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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Preconditions to Civil Court Review

Volume 2 . Chapter 6 . § 6-10.3
Key point 6-10.3. The civil courts will not resolve a dispute contesting the discipline of a church member if the member failed to "exhaust" remedies available under the church's own governing documents.

The courts will not review church membership expulsions unless the expelled members have exhausted all available procedures within their church for obtaining review of their expulsion. To illustrate, one court refused to resolve a lawsuit brought by a dismissed church member challenging his dismissal since he had not pursued all of the remedies provided by his local church and a parent denomination for the review of such actions.409

Case Study

• The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that it could not review a dismissed church member's claim that his ...

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