The High Court judge considering a bid to save the ChristChurch Cathedral says the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority will be the ultimate decision-maker.
The Great Christchurch Building Trust is seeking a declaratory judgement to prevent the Anglican Church from demolishing the heritage building badly damaged in the February 2011 quake.
The Anglican Church says the cathedral does not legally have to be maintained by its property trustees.
Its lawyer, Jared Ormsby, told the hearing on Thursday the building needs to be deconstructed to make it safe in accordance with a notice from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.
He says the argument that the Church must by law repair and maintain the central city cathedral is not valid, because a law change in 2003 means the Church has the power to deal with its properties however it chooses.
On Wednesday, Mr Ormsby told the court that the Church could not afford the $109 million repair job.
Justice Chisholm wanted to know whether the authority has seen and considered all the reports on options for the building and said it will ultimately have to make the decision.