A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Appeal

Be sure that your letter was not a bother to us.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 201)


Mr… . explained that it was felt that there is a seeming contradiction between the right of appeal to the Universal House of Justice and the right of a National Spiritual Assembly to make ‘final’ decisions on certain matters as stated in the National Bahá’í Constitution. The House of Justice instructs us to explain that wherever ‘final’ jurisdiction is given to the Local or National Spiritual Assembly in its constitution there is a balancing provision. For example: “Article IV of the Local Assembly By-Laws states: ‘while retaining the sacred right of final decision in all matters pertaining to the Bahá’í community, the Spiritual Assembly shall ever seek the advice and consultation of all members of the community, keep the community informed of all its affairs, and invite full and free discussion on the part of the community in all matters affecting the Faith.’ Yet, Article III of those same Local By-Laws states: ‘The Spiritual Assembly, however, shall recognize the authority and right of the National Spiritual Assembly to declare at any time what activities and affairs of the Bahá’í community of … are national in scope and hence subject to the jurisdiction of the National Assembly.’ And in Article II is stated: “… the Spiritual Assembly shall act in conformity with the functions of a Local Spiritual Assembly as defined in the By-Laws adopted by the National Spiritual Assembly …” With respect to those articles that accord final jurisdiction to the National Spiritual Assembly, there is the overriding provision of Article IX of the National By-Laws: ‘Where the National Spiritual Assembly has been given in these By-Laws exclusive and final jurisdiction, and paramount executive authority, in all matters pertaining to the activities and affairs of the Bahá’í Cause in … , it is understood that any decision made or action taken upon such matters shall be subject in every instance to ultimate review and approval by the Universal House of Justice.’ It is clear, therefore, that the word ‘final’ is not used in an absolute sense. It is, rather, an indication of the principle enunciated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that the believers should whole-heartedly and loyally support their Assemblies and abide by their decisions, even if they see them to be in error. At the same time, the Assemblies have the duty to lovingly and frankly consult with those who are under their jurisdiction and, if a believer (or Local Assembly) feels that a serious injustice is being committed or the interests of the Faith are being adversely affected, he has the right of appeal. When an appeal is made, the Assembly whose decision is being questioned should lovingly collaborate in the process and join with the appellant in submitting all relevant information to the higher body for decision.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, pp. 65-66)


The Bahá’ís are fully entitled to address criticisms to their Assemblies; they can freely air their views about policies or individual members of elected bodies to the Assembly, Local or National, but then they must wholeheartedly accept the advice or decision of the Assembly, according to the principles already laid down for such matters in Bahá’í administration).
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 81.)


The House of Justice understands and appreciates your motive in striving to contain matters at the national level, and agrees that every effort should be made to resolve them without recourse to the World Centre. At the same time, if an appeal is turned down by the National Spiritual Assembly, the appellant’s request for referral to the Universal House of Justice cannot be refused, nor should the referral be unduly delayed.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 63)


This (appeal) process is explained in Article XVIII of the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 63)


When the local Assembly has given its decision in the matter, you then have the right of appeal, if you wish, to the National Spiritual Assembly for further consideration of your case. But before taking such an action it is your duty as a loyal and steadfast believer to wholeheartedly and unreservedly accept the National Spiritual Assembly’s request to enter into joint conference with your Local Assembly. You should have confidence that in obeying the orders of your National Assembly you will not only succeed in solving your own personal problems with the friends, but will in addition set a noble example before them.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 62)


When you have doubts and concerns about your own plans, confide in the Counsellors; when something they do causes you worry, talk to them in the proper spirit of Bahá’í consultation. Remember that they, like yourselves, are burdened with the work of the Cause and are beset with many concerns in its service, and they need your sympathetic understanding of the challenges they face. Open your hearts and your minds to them; regard them as your confidants, your loving friends. And be ever ready to extend to them your hand in support.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1994 May 19, response to US NSA)