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¶ 2609. Jurisdiction and Powers

1. The Judicial Council shall determine the constitutionality of any act of the General Conference upon an appeal by a majority of the Council of Bishops or one-fifth of the members of the General Conference.

2. The Judicial Council shall have jurisdiction to determine the constitutionality of any proposed legislation when such declaratory decision is requested by the General Conference or by the Council of Bishops.

3. The Judicial Council shall determine the constitutionality of any act of a jurisdictional or central conference upon an appeal by a majority of the bishops of that jurisdictional or central conference or upon an appeal by one-fifth of the members of that jurisdictional or central conference.4

4. The Judicial Council shall hear and determine the legality of any action taken by any body created or authorized by the General Conference or any body created or authorized by a jurisdictional or central conference, upon appeal by one-third of the members thereof or upon request of the Council of Bishops or a majority of the bishops of the jurisdictional or central conference wherein the action was taken.

5. The Judicial Council shall hear and determine the legality of any action taken by any body created or authorized by a General Conference or any body created or authorized by the jurisidictional or central conference on a matter affecting an annual or a provisional annual conference, upon appeal by two-thirds of the members of the annual or provisional annual conference present and voting.5

6. The Judicial Council shall pass upon and affirm, modify, or reverse the decisions of law made by bishops in central, district, annual, or jurisdictional conferences upon questions of law submitted to them in writing when such appeal has been made by one-fifth of that conference present and votingin the regular business of a session; and in order to facilitate such review, each bishop shall report annually in writing to the Judicial Council on forms provided by the council all the bishop's decisions of law. No such episcopal decision shall be authoritative, except in the case pending, until it has been passed upon by the Judicial Council, but thereafter it shall become the law of the Church to the extent that it is affirmed by the council. Normally, the bishop shall rule before the close of the annual conference session during which the question was submitted, but in no case later than thirty days after the close of the session. The annual conference secretary shall enter in the annual conference journal an exact statement of the question submitted and the ruling of the bishop.6

7. The Judicial Council shall hear and determine any appeal from a bishop's decision on a question of law made in a central, district, annual, or jurisdictional conference when said appeal has been made by one-fifth of that conference present and voting.7

8. The Judicial Council shall have power to review an opinion or decision of a committee on appeals of a jurisdictional or central conference if it should appear that such opinion or decision is at variance with the Book of Discipline, a prior decision of the Judicial Council, or an opinion or decision of a committee on appeals of another jurisdictional or central conference on a question of Church law. In the event the committee on appeals decision appears to be at variance with the decision of another committee on appeals, then the following procedure should be followed:

a) Any party to the opinion or decision may appeal the case to the Judicial Council on the ground of such conflict of decisions; or

b) The committee on appeals rendering the last of such opinions or decisions may certify the case to, and file it with, the Judicial Council on the ground of such conflict of decisions; or

c) The attention of the president of the Judicial Council being directed to such conflict or alleged conflict of decisions, the president may issue an order directing the secretaries of the committees on appeals involved to certify a copy of a sufficient portion of the record to disclose the nature of the case and the entire opinion and decision of the committee on appeals in each case to the Judicial Council for its consideration at its next meeting.

The Judicial Council shall hear and determine the question of Church law involved but shall not pass upon the facts in either case further than is necessary to decide the question of Church law involved. After deciding the question of Church law, the Judicial Council shall cause its decision to be certified to each of the committees on appeals involved, and such committees on appeals shall take such action, if any, as may be necessary under the law as determined by the Judicial Council.

d) All opinions and decisions of jurisdictional and central conference committees on appeal shall be sent to the secretary of the Judicial Council within thirty days after a decision. These decisions shall be made available to those who are involved in trials when needed and for those preparing for trial, but not otherwise.

9. The Judicial Council shall have other duties and powers as may be conferred upon it by the General Conference.

10. All decisions of the Judicial Council shall be final. However, when the Judicial Council shall declare any act of the General Conference then in session unconstitutional, that decision shall be reported to that General Conference immediately. This legislation shall take effect immediately upon passage by the General Conference.

4. See Judicial Council Decision 338.
5. See Judicial Council Decision 463.
6. See Judicial Council Decisions 747, 762, 763, 799, 879, 978, 1001, 1004, 1042, 1068, 1069, 1077, 1078, 1086, 1113, 1115, 1120, 1124, 1130, 1131, 1132, 1135, 1146, 1150, 1161, 1166, 1167, 1188, 1194, 1195, 1196, 1202, 1203.
7. See Judicial Council Decision 153.

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

 

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