|Code of Canon Law|
IntraText - Text
THE INTRODUCTION OF THE CASE (Cann. 1501 - 1512)
The Introductory Libellus of Litigation
Can. 1501 A judge cannot adjudicate a case unless the party concerned or the promoter of justice has presented a petition according to the norm of the canons.
Can. 1502 A person who wishes to bring another to trial must present to a competent judge a libellus which sets forth the object of the controversy and requests the services of the judge.
Can. 1503 §1. The judge can accept an oral petition whenever the petitioner is impeded from presenting a libellus or the case is easily investigated and of lesser importance.
§2. In either case, however, the judge is to order the notary to put the act into writing; the written record must be read to and approved by the petitioner and has all the legal effects of a libellus written by the petitioner.
Can. 1504 The libellus, which introduces litigation, must:
1/ express the judge before whom the case is introduced, what is being sought and by whom it is being sought;
2/ indicate the right upon which the petitioner bases the case and, at least generally, the facts and proofs which will prove the allegations;
3/ be signed by the petitioner or the petitioner’s procurator, indicating the day, month, and year, and the address where the petitioner or procurator lives or where they say they reside for the purpose of receiving the acts;
4/ indicate the domicile or quasi-domicile of the respondent.
Can. 1505 §1. When a single judge or the president of a collegiate tribunal has seen that the matter is within his competence and the petitioner does not lack legitimate personal standing in the trial, he must accept or reject the libellus as soon as possible by decree.
§2. A libellus can be rejected only:
1/ if the judge or tribunal is incompetent;
2/ if without doubt it is evident that the petitioner lacks legitimate personal standing in the trial;
3/ if the prescripts of ⇒ can. 1504, nn. 1-3 have not been observed;
4/ if it is certainly clear from the libellus itself that the petition lacks any basis and that there is no possibility that any such basis will appear through a process.
§3. If the libellus has been rejected because of defects which can be corrected, the petitioner can resubmit a new, correctly prepared libellus to the same judge.
§4. A party is always free within ten available days to make recourse with substantiating reasons against the rejection of a libellus either to the appellate tribunal or to the college if the libellus was rejected by the presiding judge; the question of the rejection is to be decided as promptly as possible (expeditissime).
Can. 1506 If within a month from the presentation of the libellus the judge has not issued a decree which accepts or rejects the libellus according to the norm of ⇒ can. 1505, the interested party can insist that the judge fulfill his function. If the judge takes no action within ten days from the request, then the libellus is to be considered as accepted.