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Clergy Discipline in the Church of England: Knowledge, Understanding and Attitudes among the Clergy and Laity.

School of Law

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Dr C L Smith Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Clergy discipline is a topic of perennial, if somewhat squeamish, interest in the Church of England. Yet, despite this, and despite the implementation of a new system for dealing with non-doctrinal offences in 2006, and new systems to regulate training, continuing professional development and capability, the Ecclesiastical Law Society has repeatedly stated its concern that there is widespread ignorance of ecclesiastical law and the legal obligations of the clergy. Such concerns have recently been reiterated at a time when there is, in some quarters at least, both a real anxiety that clergy discipline in matters of doctrine and liturgy has broken down, and that church officers are unwilling or unable to enforce conformity with legal obligations. This PhD will be primarily empirical and will explore the knowledge and understanding of ecclesiastical law among the clergy and laity of the Church of England, and attitudes amongst those groups to the deployment of legal mechanisms to maintain clergy discipline, particularly in contentious matters of doctrine and liturgy.

The successful candidate would be expected to hold a Masters degree (or equivalent) in a socio-legal, theological or related discipline, at least at Merit Level. Alternatively, candidates with a good first degree in such disciplines may considered in relation to an application for a +4 award from SeNSS or SWW DTP.

Funding Notes

The successful applicant would be expected to hold a Masters degree (or equivalent) in a socio-legal discipline at least at Merit level.

Students need to be self-funded, although the University does offer some regional bursaries.
More information can be found here:

Support is available for the candidate to apply for UKRC funding:

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