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John Rees

Position: Partner

Core Areas: Charities and Social Enterprises & Church of England

Legal 500 2013 - Recommended Lawyer

John specialises in ecclesiastical, educational and charity law and has a wealth of experience in advising on charity constitutions for national and international bodies; financial structures; disciplinary issues, subsidiary companies and asset management; press handling issues. As well as the full range of freehold and leasehold, registered and unregistered matters; and all types of ancillary issues e.g. rights of way; complicated redevelopment schemes, title investigations, contaminated land remediation issues, boundary disputes, unusual property matters such as dealing with consecrated land, burials and exhumation.

He is the provincial registrar to the Archbishop of Canterbury and is legal adviser to the Anglican Consultative Council. He is registrar of the Diocese of Oxford and acts for the Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance and Diocesan Board of Education.

Recent experience

  • Negotiating a 28-year dispute between an internationally-famous ecclesiastical trust and the University of Oxford, which involved a major revisiting of leasehold interests granted in 1980. The outcome represented a 'win' for all concerned, resulting in the achievement of a far better modus vivendi for both institutions, and the ability of each now to go out to donors to establish new buildings and projects on the site free of ongoing uncertainties and the threat of litigation
  • Overseeing the major redevelopment of a church site in the diocese of Rochester, involving construction issues, financing and leasing of part of the new premises to a local NHS Trust, and a further part to a local community trust, the project is known to be regarded as a model for redevelopment schemes for redundant or oversized church buildings and sites elsewhere in the Church of England
  • The wholesale registration of Diocese of Oxford glebe (investment) land at HM Land Registry, putting the diocese of Oxford ahead of many other dioceses in the Church of England its accomplishment of this widespread project

Professional memberships

Law Society of England and Wales
Treasurer of the Ecclesiastical Law Society
Vice-chair of the Church of England's Legal Advisory Commission

Work history

1986 to present, Partner, Winckworth Sherwood
1976 to 1985, Clergyman
1976 to 1975, Cooke Matheson & Co., Gray's Inn
1972 to 1974, Articled Clerk Buss Stone & Co


"Canon John Rees, one of the Church of England's top canon lawyers, spoke today at a press conference about The Principles of Canon Law." The Times 28th July 2008.

Please view John's speech below: 

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Upcoming Events :

Social Housing Annual Conference 2017

Thu 09 Nov 2017

200 Aldersgate, London, EC1A 4HD

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‘Good, in-depth knowledge of the sector' and gives ‘excellent advice covering different angles'

Legal 500