The law on waiving parochial fees

Church of England legislation allows incumbents/priests-in-charge the legal right to waive parochial fees. The key points from the guidance below explain when this right can be applied, and hoe to do it with due regard for diocesan and parish office holders.

Full guidance on waiving parochial fees is on the Church of England website.

Key points from the guidance

The incumbent/priest-in-charge has a right to waive the DBF and PCC elements of parochial fees “in a particular case…”. Fees may be waived in cases of financial hardship, but should not be waived just because, for example, the people having the life event service are members of your church. 

If there is no incumbent/priest-in-charge in the parish, the rural/area dean can waive fees on the same basis as an incumbent or priest-in-charge can. 

There is not a statutory requirement for the incumbent/priest-in-charge to consult anyone before waiving the DBF fee, but, if an incumbent/priest-in-charge is considering waiving this fee for any reason, guidelines laid down by the diocese should be considered. You may wish to consult an Archdeacon but be aware that consultation does not mean permission. 

You must, however, consult the Churchwardens before waiving the PCC fee, but it is still the incumbent/priest-in-charge who will take the final decision.  

Letting others know

In the case of funeral fees, if you are open to waiving fees as described above, let your local Funeral Director know, (whilst being clear it is not a blanket policy, but taken on a case-by-case basis). Remember funerals for under 18s have no parochial fees payable at all and should never be charged for. 

In the case of wedding couples, you may wish to have a note on your church website, or in your weddings literature, so they are aware they could ask about your policy if needed.   

Last updated

Published June 2024 / Next review date June 2025