.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 35 : Evidence

Paragraph 10 :

35-10. When it is not convenient for a court to have the whole or perhaps any part of the testimony in any particular case taken in its presence, a commission shall be appointed, or coordinate court requested, to take the testimony in question, which shall be considered as if taken in the presence of the court.
Due notice of the commission or coordinate court, and of the time and place of its meeting, shall be given to the opposite party, that he may have an opportunity of attending. If the accused shall desire on his part to take testimony at a distance for his own exculpation, he shall give notice to the court of the time and place at which it shall be taken, in order that a commission or coordinate court, as in the former case, may be appointed for the purpose. Testimony may be taken on written interrogatories by filing the same with the clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the case, and giving two weeks’ notice thereof to the adverse party, during which time he may file cross-interrogatories, if he desire it. Testimony shall then be taken by the commission or coordinate court in answer to the direct and cross-interrogatories, if such are filed, and no notice need be given of the time and place of taking the testimony.

[Historical Summary : ]

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, 9-10, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 150
When it is not convenient for a court to have the whole, or perhaps any part of the testimony in any particular case, taken in its presence, a commission shall be appointed, or co-ordinate court requested, to take the testimony in question, which shall be considered as if taken in the presence of the court; of which commission or co-ordinate court, and of the time and place of its meeting, due notice shall be given to the opposite party, that he may have an opportunity of attending. And if the accused shall desire, on his part, to take testimony at a distance for his own exculpation, he shall give notice to the court of the time and place at which it is proposed to take it that a commission or co-ordinate court, as in the former case, may be appointed for the purpose. Or the testimony may be taken on written interrogatories, by filing the same with the Clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the case, and giving two weeks’ notice thereof to the adverse party, during which time he may file cross-interrogatories, if he desire it; and the testimony shall then be taken by the commission or coordinate court in answer to the direct and cross-interrogatories, if such are filed, and no notice need be given of the time and place of taking the testimony.

Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, 9-10, Proposed text, pp. 49-50
When it is not convenient for a court to have the whole, or perhaps any part of the testimony in any particular case, taken in its presence, a commission shall be appointed, or coordinate court requested, to take the testimony in question, which shall be considered as if taken in the presence of the court; of which commission or co-ordinate court, and of the time and place of its meeting, due notice shall be given to the opposite party, that he may have an opportunity of attending. And if the accused shall desire, on his part, to take testimony at a distance, for his own exculpation, he shall give notice to the court of the time and place at which it is proposed to take it that a commission or co-ordinate court, as in the former case, may be appointed for the purpose. Or the testimony may be taken on written interrogatories, by filing the same with the Clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the case, and giving two weeks’ notice thereof to the adverse party, during which time he may file cross-interrogatories, if he desire it; and the testimony shall then be taken by the commission or coordinate court in answer to the direct and cross-interrogatories, if such are filed, and no notice need be given of the time and place of taking the testimony.

PCUS 1879, XI-10

When it is not convenient for a court to have the whole, or perhaps any part of the testimony in any particular cause, taken in its presence, a commission shall be appointed to take the testimony in question, which shall be considered as if taken in the presence of the court; of which commission, and of the time and place of its meeting, due notice shall be given to the opposite party, that he may have an opportunity of attending. And if the accused shall desire, on his part, to take testimony at a distance for his own exculpation, he shall give notice to the court of the time and place at which it is proposed to take it, that a commission, as in the former case, may be appointed for the purpose. Or, the testimony may be taken on written interrogatories, by filing the same with the clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the cause, and giving two weeks’ notice thereof to the adverse party, during which time he may file cross-interrogatories if he desire it; and the testimony shall then be taken by the commission in answer to the direct and cross-interrogatories, if such are filed, and no notice need be given of the time and place of taking the testimony.

PCUS 1869 draft, IX-10
and

PCUS 1867 draft, IX-10
Cases may arise in which it is not convenient for a court to have the whole or perhaps any part of the testimony in a particular cause taken in its presence. In this case commissioners shall be appointed to take the testimony in question, which shall be considered as if taken in the presence of the court; of which commission, and of the time and place of its meeting, due notice shall be given to the opposite party, that he may have an opportunity of attending. And if the accused shall desire on his part to take testimony at a distance, for his own exculpation, he shall give notice to the court of the time and place when it is proposed to take it, that a commission, as in the former case, may be appointed for the purpose.

PCUSA, 1859 draft, VII-12
Cases may arise in which it is not convenient for a judicatory to have the whole, or, perhaps, any part of the testimony in a particular
cause, taken in their presence. In this case, commissioners shall be appointed to take the testimony in question, which shall be considered as if taken in the presence of the judicatory; of which commission, and of the time and place of their meeting, due notice shall be given to the opposite party, that he may have an opportunity of attending. And if the accused shall desire on his part to take testimony at a distance, for his own exculpation, he shall give notice to the judicatory of the time and place when it is proposed to take it, that a commission, as in the former case, may be appointed for the purpose.

UPCNA 1867, 7-

OPC, 1988, IV.
Any

Other:
ARP, 1958, §V-

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order
(1898, pp. 218-220), on IX-10 :
215.--X. When it is not convenient for a court to have the whole, or perhaps any part of the testimony in any particular cause, taken in its presence, a commission shall be appointed to take the testimony in question, which shall be considered as if taken in the presence of the court; of which commission, and of the time and place of its meeting, due notice shall be given to the opposite party, that he may have an opportunity of attending. And if the accused shall desire, on his part, to take testimony at a distance for his own exculpation, he shall give notice to the court of the time and place at which it is proposed to take it, that a commission, as in the former case, may be appointed for the purpose. Or, the testimony may be taken on written interrogatories, by filing the same with the clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the cause, and giving two weeks’ notice thereof to the adverse party, during which time he may file cross-interrogatories if he desire it; and the testimony shall then be taken by the commission in answer to the direct and cross-interrogatories, if such are filed, and no notice need be given of the time and place of taking the testimony.
If the court refuses to appoint a commission to take evidence for the prosecution, the refusal must be based upon the ground that it is convenient to take the evidence in the presence of the court; but the court may refuse to appoint a commission to take evidence for the accused without assigning this ground. Otherwise, the accused might delay, or make practically impossible, the progress of the trial by claiming a necessity for taking distant evidence. If the court appoints a commission for the prosecution, the court fixes the time and place of the meeting of the commission, and gives due notice to the accused ; but if the court appoints a commission for the accused, it does so in compliance with his request as to time and place. Or, in either case, the court may instruct the commission to take the testimony by written interrogatories. Neither party can take any evidence in any way except before the court, or before a commission of the court acting as the court, or by filing written interrogatories with the clerk to be used by a commission. In this case the commission shall put the interrogatories to the witnesses, first the direct and then the cross interrogatories to each witness, observing all the regulations for taking testimony except that no questions are to be put but those filed ; but the oath or affirmation may be administered, the questions put, and the answers received, by mail or other written communication.



©PCA Historical Center, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter Index [links to Par. 1 of each chapter]:
FoG..
1
2
3.
4
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]