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¶ 2610. Declaratory Decisions

1. The Judicial Council, on petition as hereinafter provided, shall have jurisdiction to make a ruling in the nature of a declaratory decision as to the constitutionality, meaning, application, or effect of the Discipline or any portion thereof or of any act or legislation of a General Conference; and the decision of the Judicial Council thereon shall be as binding and effectual as a decision made by it on appeal.8

2. The following bodies in The United Methodist Church are hereby authorized to make such petitions to the Judicial Council for declaratory decisions: (a) the General Conference;9 (b) the Council of Bishops; (c) any body created or authorized by the General Conference on matters relating to or affecting the work of such body; (d) a majority of the bishops assigned to any jurisdiction on matters relating to or affecting jurisdictions or the work therein; (e) a majority of the bishops assigned to any central conference on matters relating to or affecting the central conferences or the work therein; (f) any jurisdictional conference on matters relating to or affecting jurisdictions or jurisdictional conferences or the work therein; (g) any body created or authorized by the jurisdictional conference on matters relating to or affecting the work of such body; (h) any central conference on matters relating to or affecting central conference or the work therein; (i) any body authorized or created by a central conference on matters relating to or affecting the work of such body; and (j) any annual conference on matters relating to annual conferences or the work therein.10

3. When a declaratory decision is sought, all persons or bodies who have or claim any interest that would be affected by the declaration shall be parties to the proceeding, and the petition shall name such parties. After receiving such request the secretary of the Judicial Council shall publish on the official United Methodist Internet pages a brief statement of the question involved. If the president of the council determines that other parties not named by the petition would be affected by such a decision, such additional parties shall also be added, and the petitioner or petitioners, upon direction of the secretary of the Judicial Council, shall then be required to serve all parties so joined with a copy of the petition within fifteen days after such direction by the secretary of the Judicial Council. In like manner, any interested party may, on the party's own motion, intervene and answer, plead, or interplead.11

8. See Judicial Council Decisions 106, 172, 301, 434, 443, 454, 463, 474, 566.
9. See Judicial Council Decision 889.
10. See Judicial Council Decisions 29, 212, 255, 301, 309, 382, 452, 535.
11. See Judicial Council Decision 437.

From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church — 2012. Copyright 2012 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.