Letter: Law fails the servants of God

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The Independent Online
Law fails the servants of God

Sir: Apart from Fr Nicolson (letter, 15 July), I'm sure I'm not the only Anglican priest who feels very concerned at the Court of Appeal's refusal to allow Fr Alex Coker to pursue his case for unfair dismissal (report, 12 July). Lord Justice Staughton's remark on the impossibility of serving documents on God is silly as well as insensitive.

I am not in a position to argue the rights and wrongs of Fr Coker's case. Maybe justice was done by the bishop, but it has not been seen to be done; maybe injustice has been done, but we shall never know. I certainly think the employment protection law should be changed to include all licensed Anglican clergy, because as things stand bishops wield unaccountable power over them, sometimes resulting in sackings, sometimes being moved elsewhere for reasons which will not stand up to close scrutiny.

Can the Church be content with a lower standard of personnel management than that enacted in the law of the land? If a bishop claims the right to fire a priest on the grounds that God is his employer, then what right has the bishop to hire a priest?