uniquely tailored for the
sacred purpose of the buildings and the evolving needs of individual worshipping
communities. A balance constantly needs to be struck which respects the rigour required of
both ecclesiastical and secular authorities (with their competing but complementary
demands), but is not so cumbersome that it deters and frustrates parishes and other
interested persons and bodies from engaging with it.