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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 18 :

32-18. Minutes of the trial shall be kept by the clerk, which shall exhibit the charges, the answer, record of the testimony, as defined by BCO 35-7, and all such acts, orders, and decisions of the court relating to the case, as either party may desire, and also the judgment.
The clerk shall without delay assemble the Record of the Case which shall consist of the charges, the answer, the citations and returns thereto, and the minutes herein required to be kept.
The parties shall be allowed copies of the Record of the Case at their own expense if they demand them.
When a case is removed by appeal or complaint, the lower court shall transmit "the Record" thus prepared to the higher court with the addition of the notice of appeal or complaint, and the reasons therefor, if any shall have been filed.
Nothing which is not contained in this "Record" shall be taken into consideration by the higher court. On the final decision of a case in a higher court, the judgment shall be sent down to the court in which the case originated.


[DIGEST : Changes have been instituted for BCO 32-18 in 1995 [M23GA, 23-11, Item 2, p. 51] and in 2002 [M30GA, 30-10, Item 4, p. 67]. In 1994, Overture 24 from Philadelphia Presbytery was considered at the 22nd General Assembly [M22GA, 22-66, IV., Item 15, pp. 244-245], approved by vote of the presbyteries and adopted at the 23rd General Assembly [M23GA, 23-11, Item 2, p. 51]. Then in 2001,

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :
PCA 1973, RoD, 6-18, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 148
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 6-18, Proposed text, p. 45
PCUS 1933, VI-§210
PCUS 1925, VI-§210
The parties shall be allowed copies of the whole proceedings at their own expense, if they demand them. Minutes of the trial shall be kept by the Clerk, which shall exhibit the charges, the answer, all the testimony, and all such acts, orders, and decisions of the court relating to the case, as either party may desire, and also the judgment. The Clerk shall, without delay, attach together the charges, the answer, the citations and returns thereto, and the minutes herein required to be kept. These papers, when so attached, shall constitute "the record of the case." When a case is removed by appeal or complaint, the lower court shall transmit "the record" thus prepared to the higher court with the addition of the notice of appeal or complaint, and the reasons thereof, if any shall have been filed. Nothing which is not contained in this "record" shall be taken into consideration in the higher court. On the final decision of a cause in a higher court, its judgment shall be sent down to the court in which the case originated.

PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, VI-18

The parties shall be allowed copies of the whole proceedings at their own expense, if they demand them. Minutes of the trial shall be kept by the clerk, which shall exhibit the charges, the answer, all the testimony, and all such acts, orders, and decisions of the court relating to the cause, as either party may desire, and also the judgment. The clerk shall, without delay, attach together the charges, the answer, the citations and returns thereto, and the minutes herein required to be kept. These papers, when so attached, shall constitute "the record of the case." When a cause is removed by appeal or complaint, the lower court shall transmit "the record" thus prepared to the higher court with the addition of the notice of appeal or complaint, and the reasons thereof, if any shall have been filed. Nothing which is not contained in this "record" shall be taken into consideration in the higher court. On the final decision of a cause in a higher court, its judgment shall be sent down to the court in which the case originated.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, VI-18
and
PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, VI-18
The parties shall be allowed copies of the whole proceedings, at their own expense, if they demand them. Minutes of the trial shall be kept by the clerk, which shall exhibit the charges, the answer, all the testimony, and all such acts, orders and decisions of the court relating to the cause as either party may desire, and also the judgment. The clerk shall, without delay, attach together the charges, the answer, the citations and returns thereto, and the minutes herein required to be kept. These papers, when so attached, shall constitute
“the record” of the cause. In case of a removal of the cause by appeal or complaint, the lower court shall transmit the record thus prepared to the higher court, with the addition of the notice of appeal or complaint, and the reasons thereof, if any, shall have been filed. Nothing which is not contained in this record shall be taken into consideration in the higher court. On the final decision of a cause in the higher court, its judgment shall be sent down to the court in which the cause originated.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 205-206), on RoD, VI-18:

189.--XVIII. The parties shall be allowed copies of the whole proceedings at their own expense, if they demand them. Minutes of the trial shall be kept by the clerk, which shall exhibit the charges, the answer, all the testimony, and all such acts, orders, and decisions of the court relating to the cause, as either party may desire, and also the judgment. The clerk shall, without delay, attach together the charges, the answer, the citations and returns thereto, and the minutes herein required to be kept. These papers, when so attached, shall constitute "the record of the case." When a cause is removed by appeal or complaint, the lower court shall transmit "the record" thus prepared to the higher court with the addition of the notice of appeal or complaint, and the reasons thereof, if any shall have been filed. Nothing which is not contained in this "record" shall be taken into consideration in the higher court. On the final decision of a cause in a higher court, its judgment shall be sent down to the court in which the case originated.
"Copies of the whole proceedings" is synonymous with "copies of the record of the cause." What acts, orders, and decisions relate to the cause the court must decide, in case the clerk and either of the parties differ on this point ; but the clerk, subject to the direction of the court, may omit such acts, orders, and decisions as neither party desires. Returns to citations are evidences that they were served in due time and on the proper persons. The final decision of a cause is not made until a decision is made from which no appeal or complaint is taken to a higher court.

DOCUMENTATION:

1994 - [M22GA, 22-66, IV., Item 15, pp. 244-245]
15. That Overture 24 from Philadelphia Presbytery be answered in the affirmative:
Adopted and sent down to Presbyteries for advice and consent.
That the first 3 paragraphs of BCO 32-18 be amended as follows:

Minutes of the trial shall be kept by the clerk, which shall exhibit the charges, the answer, [all] written record of the testimony as defined by BCO 35-7, and all such acts, orders, and decisions of the court relating to the case, as either party may desire, and also the judgment.

The clerk shall without delay [attach together] assemble the Record of the Case which shall consist of the charges, the answer, the citations and returns thereto, and the minutes herein required to be kept. [These papers, when so attached, shall constitute the Record of the Case.]

The parties shall be allowed copies of the [whole proceedings] Record of the Case at their own expense if they demand them.

Overture 24 from Philadelphia Presbytery
"Amend BCO 32-18 to Clarify the 'Record of the Case'"
Whereas, every attempt should be made to remove confusing and ambiguous language that hinders understanding of our Standards; and
Whereas, there continues to be ambiguity concerning the meaning of what constitutes the "record of the case: (BCO 32-18); and
Whereas, the expression from BCO 32-18, "whole proceedings", remains open to a wide variety of interpretations which contribute to confusion and disruption of the process of assembling the record of the case, transmitting data from a case, and determining if audio/video tape recordings are a part of the "whole proceedings" or of the "record of the case";
Therefore Be It Resolved that Philadelphia Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America overtures the 22nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, June 6-10, 1994, to amend the Book of Church Order by
1, in paragraph 1 of 32-18, substituting in the first line the words "written record" for the word "proceedings", so that the line would then read, "The parties shall be allowed copies of thee whole written record at their own expense..."; and
2, in paragraph 2 of 32-18, adding the word "written" after the words "all the", so that the line would then read, "Minutes of the trial shall be kept by the clerk, which shall exhibit the charges, the answer, all the written testimony, and all..."

1995 - [M23GA, 23-11, Item 2, p. 51]
Adopted, with 49 presbyteries reporting as in favor and 2 against the amendment.

2001

2002 - [M30GA, 30-10, Item 4, p. 67]

Amend BCO 35-7 and 32-18 Requiring Recording of Testimony and Provision for Transcription as follows:
M29GA, 29-44, III, 12, p. 209



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