Methodist Church granted leave to appeal employment ruling

The Methodist Church has been granted leave to appeal to theCourt of Appeal against the judgement of an Employment AppealTribunal that Methodist ministers should be counted as employeesand cases concerning them heard by Employment Tribunals. Methodistministers have always been treated by the Church as office holdersrather than employees.

Leave to appeal has been granted by the Court on the grounds thatthe appeal "has a real prospect of success on the basis of thesubmissions in the skeleton argument dated 14 April 2011. The stateof the authorities on the key question of whether a minister ofreligion is not an employee is unclear and requires furtherconsideration by the court following the case of Percy."

The current case concerns Haley Moore who resigned from being aMethodist minister in 2009.

The Revd. Kenneth Howcroft, Assistant Secretary of the MethodistConference, said: "The Methodist Church is treating this matterwith great seriousness as something that would affect all ourministers. We are pursuing this appeal having taken good legaladvice. In doing so we are defending the understanding and rules ofthe Church about these matters agreed by the Conference. These arelong-standing, and the Court of Appeal held as long ago as 1984that Methodist ministers are not employees. A minister's role isone which is traditionally based on the ethos and laws of theChurch rather than on a secular ethos. Our ministers have legalrights of redress under Church procedures. The Methodist Churchcares for all who serve it, whether lay or ordained, paid orvolunteer, and we want to ensure that we treat everyone fairly andproperly."