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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 32 : General Provisions Applicable to all Cases of Process

Paragraph 14 : On the Deliberation of Questions

32-14. On all questions arising in the progress of a trial, the discussion shall first be between the parties; and when they have been heard, they may be required to withdraw from the court until the members deliberate upon and decide the point.

[DIGEST : The current PCA text remains unchanged from that of PCUS 1879.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 6-14, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 148
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 6-14, Proposed text, p. 45

3. PCUS 1933, VI-§206
4. PCUS 1925, VI-§206
5. PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, VI-14

On all questions arising in the progress of a trial, the discussion shall first be between the parties; and when they have been heard, they may be required to withdraw from the court until the members deliberate upon and decide the point.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, VI-15
and
PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, VI-15
In all questions arising in the progress of a trial, the discussion shall first be between the parties alone; and when they have been heard, they shall withdraw from the court, until the members deliberate upon and decide the point.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 201), on RoD, VI-14:

185.--XIV. On all questions arising in the progress of a trial, the discussion shall first be between the parties; and when they have been heard, they may be required to withdraw from the court until the members deliberate upon and decide the point.
Members of the court must not become counsel to either party, either formally or really ; and the presence of the parties or any other hindrance must not embarrass the full counselling together of the members of the court as judges. If the parties may be required to retire, certainly the court may exclude all other persons, if it thinks best ; but seldom will it be best to exclude even the parties. Nothing can be done in the presence of one party while the other is excluded.



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I. King & Head of Church
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