Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919

Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919

Long title An Act to confer powers on the National Assembly of the Church of England constituted in accordance with the constitution attached as an Appendix to the Addresses presented to His Majesty by the Convocations of Canterbury and York on the tenth day of May nineteen hundred and nineteen, and for other purposes connected therewith.
Citation 9 & 10 Geo. 5 c. 76[1]
Territorial extent England and Wales
Royal assent 23 December 1919[1]
Commencement 23 December 1919
Other legislation
Amended by Synodical Government Measure 1969 (No. 2)[2]
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted

The Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 (9 & 10 Geo. 5 c. 76)[1] is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that enables the Church of England to pass primary legislation called Measures. Measures have the same force and effect as Acts of Parliament.[3] The power to pass measures was originally granted to the Church Assembly, which was replaced by the General Synod of the Church of England in 1970.[2]


The Act creates an Ecclesiastical Committee, consisting of fifteen members of the House of Lords chosen by the Lord Speaker, and fifteen members of the House of Commons, chosen by the Speaker of the House of Commons. The members are appointed for the duration of each parliament, and vacancies may be filled by the speaker of the relevant House.[4] A quorum for business is twelve members.[5]

The General Synod refers any measures which it desires to pass into law to the Legislative Committee, a body appointed by the General Synod from among its own members. This Committee forwards the proposed measure to the Ecclesiastical Committee, together with any comments or explanations that it, or the General Synod, wishes to add. (However the Legislative Committee may not amend the measure.) Either Committee has the right to consult with the other in a joint conference to debate the measure.

The Ecclesiastical Committee then drafts a report for Parliament, "stating the nature and legal effect of the measure and its views as to the expediency thereof, especially with relation to the constitutional rights of all [Her] Majesty’s subjects."[6] The Legislative Committee may then decide whether to allow the report to be presented to Parliament, or withdraw the measure. The General Synod may also direct the Committee to withdraw the measure. The Ecclesiastical Committee may not present the report without permission.

If the Legislative Committee wishes to proceed, then the report and the measure are both presented to each House of Parliament. If both Houses pass a resolution agreeing to the measure, then it is presented to the Queen to receive royal assent. On receiving royal assent it becomes a law.[7]


The Act states:

"A measure may relate to any matter concerning the Church of England, and may extend to the amendment or repeal in whole or in part of any Act of Parliament, including this Act".

However, a measure may not affect the "composition or powers or duties" of the Ecclesiastical Committee, or the procedure in Parliament for passing measures.[8]

Human Rights Act

Under the Human Rights Act 1998, a measure which is incompatible with a human right under the European Convention on Human Rights may be made the subject of a declaration of incompatibility by the courts. However, the "fast-track" procedure under the 1998 Act for amending incompatible legislation does not apply to measures.[9]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 (original text)". 1919-12-23. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  2. 1 2 "Synodical Government Measure 1969 (No. 2)". 1969-07-25. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  3. Section 4.
  4. Section 2(2).
  5. Section 2(3).
  6. Section 3(3).
  7. Section 4.
  8. Section 3(6)
  9. Human Rights Act 1998, section 10(6)

External links

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