The Catholic Church in England and Wales has launched a new National Tribunal Service.
The service will enhance transparency, impartiality and consistency in the application of canon law. It has been set up in light of the Elliot report into safeguarding structures across the Church in England and Wales. The Introduction Document explains:
The concept of a National Tribunal was proposed as part of the Elliott Review, which was an independent review into safeguarding structures in England and Wales. The final report, published in November 2020, recommended the establishment of a National Tribunal to enhance impartiality, transparency as well as consistency of current and future practice in relation to the application of canon law in England and Wales. While the Elliott Report was focused on issues to do with safeguarding, it was acknowledged that a National Tribunal would be involved in many aspects of penal law which affect clergy, religious and lay people and which go far beyond potential misconduct of a safeguarding nature.
Having been proposed by the Bishops at their plenary meeting in November 2022, the Apostolic Signatura, the Holy See’s Supreme Tribunal that ensures that justice in the Church is correctly administered, granted approval for this National Penal Tribunal on 4 May 2023.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols described the service as a “ focus for practical love and service”. Going further he said it will be “love in action” by upholding the dignity of each human being.
The new offices will be located at Ecclestone Square, the home of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.