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Canons


Canon: OF PROCEEDINGS AGAINST BISHOPS

Chapter:  C38 ECCLESIASTICAL TRIBUNALS and THE DISCIPLINE OF MINISTERS OF THE CHURCH


Part: C

How charges are to be laid
1. No charge under Canon 37 shall be received against a Bishop of the Province (including the Metropolitan) unless:

(a) it be preferred by at least three priests licensed in the Province or by two Diocesan Bishops, or, if it relates to matters other than faith and doctrine, by at least any five of the following, namely, two priests and three laypersons being churchwardens, parish councillors or members of the Diocesan Trusts Board, up to two of whom need not be of the Diocese of the accused, and

(b) the Metropolitan is satisfied that steps have been taken by the presenters to have the matters concerned handled through the structures of the Diocese (i.e. the Chapter or Senate or Diocesan Council or the equivalent body), unless he or she be the Accused in which case the Dean of the Province must be so satisfied.

Accusation
2. The Articles of Presentment referred to in section 7 of Canon 37 shall be delivered to the Metropolitan, unless he be the Accused, in which case they shall be delivered to the Dean of the Province. Copies of the Articles shall also be delivered, at the same time, to the Accused Bishop, the Dean of the Diocese (failing whom for any reason the most senior Cleric of the Diocese in terms of Act XIII), to members of the Diocesan Senate or Chapter, and to the Diocesan Chancellor and Registrar.

Board of preliminary inquiry
3. (a) The Metropolitan, on receiving such Articles of Presentment, may within twenty-one days constitute a Board of Preliminary Inquiry, consisting of two Diocesan Bishops not being presenters of the charge and not more than two lay persons, one of whom is learned in the law (being confirmed Communicants of the Church of this Province), and shall forthwith inform the Accused of the appointment of such Board and, if such a Board is constituted, invite the Accused to submit to the Board in writing an answer to the Articles of Presentment, if the Accused so desire.

to report within thirty days
(b) The Board shall consider whether there is a prima facie case against the Accused, and shall report within thirty days of their appointment to the Metropolitan, who shall decide whether further proceedings shall be taken or not. If the Metropolitan so determine, he may exercise his visitatorial powers under section 2(g) of Canon 2 Of the Metropolitan.

Pastoral Team
3. (c) Alternatively to the appointment of the Board, the Metropolitan may decide to appoint a Pastoral Team from the Province to undertake a pastoral visit to the Diocese in order to meet with the presenters, the Bishop and any others concerned in the matters raised, and to seek to resolve the issues concerned through pastoral ministration. At the same time the Metropolitan shall nominate three Diocesan Bishops as conferring Bishops in the matter, from whom the Metropolitan shall take counsel as provided for below. The Pastoral Team shall report on their visit, in writing, to the Metropolitan, and send copies of their report to the Accused Bishop, to members of the Diocesan Senate or Chapter, to the Diocesan Chancellor and Registrar, and to the presenters. The Metropolitan shall consult with the conferring Bishops and, having done so, shall in his discretion take such further action as is believed necessary, including referring the matter to trial, in which event the report of the Pastoral Team shall be deemed to be the report of the Board of Preliminary Enquiry. However, in this case the conferring Bishops shall recuse themselves from the Court as constituted in terms of Canon 36 section 1.

Matter referred to trial
(d) Within sixty days of the Pastoral Team reporting to the Metropolitan, the Accused Bishop may elect to have the matter taken to trial if the Metropolitan has not done so. In this event he must send written notice of this election to the Metropolitan, who shall then act in this regard as provided for in subsection (c) above.

Manner of serving accusation
4. The Metropolitan, if he decides that the case should proceed, shall forthwith intimate his decision to the Presenters and to the Accused, and shall then, within twenty one days, transmit a copy of the Articles of Presentment to each of the other Diocesan Bishops. He shall cause all intimations and citations to be served on the Accused personally, or to be sent to him by registered post at his last known place of residence.

When the Metropolitan is party to a suit
5. If a charge is to be preferred before the Synod of Bishops against the Metropolitan, or if the Metropolitan himself prefers such a charge against another Bishop, the Dean of the Province (or if he be debarred from acting, the Diocesan Bishop senior by consecration), shall perform all duties in relation to the trial which the Metropolitan would otherwise perform under this Canon.

Time of trial
6. The trial shall take place within four months of the receipt by the Metropolitan of the report of the Board of Preliminary Inquiry, unless it appears to him necessary to postpone it to a later day; but in no case shall it be postponed beyond six months.

Duties of advisers
7. The Lay persons appointed to assist in the hearing of a case shall answer such questions as shall be put to them by the Tribunal, and shall be at liberty to tender to the Tribunal their opinion on questions that may arise; and the Tribunal shall be bound to consider such opinions before pronouncing judgement.

Sentences
8. The sentence, if the Accused be found guilty, shall be either admonition, suspension, deprivation, deposition or degradation, as the Tribunal may determine: provided that no Bishop shall be found guilty unless at least two-thirds of the Bishops present agree, and the sentence shall be that of the majority. Each Bishop shall be at liberty to deliver his judgement separately.

Judgement to be communicated to every Diocese
9. It shall be the duty of the Tribunal, whenever judgement has been given, to communicate such result to the Bishop (or senior priest) of every Diocese of this Province, and it shall be the Bishopís (or senior priestís) duty to cause it to be made known to every Cleric within the Diocese.

Care of Diocese during suspension
10. Should the sentence be one of suspension, the Metropolitan shall make provision for the care and administration of the Diocese as he shall see fit, until the period of suspension be terminated.

Judgement conclusive
11. The judgement of the Tribunal in all proceedings under this Canon shall be final and conclusive: provided that any parties to a suit may demand that before the Tribunal gives final judgement the reference allowed to the Archbishop of Canterbury in sections 5 and 8 of Canon 41 0f Appeals be made.



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