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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:50 pm 
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Could a Court Overrule an Assembly Judgment?

Today the Supreme Court in Canada is hearing a case that could have implications for the Exclusive Brethren. They have to decide whether a court can intervene when a church decides unfairly to excommunicate one of its members.

See https://ipolitics.ca/2017/11/02/church- ... decisions/

Here is the abstract of a paper on that very subject presented to an ISCA conference by a lawyer a few years ago. It describes the circumstances in which a court operating under Canadian law could, in the opinion of the speaker, overrule an assembly judgment or order compensation for the person withdrawn from.

Quote:
Excommunication: the consequences, and a member's right to a fair hearing,

Excommunication, shunning, or being “withdrawn from” are words used by closely knit religious groups; the practices that these words refer to are commonly designed to correct members’ actions or words when those actions or words (in the eyes of the administration) undermine or contradict the group’s norms or mores. The courts are slow to exercise jurisdiction over the question of membership in a voluntary association, especially a religious one. Jurisdiction has been exercised, however, where property or civil rights turn on the question of membership. Where such rights are affected, as they are very likely to be in an enmeshed group in which one’s livelihood and property rights are often intertwined with the religious group, the courts will intervene to ensure that the principles of natural justice are followed. The content of the principles of natural justice is flexible and depends on the circumstances in which the question arises. However, the most basic requirements are that of notice, opportunity to make representations, and an unbiased tribunal.

A member must be given notice of the cause for which he is to be expelled. It is insufficient merely to give notice that the conduct of a member is to be considered at a meeting. The member who is to be expelled must also be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him. The Exclusive Brethren Church in Canada has consistently failed to meet the standards required by Canadian law in withdrawing from its members and has caused considerable financial and other harms to members who wish to leave. These basic legal rights should be communicated both to the Exclusive Brethren and their members.
Well, that was the opinion of a lawyer. I wait with interest to see if it is also the opinion of the Supreme Court.

I can envisage other circumstances in which a court, not only in Canada, might overrule an Exclusive Brethren assembly judgment. For instance, withdrawing from someone could become a criminal offence if it amounts to psychological and emotional abuse; for example when it is used as a punishment to establish one person’s total control over another.

It could also be a criminal offence when practised the way JTJr taught; that is, parents being told that in some cases they should abandon their children. I have read reports of this being allegedly done in a way that was utterly wicked and probably criminal, but I don’t know the real names of the victims or the names of the perpetrators.

I have also witnessed several excommunications that were accompanied by other criminal acts, particularly defamation of the excommunicated person.

In drawing attention to this, I hope that the EB leadership will realise how far they have fallen below the standards expected by wider society, including our legislative systems and our courts of law.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:29 am 
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I doubt a court could order the EB to reverse an 'assembly judgement' but I suspect it could be used in a civil action against the church if it resulted in loss of employment or alienation of spouse or family .

Why there hasn't been a class action lawsuit initiated against them,I don't know....I believe the PBCC claim they only withdraw from people for evil that the 'man on the street ' could recognise as 'evil' ....be interesting to see THAT challanged in a court of law..


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:24 pm 
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Well if that's the case Fisherman, what about all the people they threw out wrongly which they admitted to in 2003 in the 'Great Review'? They said "We were wrong and we want you to come back. You did not commit a sin in reality - we got it wrong."

So the punishment for this blunder of theirs in my own case, was the loss of my family for over 33 years at the time, in which time several of them had died including my parents. Can you get compensated for the loss of your family? Can you get compensated for the loss of your inheritance- long after the fact? Can you get compensated for having your world turned upside down? Can you get compensated for the unnecessary grief you have lived with most of your life?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:47 pm 
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I totally agree that NO amount of money could ever compensate for the losses that the victims of this unconscionable cult that destroyed so many lives but that is what 'punitive damages ' are for ,to deter the purpetrator from pursuing similar actions against others ....in some cases people have sued and won, but donated the money to charity...they didn't do it for money but they wanted justice and they wanted the purpetrators to not just walk off scott free.


Last edited by fisherman on Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:18 pm 
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A number of family court cases involving custody of children could be construed as the court overrlling an Assembly judgement.

One springs to mind in Oz - where the grandparents were looking after kids while their parents were under "Assembly discipline" (god thats a horrible horrible term!)... and then it was such a sad fight when the parents were fighting against the kids grandparents (their own parents) and the financial might of the EB for custody.... with the grandparents and the EB arguing the kids were exposed to moral danger, etc....


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:29 am 
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Yes,I think the case could ( and SHOULD ) be made ) for punitive damages-in significant amounts too.The brethren have used their financial muscle to break people,it would be fitting if it went the OTHER way for a change ...


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:24 pm 
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A few years ago the Australian Government made a payout to people who were mistreated as children whilst in government care. Each claimant got a nominal sum on proof of eligibility, plus a further pool was shared around those with longer term effects who could state a case (my wife was one of the former).

I'm thinking the EB could do the same. Maybe each of us should be awarded a nominal two million (AUD) whilst those who can demonstrate additional distress could put in a claim for more - maybe the claims could be capped at twenty million?

I agree no amount of money will ever make up for the loss, but it could help.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:10 pm 
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The PBCC have made no secret that their goal is not to preach the gospel but 'business' ( you'd think the 'Great Commission' was to 'go into the whole world and share the good news' about how to make money) so there would be a certain justice if punitive damages*broke them back to....used furniture salesmen providing for themselves like Paul, 'with their own hands'( Acts 20:34)

*Can you imagine what a few billion dollars would do to support missions , build schools and hospitals in third world countries?...where the money SHOULD have gone in the first place....yeah, while such an award could NEVER 'put right'the terrible carnage inflicted on good people as a result of 'faulty local administration'( they ALWAYS ' pass the buck'), it WOULD be ' Justice'.


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