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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 42 : Appeals

Paragraph 4 :

42-4. Notice of appeal may be given the court before its adjournment. Written notice of appeal, with supporting reasons, shall be filed by the appellant with both the clerk of the lower court and the clerk of the higher court, within thirty (30) days following the meeting of the court. No attempt should be made to circularize the courts to which appeal is being made by either party before the case is heard.

[Historical Summary : Changes in this paragraph date to 1984 [M12GA, 12-14, Item 5, p. 88 and 1987 [M15GA, 15-25, Item 2, p. 95].

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 16-4, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 153
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 16-4, Proposed text, p. 58
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, XVI-§276
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, XVI-§276
Notice of appeal, with the reasons supporting it, shall be given the court before its rising, or shall within ten days thereafter be filed with the Moderator or Clerk of the court.

PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, XIII-3-4
["reason" becomes plural, "reasons", with this edition]
Every appellant is bound to give notice of his intention to appeal, and also to lay the reasons thereof in writing before the court appealed from, either before its rising or within ten days thereafter. If this notice or these reasons be not given to the court while in session, they shall be lodged with the Moderator or Clerk.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, XIII-3-4
Every appellant is bound to give notice of his intention to appeal, and also to lay the reason thereof in writing before the court appealed from, either before its rising or within ten days thereafter. If this notice or these reasons be not given to the court while in session, they shall be lodged with the Moderator or Clerk.

PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, XIII-3-4
Every appellant is bound to give notice of his intention to appeal, and also to lay the reason thereof in writing before the court appealed from, either before its rising or within ten days thereafter. If this notice or these reasons be not given to the court while in session, they shall be lodged with the moderator or clerk.

PCUSA 1858 draft, Revised Book of Discipline, VIII-3-4

Every appellant is bound to give notice of his intention to appeal, and also to lay the reasons thereof, in writing, before the judicatory appealed from, either before its rising, or within ten days thereafter. If this notice, or these reasons, be not given to the judicatory while in session, they shall be lodged with the Moderator or Stated Clerk.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 249), on XIII-3-4:
258.--IV. Every appellant is bound to give notice of his intention to appeal, and also to lay the reasons thereof in writing before the court appealed from, either before its rising or within ten days thereafter. If this notice or these reasons be not given to the court while in session, they shall be lodged with the Moderator or Clerk.
The "rising" of the court is not necessarily the adjournment of all the sessions of that meeting, but the rising of the court from its work as a judicial body in the case. A court might remain in session with other business for more than ten days after "rising" from its judicial action. However, it would often work injury to enforce this distinction, unless the attention of the party were expressly called to it at the rising of the court, so generally will the party having right to appeal understand that he has ten days from the adjournment of the court. It would be contrary to the spirit of these Rules for a superior court to refuse to hear an appeal for a mere technicality that was designed for good. The notice enables the court to have the record of the cause in readiness, and also, if it so desires to change the personnel of the accuser. For the court, as judge, is not a party to the cause. The court, as appointing or accepting the prosecutor, was the Church acting as prosecutor ; and in this capacity it has the right to determine the personnel of the accuser in whatever court the cause is heard. The parties, however, remain the same, only the accuser is called appellee in the superior court, and the accused is there called appellant. (163).



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