Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gonna happen

The other day I reported on the Chisholm judgement on the case brought by a Trust concerned for the future of the cathedral which question whether Christchurch Diocesan authorities were going around things the right way. That judgement can be read in full here. I indicated that it was not appropriate for me to publicly analyse the judgement here (save for one aspect relating to all parishes with damaged buildings). Rather we should wait for the Church Property Trustees and Standing Committee to speak.

They have now done that (sourced from here).

"Formal Commitment to build Cathedral in the Square
Yesterday Cathedral Chapter and Standing Committee formally requested the Church Property Trustees provide a cathedral on the site at Cathedral Square. Last night Church Property Trustees formally resolved to provide a building on the site in Cathedral Square for a cathedral.
This decision confirmed the on going commitment already made by these groups.
Church Property Trustees also resolved to take no further action to deconstruct the cathedral until further order from the court.
As well as this, CPT requested its engineers and other professionals to review the information presented by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) to the court during the hearing and whether it changes their opinions on the maximum retention option. They also resolved to ask CERA for its view of the option proposed by GCBT.
Lastly CPT requested the Cathedral Project Group to consider any further advice received from professionals in engineering, architecture and others as appropriate and also to work further on design concepts and to report back to the CPT.
These decisions were unanimous.
These resolutions were provided to the court today in response to a request by Justice Chisholm in his interim decision on the high court hearing.
Update on Transitional Cathedral
Church Property Trustees are committed to the Transitional Cathedral project. Following the meeting of Church Property Trustees last night, a separate application will be lodged with the court to seek clarity on the comments made in the judgment so the Church Property Trustees can continue to act responsibly.
The judge did not say the building or funding of the Transitional Cathedral was illegal or unlawful.
The above is part of the process following the interim high court decision by Justice Chisholm.
The interim decision regarding the ChristChurch Cathedral hearing from Justice Chisholm was received on Thursday Afternoon - 15 November 2012.
Bishop Victoria, on behalf of CPT, says “We are pleased the decision to deconstruct the old cathedral and rebuild a new cathedral was confirmed by the Judge. As we have said since March the new design will be a mixture of old and new and it will be beautiful.”
The decision said “Everyone agrees that the decision facing the CPT was difficult: the timeframe was tight (this is not a criticism of CERA); complex engineering and other issues needed to be assessed; there were many competing considerations; and whatever option was chosen, a large shortfall in the funds required to complete the project seemed to be inevitable.”
It also said “ The trust remained a trust for the erection of “a Cathedral”. No term requiring a particular style, for example Gothic, was imposed on the trustee.” Along with the statement; "Any suggestion that the purpose of the trust is to preserve the Cathedral indefinitely is inaccurate and unrealistic."
CPT and Standing Committee will be taking time to consider all aspects of the 200 paragraph decision.
The judge does require CPT to formally commit to building a new Cathedral in the Square and they will be doing so.
Bishop Victoria said “The architectural firm, Warren and Mahoney have already been engaged to work on design and we completed the study tour with the architects in middle of year.”
Regarding the Transitional Cathedral:
The judge has not said the decision to build the Transitional Cathedral is illegal or unlawful.
The judge has not said the decision made on how to fund the Transitional Cathedral is illegal or unlawful.
The judge has queried whether in deciding to use insurance funds to help pay for the cost of building the Transitional Cathedral CPT fully understood the basis on which those funds were held.
The CPT is going to consider the question again in light of the comments made by the judge and:
a. his finding as to the terms of the trust on which the cathedral land and buildings is held; and
b. his tentatively expressed view as to the trust on which the insurance funds are held."

Hmm. What is next? I am not personally clear where the judge goes with this, whether the Trust mounting the case will take it further, and whether the judge is going to rule in favour of the decision already made to sequester part of the insurance payout towards the costs of the transitional cathedral.

There will be a cathedral in our Square. It's gonna happen. Don't know when. Don't know what (design). Only know where!


Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, one possibility that has occurred to me - since the handing down of the judge;s decision on the cathedral - is this;

As the Anglican Diocese (CPT)is seen to be the legal owner of ALL the church properties in the diocese; might it not be that CPT are planning to rationalise the spending on churches of the diocese 'according to urgent need'?

Might this not mean that the funds for the 'Cardboard Cathedral' could be allocated from that common pool of insurance of all diocesan churches? What do you think?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
There is not necessarily a common pool of insurance - most funds have been paid out on actual repairs undertaken on each church, so the funds have gone more or less directly to the builders, engineers, costs of resource consents and such.

Where funds are held against specific churches (e.g. demolished ones, pending a rebuild), the question arises as to whether there is or isn't an obligation on the part of CPT to expend those funds on those churches as part of their trust obligation. One aspect of the situation is that parishes paying the premiums are entitled to first consideration in respect of payouts.

How the question is answered is no doubt exercising the minds of the Trustees in weeks such as this one.

Anonymous said...

"The judge has not said the decision made on how to fund the Transitional Cathedral is illegal or unlawful."

Yeah right.

What the judge actually said:

[173] When insurance money is received by a trustee it should be held upon trusts corresponding as nearly as may be with the trusts affecting the property in respect of which it was payable: s 25(3)(b) of the Trustee Act.52 Under s 25(4) any such money may be applied by the trustee in rebuilding, reinstating, replacing or repairing the property lost or damaged. Given the site-specific purpose of the Cathedral trust, it is difficult to see how any insurance proceeds arising from the insurance over the Cathedral could be used off-site.
52 See also Garrow and Kelly Law of Trust and Trustees (6th ed, 2005) at 23.14.5.

[174] While it is not entirely clear whether the CPT actually misdirected itself when arriving at its decision about the use that can be made of the insurance money, that possibility certainly seems to exist. Given the overall importance of financial considerations in the context of the decision, the Court cannot ignore the possibility that, at least in part, the decision reflects a misunderstanding on the insurance money issue.


Father Ron Smith said...

Anonymous said...
"The judge has not said the decision made on how to fund the Transitional Cathedral is illegal or unlawful."

despite Suzanne's fervent denial, this statement bears repetition.