.

The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 43 : Complaints

Paragraph 5 :

43-5. The court against which complaint is made shall appoint one or more representatives to defend its action before the higher court, and the parties in the case shall be known as complainant and respondent. The complainant himself may present his complaint, or he may obtain the assistance of a
communing member of the Presbyterian Church in America, who is in good standing, in presenting his complaint.


[Historical Summary : What had been BCO 43-3 was renumbered as 43-5 in 1984 and amended with the addition of a second sentence [M14GA, 12-14, Item 5-l, p. 90]. Then in the year 2000, an amendment was brought which added "before the higher court" to the end of the first full phrase of the first sentence [M28GA, 28-12, Item 4, pp. 60].

Background and Comparison :
1984 [M14GA, 12-14, Item 5-l, p. 90]
The court against which complaint is made shall appoint one or more representatives to defend its action, and the parties in the case shall be known as complainant and respondent. The complainant himself may present his complaint, or he may obtain the assistance of a communing member of the Presbyterian Church in America, who is in good standing, in presenting his complaint.

1. PCA 1973, RoD, 17-3, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 154

2. Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 17-3, Proposed text, p. 59
3. PCUS 1933, RoD, XVII-§286
4. PCUS 1925, RoD, XVII-§286
The court against which complaint is made shall appoint one or more representatives to defend its action, and the parties in the case shall be known as complainant and respondent.

PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, XIII-4-3

The parties to a complaint shall be denominated complainant and respondent; and the latter shall be the court against which the complaint is taken. After the superior court has ascertained that the complaint is regular, its first step shall be to read "the record" of the case; its second, to hear the complainant; its third, to hear the respondent by its representative; its fourth, to hear the complainant again; and then it shall consider and decide the case.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, XIII-4-3
and
PCUS 1867 draft,
Canons of Discipline, XIII-4-3
The parties to a complaint shall be denominated complainant and respondent; and the latter shall be the court against which the complaint is taken. After the superior court has ascertained that the complaint is regular, its first step shall be to read the record of the case; its second to hear the complainant; its third to hear the respondent by its representative; and then it shall consider and decide the case.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 254), on XIII-4-3 :
269.--III. The court against whose decision a complaint is taken shall appoint a representative to defend that decision, who shall be called the respondent. After the superior court has ascertained that the complaint is regular, its first step shall be to read the record of the case; its second to hear the complainant; its third to hear the respondent; its fourth to hear the complainant again, and then it shall consider and decide the case.
"The record" of the case will be the same as "the record of the cause" when the complaint is against a decision in a judicial case ; but in other cases it will be so much of the records sent up for review as are needful to set the issue before the superior court. The complaint ought to specify precisely what is complained of, and, when the complaint is not against a judicial decision, what parts of the records the complainant desires to have read. And such parts should be read as either party desires, within reasonable limits. The court, after hearing the parties, may debate the matter freely, which is not allowable in a case of process, either in the court of first resort or in the court appealed to.



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