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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 42 : Appeals

Paragraph 3 :

42-3. The grounds of appeal are such as the following: any irregularity in the proceedings of the lower court; refusal of reasonable indulgence to a party on trial; receiving improper or declining to receive proper evidence; hurrying to a decision before all the testimony is taken; manifestation of prejudice in the case; and mistake or injustice in the judgment and censure.

[Historical Summary : .]

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 16-3, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 153
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 16-3, Proposed text, p. 57
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, XVI-§275
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, XVI-§275
The grounds of appeal are such as the following: any irregularity in the proceedings of the lower court; refusal of reasonable indulgence to a party on trial; receiving improper, or declining to receive proper, evidence; hurrying to a decision before all the testimony is taken; manifestation of prejudice in the case; and mistake or injustice in the judgment and censure.

PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, XIII-3-3

An irregularity in the proceedings of the inferior court; a refusal of reasonable indulgence to a party on trial; declining to receive important testimony; hurrying to a decision before the testimony is fully taken; a manifestation of prejudice in the cause; and mistake or injustice in the judgment are all proper grounds of appeal.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, XIII-3-3
Any irregularity in the proceedings of the inferior court; a refusal of reasonable indulgence to a party on trial; declining to receive important testimony; hurrying to a decision before the testimony is fully taken; a manifestation of prejudice in the case; and mistake
or injustice in the decision, are all proper grounds of appeal.

PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, XIII-3-3
Any irregularity in the proceedings of the inferior court; a refusal of reasonable indulgence to a party on trial; declining to receive important testimony; hurrying to a decision before the testimony is fully taken; a manifestation of prejudice in the case; and mistake
or injustice in the decision, are all proper grounds of appeal.

PCUSA 1858 draft, Revised Book of Discipline, VIII-3-3
Any irregularity in the proceedings of the inferior judicatory; a refusal of reasonable indulgence to a party on trial; declining to receive important testimony; hurrying to a decision before the testimony is fully taken; a manifestation of prejudice in the case; and mistake or injustice in the decision,—are all proper grounds of appeal.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 248), on XIII-3-3:
257.--III. An irregularity in the proceedings of the inferior court; a refusal of reasonable indulgence to a party on trial; declining to receive important testimony; hurrying to a decision before the testimony is fully taken; a manifestation of prejudice in the cause; and mistake or injustice in the judgment are all proper grounds of appeal.
The judgment has in it the decision of guilty, and this decision may be a mistake ; and the judgment has in it the fixing of the censure, and this censure may be excessive, and therefore unjust. Such mistake or injustice must be the radical ground of appeal ; but one may appeal from the judgment on account of how it was arrived at, and even without disputing its correctness or justice. Such subordinate grounds of appeal, or any infraction or neglect of the regulations laid down in the Rules of Discipline to govern judicial proceedings ; a refusal to grant to the accused reasonable time and opportunity apart from the mere letter of such regulations (it being assumed that a court which has let process commence will grant the prosecution reasonable indulgence) ; rejecting important testimony (and the party desiring to introduce it can always get his reasons put into the record in his notice and reasons of appeal) ; haste in reaching a decision, that is, the really arriving at a decision before hearing all the testimony ; and prejudice, which must have been somehow manifested or it could not be assigned with propriety. But the appellant may cite what grounds he will, it belongs to the superior court to determine the propriety of his grounds of appeal, and of the evidence for them appearing in the record of the cause.



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