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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 42 : Appeals

Paragraph 11 :

42-11. An appellant shall be considered to have abandoned his appeal if he fails to appear before the higher court, in person or by counsel, for a hearing thereof, after he has been properly notified; but an appellant may waive, in writing, his right to appear with permission of the court and not be considered to have abandoned his case. In case of such failure to appear, the judgment of the lower court will stand unless the appellant gives to the court a prompt and satisfactory explanation.

[Historical Summary : The text of this paragraph dates to 1984 [M14GA, 12-14, Item 5-f, p. 89; see also Item 5-g, p. 89].

Background and Comparison :
1. PCA 1973, RoD, 16-9, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 154
2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 16-9, Proposed text, p. 58
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, XVI-§281
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, XVI-§281
An appellant shall be considered to have abandoned his appeal, if he does not appear before the higher court in person or by counsel, by the second day of its meeting next ensuing the date of his notice of appeal, and the judgment of the lower court will stand, unless he can give the court satisfactory explanation of his failure to appear and prosecute the appeal.

PCUS 1879,
Rules of Discipline, XIII-3-9
If an appellant, after entering his appeal to a superior court, fail to prosecute it, it shall be considered as abandoned, and the judgment appealed from shall be final. And an appellant shall be considered as abandoning his appeal if he do not appear before the appellate court by the second day of its meeting next ensuing the date of his notice of appeal, unless it shall appear that he was prevented by the providence of God from seasonably prosecuting it.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, XIII-3-9
and
PCUS 1867 draft,
Canons of Discipline, XIII-3-9
If an appellant, after entering his appeal to a superior court, fail to prosecute it, it shall be considered as abandoned, and the sentence appealed from shall be final. And an appellant shall be considered as abandoning his appeal, if he do not appear before the court appealed to by the second day of its meeting next ensuing the date of his notice of appeal, except in cases in which it shall appear that he was prevented from seasonably prosecuting his appeal by the providence of God.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 251), on XIII-3-9:
263.--IX. If an appellant, after entering his appeal to a superior court, fail to prosecute it, it shall be considered as abandoned, and the judgment appealed from shall be final. And an appellant shall be considered as abandoning his appeal if he do not appear before the appellate court by the second day of its meeting next ensuing the date of his notice of appeal, unless it shall appear that he was prevented by the providence of God from seasonably prosecuting it.
Entering his appeal means giving notice. Here, again, no one should be deprived of his right to prosecute his appeal upon a technicality ; but, on the other hand, one wishing to appeal must be diligent to use the opportunity that the Church may not be unnecessarily disturbed.



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