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Act 12, 2023 – Legal Action Review Group

1. The General Assembly establish a Legal Action Review Group to review instances where legal action is taken against an Office-bearer of the Church in connection with their Office, in which religious liberty and the spiritual independence of the Church may be the central issue.

1.1. Membership. The Review Group will comprise the following: The Principal of ETS, the Principal Clerk, the Chairman of the Board of Ministry, the Chief Executive Officer, with powers to involve others with necessary expertise and experience on a case-by-case basis. A quorum shall be three members of the Review Group.

1.2. Remit. The Review Group will determine what support the Church can offer to Office-bearers and their families. They will assess cases on the basis of agreed criteria and will decide if the Church can provide wider public support in addition to normal pastoral care. The Group will keep the criteria under review, with any changes being approved by the Board of Trustees.

2. The General Assembly direct that an Office-bearer facing potential legal action connected with their office should inform the Clerk of the Presbytery as soon as possible. They instruct the Presbytery Clerk to report the matter immediately to the Principal Clerk and CEO. They instruct the Principal Clerk and the CEO to arrange a meeting of the Review Group as soon as practically possible after receipt of the notification.

3. The General Assembly declare that the Review Group may direct Office-bearers to the services provided by other organisations who share our theological convictions and who have the necessary experience and expertise in this area.

4. The General Assembly empower the Board of Trustees to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with partner organisations who may support the Church in dealing with any potential legal action against Office-bearers.

5. The General Assembly instruct the Board of Ministry to include, in its ongoing professional development programme for Ministers, seminars which cover responsible evangelism, preaching and discipleship that is both faithful and sensitive in a secular society where the Church is under particular scrutiny.

6. The General Assembly instruct the Assembly Clerks’ Office to circulate the Committee’s report and the Assembly finding to all Ministers and Session Clerks.