Pastor, Church & Law
Hierarchical Churches—the Compulsory Deference Rule
Key point 7-03.2. Some courts apply the "compulsory deference" rule in resolving disputes over the ownership and control of property in "hierarchical" churches. Under this rule, the civil courts defer to the determinations of denominational agencies in resolving such disputes.
A few states have adopted the compulsory deference rule in resolving church property disputes involving hierarchical churches, and have awarded title to local church property to a denominational agency.50 The Supreme Court has recognized this as one of many possible options available to the civil courts in resolving church property disputes.
• A California appeals court ruled that a national church held title to the property of a local church that had voted ...
Copyright © 2008 by Christianity Today. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."
Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.