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About Darren

Darren is an ecclesiastical, property and charity solicitor, advising charities and organisations, ecclesiastical office holders (such as bishops and clergy), parochial church councils, diocesan boards of finance, other diocesan bodies, schools and private charitable trusts and companies.

As Registrar of the Diocese of Oxford and Deputy Registrar of the Diocese of Chichester, he specialises in giving advice to Church of England bodies on governance and constitutional matters, marriage and burial law, patronage, use of church buildings, matters relating to clergy licensing and terms of service, as well as dealing with disputes, termination of parochial appointments and disciplinary issues. He has also been consulted by other dioceses regarding disciplinary cases.

As a property lawyer he deals with residential and commercial transactions, and freehold and leasehold conveyancing, ranging from private homes and new development plots, to parsonages, glebe land, school and historic trust land, and commercial deals and development projects.

With particular expertise in matters relating to consecrated churchyards, churches and the faculty jurisdiction, he is regularly instructed in the sale/lease of closed churches and churchyards, licences of consecrated buildings, acquisition of churchyard extensions and contentious or pastorally sensitive proposals concerning church-related land.

As a charity lawyer, Darren advises charities operating internationally as well as those within the parochial sphere. He advises on charity registration and incorporation, constitutional matters, management and compliance, in addition to dealing with charitable property. He has direct experience of the charity sector, having acted himself as clerk to a charity and as a charity trustee and treasurer to a national and international educational charity.

Darren has experience in high level ecclesiastical proceedings, in relation to consistory courts, and the Court of Arches, clergy discipline tribunals and other disciplinary proceedings.

Recent experience:

  • Acting in relation to the acquisition of building plots, involving four different charities and five ecclesiastical entities, including leasehold matters, imposition of new covenants, rights of way and building agreements.
  • Acting in the sale of a redundant church building, including agreement as to the future use and development, matters affecting the adjoining churchyard, burials, memorials, access, and interaction with both the faculty jurisdiction and listed building control.
  • Advising the trustees of an unincorporated charity in the modernisation of their charitable objects and incorporation and registration as a CIO, including engagement with the Charity Commission and advising on the transfer of activities.
  • Acting for the trustees of a foundation school in reviewing the title arrangements for an area of land, advising on interactions with education law and statutory requirements as to disposal, enabling the sale for development and release of funds to further charitable purposes.

Professional memberships:

  • Law Society of England and Wales
  • Ecclesiastical Law Society – Trustee and Treasurer since 2015
  • Ecclesiastical Law Association
  • Charity Law Association

Career Experience

2019 to present: Partner, Winckworth Sherwood

2014 to 2019: Senior Associate, Winckworth Sherwood

2011 to 2014: Trainee Solicitor, Winckworth Sherwood

2009 to 2011: Legal Assistant, Winckworth Sherwood