Scientology Justice

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The Scientology Justice system is the Church of Scientology's internal means of assessing and dealing with violations of their code of ethics. These violations include those outside of the Church as well as within it.

The Scientology Handbook, a compilation of texts by founder L. Ron Hubbard, says "When the individual fails to put in his own ethics, the group takes action against him and this is called justice" and also notes that "Man cannot be trusted with justice. The truth is, man cannot really be trusted with 'punishment'." [1]

Committee of Evidence[edit]

A Committee of Evidence, abbreviated as "Comm Ev", and is a tribunal that deals with serious offenses. According to Scientology policy, the Committee of Evidence is only convened at a church member's request or when there is evidence of serious wrongdoing by a church member.

Administrative procedure[edit]

Administratively, the Committee of Evidence is initiated by a convening authority, usually the LRH Communicator of the organization. This person does so at the request, usually, of another church executive who makes formal accusations of violations of church ethics codes. A chairman, a secretary, and two to five other members are chosen by the convening authority who must be "senior" to the accused.[2] Their task is to read and hear evidence for and against the accused church member. They have two weeks to complete the Committee of Evidence. Committee of Evidence policy explicitly bars any legal representation for the accused.[3]

After reviewing evidence, the secretary and members vote on whether they think the accused church member is guilty or not guilty of each of the presented charges. Conviction on a charge is by majority vote. The Committee of Evidence then recommends punishment, which in principle, must be done in accordance with L. Ron Hubbard's policies. The outcome of a Committee of Evidence is issued in a document called the "Findings and Recommendations". All Committee of Evidence members must sign this document whether they agree with it or not.[4] The only means of recourse are: A review Committee of Evidence, where the committee is supposed to just listen to the recordings and review the documents of the original Committee of Evidence, then issue new Findings and Recommendations, a petition by the accused church member to have the Committee of Evidence cancelled, which is directed to an executive highly-placed in the church hierarchy or a Board of Review in which the charges are reviewed by newly appointed Committee of Evidence members. Both the Board of Review and the Review Committee of Evidence have the option of making new recommendations.[5][6]

The Committee of Evidence in practice[edit]

In a lecture given on 2 August 1970, Hubbard admitted that Committees of Evidence were very unpopular with Scientologists: "..This, of course, requires something that is very unpopular, which is a Committee of Evidence."[7] Committee of Evidence members face being investigate and prosecuted by a Committee of Evidence themselves if the convening authority believes they were not aggressive enough in pursuit of the Committee of Evidence findings.[8]

Court of Ethics[edit]

A court of ethics is convened by an ethics officer or church executive senior to the church staff member being charged. The offenses being accused are of non-serious nature and the sentences are at the discretion of the person who convened the court of ethics. The court is not supposed to engage in investigation, but rather operate only on known evidence.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Church of Scientology, The Scientology Handbook, 1994 hardcover edition, pg.361–362.
  2. ^ Hubbard Communications Office, HCOPL 24 February 1972, "Injustice" pp. 4–5
  3. ^ Hubbard Communications Office, HCOPL 17 July 1966 Issue II, "Evidence, Admissibility of in Hearings, Boards or Committees"
  4. ^ Hubbard Communications Office HCOPL 7 September 1963, "Committees of Evidence, Scientology Jurisprudence, Administration of" p.6
  5. ^ Hubbard Communications Office, HCOPL 24 February 1972 Issue I, "Injustice", Hubbard Communications Office, HCOPL 7 September 1963, "Committees of Evidence, Scientology Jurisprudence, Administration of".
  6. ^ Hubbard Communications Office, HCOPL 22 September 1963, "Concerning Committees of Evidence".
  7. ^ 700802–1 A Short Briefing to Guardians Office Technical Personnel, 23 minutes into the lecture
  8. ^ Hubbard Communications Office, HCOPL 24 February 1965, "Addendum to HCO Policy Letter of 7 Sept. 63 Committees of Evidence, Scientology Jurisprudence, Administration of"
  9. ^ Hubbard Communications Office, HCOPL 26 May 1965, "Courts of Ethics"

External links[edit]