The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have appointed Dr Edward Morgan, a barrister and an internationally-respected expert in Canon Law, to oversee the establishment of a National Tribunal Service as part of wide-ranging development of Church safeguarding structures and processes.
The National Tribunal Service, among the first of its kind for the Church worldwide, is to be established following the 2019-2020 Elliott Review into safeguarding practices and processes within the Catholic Church.
Dr Morgan’s legal practice has for many years included the conduct of regulatory and canon law cases. He is a Visiting Professor of Canon Law at the Catholic University at Leuven, Belgium, where he teaches at post-graduate and doctoral level, and a Fellow of the University of Cardiff Centre for Law and Religion.
The National Tribunal Service will deal principally with regulatory cases, including clergy discipline. Providing a centralised process of adjudication, it will seek to address concerns of interested parties with enhanced transparency and due process, and will provide the Church with ways to cultivate an internal professional regulatory body for the clergy. It will also deal with clergy discipline and investigate misconduct.
With the approval of the Holy See, its rules of procedure will enable the National Tribunal Service to undertake this work on behalf of all of the bishops.
Dr Morgan said: “I am very pleased to be entrusted with this work. Having contributed to the Elliott Review as a member of a working committee, I recognise that the National Tribunal Service has a central role to play in the Church’s continued commitment to safeguarding, ecclesial discipline and accountability.
“The decision of the Bishops’ Conference communicates the individual and collective resolve of the bishops to deliver on this commitment.”
The Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon, Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “We are fortunate indeed to have secured the services of an expert of the calibre of Dr Morgan.
“This is important work in the development of safeguarding in the Catholic Church and we are grateful for his commitment to the project.”
Picture: Dr Edward Morgan.