Part V

HOUSE OF LAITY OF GENERAL SYNOD

[MEMBERSHIP OF THE HOUSE OF LAITY]*1

35. (1) The House of Laity of the General Synod shall consist of -

(a) the members elected by the diocesan electors of each diocese as hereinafter provided;

(b) two members chosen by and from the members of religious communities having their mother house in either province in such manner as may be provided by a resolution of the General Synod;

(c) such ex-officio and co-opted members as are hereinafter provided.

(d) not less than three nor more than four members elected or chosen in such manner as may be determined by the Forces Synodical Council as soon as practicable after any dissolution of the General Synod, being actual communicants, provided that the total number of persons elected or chosen to serve on the General Synod by virtue of this sub-paragraph, paragraph 1(d) of the provisions relating to the Convocation of Canterbury of Canon H 2 and paragraph 1(bb) of Canon H 3 shall not exceed seven.

(2) For the purposes of this Part of these rules the diocese in Europe shall be deemed to be a diocese in the Province of Canterbury.

(3) For the purposes of this Part of these rules, the diocesan electors of a diocese other than the diocese in Europe shall be the members of the houses of laity of all the deanery synods in the diocese other than:

(a) persons co-opted to the deanery synod under rule 24(7); or

(b) persons who are lay members of a religious community with separate representation in the General Synod under paragraph 1(b) of this rule.

(4) The diocesan electors of the diocese in Europe shall be such number of persons elected by the annual meetings of the chaplaincies in the said diocese as may be determined by the bishop's council and standing committee of the said diocese, and any lay person who is:

(a) an actual communicant as defined in rule 54(1)'

(b) of eighteen years or upwards, and

(c) a person whose name is entered on the electoral roll of such a chaplaincy'

shall be qualified for election as a diocesan elector by the annual meeting of that chaplaincy.

(5) The qualifying date for lay members of religious communities under paragraph (1)(b) of this rule and for diocesan electors under paragraphs (3) and (4) of this rule shall be 6.00 a.m. on the date of the dissolution of the General Synod, save that when a casual vacancy is being filled, the qualifying date shall be 6.00 a.m. on the date on which the nomination papers are issued.

(6) The register of lay electors shall be open to inspection at the diocesan office and any errors and omissions in the list may be corrected until the close of nominations. Thereafter no names may be added or removed until the declaration of the result of the election and those persons whose names are entered in the register shall be the qualified electors entitled to vote in that election.

ELECTIONS OF MEMBERS

Number of Elected Members

36. (1) The total number of members directly elected and specially elected from the dioceses in the Province shall not exceed 136 for Canterbury and 59 for York and no diocese shall have fewer than three directly elected members (except the diocese in Europe which shall elect two members, and the diocese of Sodor and Man which shall elect one member). The representatives of the religious communities referred to in rule 35(1)(b), the elected or chosen persons referred to in rule 35(1)(d), ex-officio and co-opted members (as defined in rule 42) shall be additional to the said total number.

In this rule the term 'specially elected' means … the representatives of the Channel Islands elected in accordance with the provisions of the Channel Islands (Representation) Measure 1931 and such persons shall be included in the said total number.

(2) The total number of members to be elected by the diocesan electors of all the dioceses shall be fixed by resolution of the General Synod not later than the last day of February in the fifth year after the last preceding election of the House of Laity (but subject as hereinafter provided), and the resolution shall apportion the number so fixed to the Provinces of Canterbury and York in a proportion of 70 to 30 or as nearly as possible thereto and shall divide the number among the dioceses (using such divisor method as may from time to time be specified for the purpose by the Business Committee of the General Synod) so that the number of members to be elected by the several dioceses are as nearly as possible proportionate to the total number of names on the rolls of the parishes of the diocese in question.

[(3) repealed.]

(4) The number of members of the House of Laity to be elected by each diocese, when fixed by the General Synod as aforesaid, shall forthwith be certified to the secretaries of the diocesan synods.

(5) If the General Synod is at any time dissolved … before the fixing of numbers under this rule by the General Synod … , the General Synod or the Presidents thereof may give directions with respect to the fixing and certifying of the numbers of members to be elected to the House of Laity by each diocese, and the directions may provide that the numbers so fixed and certified on the last previous occasion shall be deemed to have been fixed and certified for the purpose of the election following the dissolution, and the directions may, if the dissolution is known to be impending, be given before it occurs.

Qualification of Elected Members

37. (1) Subject to the provisions of rule 1(4) and of rule 46(A), a lay person shall be qualified for election for any diocese by the diocesan electors of the diocese if -

(a) he is an actual communicant as defined in rule 54(1) but as if, in that definition, for the words "whose name is on the roll of a parish and" there were substituted the word "who";

(b) he is of eighteen years of age on the date of the dissolution of the General Synod or, when a casual vacancy is being filled, on the date on which the nomination papers are issued in accordance with rule 39(3);

(c) his name is at 6.00 a.m. on the date of dissolution of the General Synod or, when a casual vacancy is being filled, on the date on which the nomination papers are issued in accordance with rule 39(3), entered on the roll of any parish in the diocese or, in the case of a cathedral which is not a parish church, on the community roll or, in the case of Westminster Abbey, St George's Chapel, Windsor and the cathedral church of Christ in Oxford is a person who at any time within the period of two months beginning one month immediately before that date is declared by the dean of the cathedral church to be an habitual worshipper at that cathedral church.

[(1A) repealed.]

[(2) repealed.]

(3) Where a diocese is divided into two or more areas in accordance with rule 38(2), any person who under this rule is qualified for election for the diocese shall be qualified for election for any such area whether or not the parish on whose roll his name is entered, or the cathedral church on whose community roll his name is entered, is situated in that area, but no person shall be nominated for more than one such area at the same time.

Electoral Areas

38. (1) Subject to any division of a diocese under this rule every diocese shall be an electoral area for the purposes of elections to the House of Laity.

(2) So far as is consistent with any rule made under the Standing Orders of the General Synod under rule 39(8) and subject to paragraph (3) of this rule, a diocesan synod may, for the purposes of any election, divide a diocese into two or more areas, and apportion the number of members of the House of Laity to be elected for the diocese among such areas, and the election shall be conducted in each area as if such area were a separate diocese. Where a diocese is so divided, a diocesan elector who is a representative of the laity shall vote in the area to which the body by which he was elected belongs, and a diocesan elector who is not a representative of the laity shall vote in such area as the diocesan synod may decide. Any such division shall remain in force until it is revoked by the diocesan synod.

(3) If a diocesan synod decides to divide the diocese into two or more areas in pursuance of this rule the division shall be made in such manner that the number of members to be elected in any such area will be not less than three.

Conduct of Elections

39. (1) Subject to any directions by the General Synod or the Presidents thereof, elections to the House of Laity shall be carried out during the three months immediately following any dissolution of the General Synod and shall be so carried out in each diocese during such period within the said three months as shall be fixed by the archbishops of Canterbury and York.

(2) The presiding officer in each diocese or each area of a diocese shall be the registrar of the diocese or a person appointed by him with the approval of the registrar of the province, except that, if the said registrar is a candidate in the election, the presiding officer shall be a person appointed by the registrar of the province. The expenses of the elections shall be paid out of diocesan funds.

(3) On receipt of the names and addresses of the qualified electors from the diocesan electoral registration officer the presiding officer shall ensure that in respect of the election -

(i) those persons are sent or given nomination papers; and

(ii) only such persons are sent or given voting papers at the address entered against their names in the register of electors.

The presiding officer shall also send nomination papers to any other person who requests them.

(4) Every candidate must be nominated and seconded by diocesan electors qualified to vote in the area in which the candidate is seeking to be elected. All nominations shall be in writing, shall include the year of the candidate's birth and a statement as to whether the candidate is seeking re-election and, if so, as to the dates of the candidate's previous service and shall be delivered either by post, by facsimile transmission or in person to the presiding officer of the area, together with evidence of the candidate's consent to serve, within such period, being a period of not less than twenty-eight days ending on such date as may be specified by the presiding officer, provided that where a nomination paper has been sent by facsimile transmission the name of the candidate shall not appear on the voting paper unless the original nomination paper has been received by the presiding officer within three days of the closing date for nominations.

(5) It shall be the duty of the presiding officer -

(a) to scrutinise nomination papers as soon as they have been lodged and he shall, without delay, inform the candidate concerned whether the nomination is valid. Where the nomination is invalid the presiding officer shall give his reasons for so ruling and if, by the close of the nomination period, no valid nomination is received, the candidate shall be excluded from the election;

(b) to supply free of charge to a duly nominated candidate in the election one copy of the names and addresses of the qualified electors (including, if an elector has authorized the use of an electronic mail address, that address) within seven days of receiving his written request.

(6) If any of the candidates so request the presiding officer shall despatch to every elector election addresses from those candidates being not more than one sheet of A4 paper. One copy of the address shall be provided by the candidates at their own expense and be delivered or sent by electronic mail to the presiding officer by such date as he shall determine being not less than seven days after the close of nominations. The presiding officer shall be under no obligation to despatch to electors election addresses which are received after the due date or which are not in the prescribed form.

(7) It shall be the duty of the presiding officer in any election under these rules to seek to ensure that during the period beginning with the date on which nominations are invited and ending on the last date for the return of voting papers, no papers or other literature except election addresses prepared by the candidates under paragraph (6) of this rule shall be circulated to the electors by him or by or under authority of the diocesan synod or in the deanery synod or distributed at a synod meeting which in his opinion are likely to prejudice the election. The rural dean and the lay chairman and secretary of the deanery synod shall also be under a duty to seek to ensure that during the election period no papers or other literature form part of an official circulation or are distributed at a synod meeting which in the opinion of any of them are likely to prejudice the election.

(8) Subject to rule 51, if more candidates are nominated for any area than there are seats to be filled, the election shall be conducted by voting papers by the method of the single transferable vote under rules to be made from time to time as provided by the Standing Orders of the General Synod. Every voting paper, which shall include the year of birth of each candidate and a statement as to whether the candidate is seeking re-election and, if so, as to the dates of the candidate's previous service, shall be marked and signed on the reverse thereof by the elector and shall be returnable to the presiding officer within such period, being a period of not less than twenty-one days after the date on which the voting paper is issued, as that officer may specify, provided that a voting paper sent by facsimile transmission shall not be counted as a valid vote.

(9) A candidate or a person nominated by him has the right to be present at the counting of the votes in order to scrutinise the count but shall take no part in it. The presiding officer shall give not less than seven days' notice in writing to each candidate of the time and place at which the votes are to be counted.

(10) Where within seven days of a count being completed the presiding officer is of the opinion that a recount should take place because of a possible irregularity or inaccuracy in the count, he may, with the concurrence of the registrar of the province, order such a recount and shall give notice in writing to each candidate of the time and place at which the votes are to be recounted.

(11) A full return of the result of any election and of the result sheet shall be sent by the presiding officer within four working days of the declaration of the result to every candidate in the election, the Clerk to the General Synod and an election scrutineer appointed by the Business Committee of the General Synod. The scrutineer shall have power within ten days of the declaration of the result to order a recount of the voting papers if in his opinion this might be material to the result of the election.

(12) The result sheet shall be publicly displayed in the diocesan office in such manner as the bishop may approve and at the General Synod office until the end of the first group of sessions of the new Synod as the Clerk to the General Synod may direct.

(13) The presiding officer in each area shall ensure that the valid voting papers received by him for the purposes of any election to the House of Laity are preserved for a period of not less than two years beginning with the date of the election.

[Duties and Payment of Presiding Officers]*2

40. (1) Rules defining the duties to be undertaken by the presiding officers in connection with elections to the House of Laity shall be prepared by the provincial registrars acting jointly, but no such rules shall have effect unless approved by the lay members of the Business Committee of the General Synod.

(2) A presiding officer shall be entitled to such fees for the performance by him of the duties aforesaid as may be specified in any order for the time being in force made under the Ecclesiastical Fees Measure 1986; and where with the prior agreement in writing of the bishop's council and standing committee the presiding officer or any other person performs any other duties in connection with elections to the House of Laity he shall be entitled to such fees as may be specified in the agreement.

Term of office of membership of General Synod and other bodies

41. The term of office of elected members of the House of Laity, of the members elected or chosen under rule 35(1)(d) above and of members chosen by the lay members of religious communities shall be for the lifetime of the General Synod for which they are elected or chosen, but without prejudice to their acting under Article 3(4) of the Constitution1 during the period of the dissolution of the General Synod or to their continuing to be ex-officio members of other bodies constituted under these rules during that period.

EX-OFFICIO AND CO-OPTED MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF LAITY

42. (1) The following persons, if they are not in Holy Orders, shall be ex-officio members of the House of Laity -

(a) the Dean of the Arches and Auditor;

(b) the Vicar-General of the Province of Canterbury;

(c) the Vicar-General of the Province of York;

(d) the three Church Estates Commissioners;

(e) the Chairman of the Central Board of Finance;

(f) the Chairman of the Church of England Pensions Board;

(g) the members of the Archbishops' Council who are actual communicants.

(2) The House of Laity shall have power to co-opt persons who are actual lay communicants of eighteen years or upwards to be members of the House of Laity:

Provided that -

(a) the co-opted members shall not at any time exceed five in number; and

(b) no person shall be qualified to become a co-opted member unless not less than two-thirds of the members of the Standing Committee of the House of Laity shall have first consented to his being co-opted, either at a meeting of the Standing Committee or in writing.

(3) Except in regard to their appointment, the ex-officio and co-opted members shall have the same rights and be subject to the same rules and regulations as elected members: … Where such members are on more than one electoral roll, they shall choose the parochial church council of which they are to be a member.

(4) Co-opted members shall continue to be members of the House of Laity until the next dissolution of the General Synod, but without prejudice to their acting under Article 3(4) of the Constitution2 during the period of the dissolution or to their continuing to be ex-officio members of other bodies constituted under these rules during that period:

Provided that the House of Laity may, in the case of any co-opted member, fix a shorter period of membership.

(5) The House of Laity may make standing orders for regulating the procedure of and incidental to the appointment of co-opted members and otherwise for carrying this rule into effect.

Notes

*1 This header does not appear in the statutory text.

*2 This header does not appear in the statutory text.