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Church of Ireland legal role for retired solicitor
The Reverend Robert Marshall (left) with Dean Dermot Dunne, Archbishop Michael Jackson, Ciaran Toland SC and Dean Stephen Farrell Pic: Church of Ireland

21 Jan 2022 / ireland Print

Church of Ireland legal role for retired solicitor

Retired solicitor Reverend Robert Marshall (pictured, left) has been appointed Diocesan and Provincial Registrar of the Church of Ireland’s United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough.

The appointment means that he will be part of the legal team of the dioceses, and of the wider province of Dublin.

The archbishop appoints the registrar of the church’s courts system, who becomes responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the courts, and the management of their papers.

Each Church of Ireland diocese has its own tribunal to decide matters of controversy arising under the law of the church, other than doctrinal and ritual matters.

Panels elected

Established originally in 1870, the church says that these courts have not been summoned to sit “for many years” in the united dioceses. It adds that this is a sign of “the unity of opinion” within the dioceses.

The court comprises the archbishop as judge, who acts ex officio on the advice of his chancellor.

Once every three years, the clergy and the laity, respectively, elect their panels for the diocesan courts.

In the event of a petition being presented to a diocesan court, a member is chosen from each of the panels to represent the clergy and the laity, who will sit with the archbishop to decide matters of fact. In effect they act as a jury.

Active historian

Archbishop Michael Jackson said that Reverend Marshall had “an encyclopaedic knowledge” of ecclesiastical legal history.

Robert Marshall was ordained as a priest in the auxiliary ministry of the Church of Ireland in June 2003.

He retired from practice several years ago to return to Trinity College, where he graduated with an MBA. As a solicitor, he had specialised in commercial property and heritage cases.

An active historian, he is a former president of the Irish Legal History Society, and is currently a member of the Historical Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy.

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