APPEAL, RIGHT OF

APPEAL, RIGHT OF

Encyclopedia Masonica



The right of appeal is an inherent right belonging to every Freemason, and the Grand Lodge is the appellate body to whom the appeal is to be made.

Appeals are of two kinds: first, from the decision of the Master; second, from the decision of the Lodge.

Each of these will require a distinct consideration.

1. Appeals from the Decision of the Master. It is now a settled. doctrine in Masonic law that there can be no appeal from the decision of a Master of a Lodge to the Lodge itself. But an appeal always lies from such decision to the Grand Lodge, which is bound to entertain the appeal and to inquire into the correctness of the decision.

Some writers have endeavored to restrain the despotic authority of the Master to decisions in matters atrictly relating to the work of the Lodge, while they contend that on all questions of business an appeal may be taken from his decision to the Lodge.

But it would be unsafe, and often impracticable, to , draw this distinction, and accordingly the highest Masonic authorities have rejected the theory, and denied the power in a Lodge to entertain an appeal from any decision of the presiding officer.

The wisdom of this law must be apparent to anyone who examines the nature of the organization of the Masonic Institution. The Master is responsible to the Grand Lodge for the good conduct of his Lodge. To him and to him alone the supreme Masonic authority looks for the preservation of order, and the observance of the Constitutions and the Landmarks of the Order in the body over which he presides. It is manifest, then, that it would be highly unjust to throw around a presiding officer so heavy a responsibility, if it were in the power of the Lodge to overrule his decisions or to control his authority.

2. Appeals from the Decisions of the Lodge. Appeals may be made to the Grand Lodge from the decisions of a Lodge, on any subject except the admission of members, or the election of candidates; but these appeals are more frequently made in reference to conviction and punishment after trial.

When a Freemason, in consequence of charges preferred against him, has been tried, convicted, and sentenced by his Lodge, he has an inalienable right to appeal to the Grand Lodge from such conviction and sentence.

His appeal may be either general or specific. That is, he may appeal on the ground, generally, that the whole of the proceedings have been irregular or illegal, or he may appeal specifically against some particular portion of the trial ; or lastly, admitting the correctness of the verdict, and acknowledging the truth of the charges, he may appeal from the sentence, as being too severe or disproportionate to the offense.


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