Under the Clergy Discipline Act 1892 an appeal lies from the judgment of a consistory court under that act, in respect of fact by leave of the appellate court, and in respect of law without leave, to either the Arches court or the judicial committee of the privy council at the option of the appellant.
But by the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 the two archbishops were empowered, subject to the approval of the sovereign by sign-manual, from time to time to appoint a practising barrister of ten years' standing, or a person who had been a judge of one of the superior courts (being a member of the Church of England) to be, during good behaviour, a judge for the purpose of exercising jurisdiction under that act, and it was enacted (sec. 7) that on a vacancy occurring in the office of official principal of the Arches court the judge should become officio such official principal.
He exercises also an appellate jurisdiction over each bishop, which, in cases of licensed curates, he exercises personally under the Pluralities Act 1838; but his ordinary appellate jurisdiction is exercised by the judge of the Arches court (see Arches, Court Of).
The official principal of the Arches court is the only ecclesiastical judge who is empowered to pass a sentence of deprivation against a clerk in holy orders.
The Arches court was also the court of appeal from the consistory courts of the bishops of the province in all testamentary and matrimonial causes.
The judge under this act became (upon vacancies occurring) ex officio official principal of the arches court of Canterbury and of the chancery court of York.