PCA HISTORICAL CENTER
Archives and Manuscript Repository for the Continuing Presbyterian Church


The Historical Development of the Book of Church Order

Chapter 43 : Complaints

Paragraph 3 :

43-3. If, after considering a complaint, the court alleged to be delinquent or in error is of the opinion that it has not erred, and denies the complaint, the complainant may take that complaint to the next higher court. If the lower court fails to consider the complaint against it by or at its next stated meeting, the complainant may take that complaint to the next higher court. Written notice thereof shall be filed with both the clerk of the lower court and the clerk of the higher court within thirty (30) days of notification of the last court’s decision. Notification shall be deemed to have occurred on the day of mailing (if certified, registered or express mail of a national postal service or any private service where verifying receipt is utilized), the day of hand delivery, or the day of confirmed receipt in the case of e-mail or facsimile. Furthermore, compliance with such requirements shall be deemed to have been fulfilled if a party cannot be located after diligent inquiry or if a party refuses to accept delivery.

DIGEST : Four amendments to this paragraph have been approved thus far in the history of the PCA. The current text dates to 2013 [M41GA, p. 114], with the paragraph amended on the grounds that "The change provides a bright line for when the clock begins for the filing of a complaint with a next higher court. Rather than having the clock begin potentially before notification of a court’s decision becomes available to a complainant, the clock begins in relation to notification of the decision. Provision is made for various forms of proof of notification, with language adapted from OMSJC 18:10." Other amendments occurred in 1984 [M14GA, 12-14, Item 5j, p. 90]; 1987 [M15GA, 15-25, Item 2, p. 95] and 1992 [M20GA, 20-12, Item 5, p. 53]. In 1984, what had been 43-3 was renumbered as 43-5 and a new 43-3 was added to this chapter.

BACKGROUND AND COMPARISON :
1984 [M14GA, 12-14, Item 5j, p. 90]

If, after considering a complaint, the court alleged to be delinquent or in error is of the opinion that it has not erred, and denies the complaint or fails to act on the complaint, the complainant may make complaint to the next higher court. Written notice of complaint, together with supporting reasons, shall be filed with both the clerk of the lower court and the clerk of the higher court within fifteen (15) days following the meeting of the lower court.

No comparable provision in this chapter of these editions:

PCA 1973, RoD, Chapter 17, Adopted text
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, Chapter 17, Proposed text
PCUS 1933
PCUS 1925
PCUS 1879

PCUS 1869 draft
PCUS 1867 draft


OTHER COMPARISONS:

OPC 2005, Book of Discipline, IX-3
If after considering a complaint, the judicatory alleged to be delinquent or in error is not convinced that it has been delinquent or has erred, and refuses to make amends, the complainant may appeal to the next higher judicatory having jurisdiction. The appeal shall carry the complaint to that judicatory. Appeal shall be entered at the earliest possible time. Before this action is taken, notice of intention to appeal must be given to the judicatory against which the complaint is directed. The complaint carried to the higher judicatory must be the same complaint presented to the lower judicatory.

COMMENTARY :

F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898) :
[no comparable provision in this chapter for discussion]


OVERTURES AND AMENDMENTS:
1984

1987

1992


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]

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