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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 31 : The Parties in Cases of Process

Paragraph 11 : On the Rights of the Accused

31-11. In the discussion of all questions arising in his own case, the accused shall exercise the rights of defendant only, not of judge.

[DIGEST : The current text is unchanged from that of PCUS 1879. The PCUS draft editions were similar, but differed in two respects: PCUS 1867 and 1869 had "cause", which was replaced with "case" as early as the 1876 draft; and in the draft editions the word "only" seemed to modify "rights", while in the approved edition of 1879 and subsequent texts, "only" has been moved such that it clearly modifies "defendant", thus making the overall statement stronger.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :
PCA 1973, RoD, 5-11, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 147
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 5-11, Proposed text, p. 43
PCUS 1933, RoD, V-§192
PCUS 1925, RoD, V-§192
PCUS 1879, RoD, V-11
In the discussion of all questions arising in his own case, the accused shall exercise the rights of defendant only, not of judge.

PCUS 1876 draft, RoD, V-11
In the discussion of all questions arising in his own case, the accused shall only exercise the rights of defendant, not of judge.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, V-11
and
PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, V-11

In the discussion of all questions arising in his own cause, the accused shall only exercise the rights of defendant, not of judge.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, p. 191), on RoD, V-11 :
171.--XI. In the discussion of all questions arising in his own case, the accused shall exercise the rights of defendant only, not of judge.
(Cf. rem. under 163 as to the prosecutor.) No one is accused, in the technical sense here meant, until the court has determined that there shall be process, otherwise, a designing man could by accusation sift the court to suit his own plans.



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Chapter Index [links to Par. 1 of each chapter]:
FoG..
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3.
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5.
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
§5
RoD
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
§2
§3
§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]