CODE OF CANON LAW
BOOK VII. PROCESSES
TRIALS IN GENERAL (Cann. 1400 - 1403)
Can. 1400 §1. The object of a trial is:
1/ the pursuit or vindication of the rights of physical or juridic persons, or the declaration of juridic facts;
2/ the imposition or declaration of a penalty for delicts.
§2. Nevertheless, controversies arising from an act of administrative power can be brought only before the superior or an administrative tribunal.
Can. 1401 By proper and exclusive right the Church adjudicates:
1/ cases which regard spiritual matters or those connected to spiritual matters;
2/ the violation of ecclesiastical laws and all those matters in which there is a question of sin, in what pertains to the determination of culpability and the imposition of ecclesiastical penalties.
Can. 1402 The following canons govern all tribunals of the Church, without prejudice to the norms of the tribunals of the Apostolic See.
Can. 1403 §1. Special pontifical law governs the causes of canonization of the servants of God.
§2. The prescripts of this Code, however, apply to these causes whenever the special pontifical law refers to the universal law, or norms are involved which also affect these causes by the very nature of the matter.
THE COMPETENT FORUM (Cann. 1404 - 1416)
Can. 1404 The First See is judged by no one.
Can. 1405 §1. It is solely the right of the Roman Pontiff himself to judge in the cases mentioned in can. 1401:
1/ those who hold the highest civil office of a state;
3/ legates of the Apostolic See and, in penal cases, bishops;
4/ other cases which he has called to his own judgment.
§2. A judge cannot review an act or instrument confirmed specifically (in forma specifica) by the Roman Pontiff without his prior mandate.
§3. Judgment of the following is reserved to the Roman Rota:
1/ bishops in contentious matters, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1419, §2;
2/ an abbot primate or abbot superior of a monastic congregation and a supreme moderator of religious institutes of pontifical right;
3/ dioceses or other physical or juridic ecclesiastical persons which do not have a superior below the Roman Pontiff.
Can. 1406 §1. If the prescript of can. 1404 is violated, the acts and decisions are considered as not to have been placed.
§2. In the cases mentioned in can. 1405, the incompetence of other judges is absolute.
Can. 1407 §1. No one can be brought to trial in first instance except before an ecclesiastical judge who is competent by reason of one of the titles determined in cann. 1408-1414.
§2. The incompetence of a judge supported by none of these titles is called relative.
§3. The petitioner follows the forum of the respondent. If the respondent has more than one forum, the choice of forum is granted to the petitioner.
Can. 1408 Anyone can be brought to trial before the tribunal of domicile or quasi-domicile.
Can. 1409 §1. A transient has a forum in the place of his or her actual residence.
§2. A person whose domicile, quasi-domicile, and place of residence are unknown can be brought to trial in the forum of the petitioner provided that no other legitimate forum is available.
Can. 1410 By reason of the location of an object, a party can be brought to trial before the tribunal of the place where the object in dispute is located whenever the action is directed against the object or concerns damages.
Can. 1411 §1. By reason of a contract, a party can be brought to trial before the tribunal of the place where the contract was entered into or must be fulfilled unless the parties agree to choose some other tribunal.
§2. If the case concerns obligations which originate from another title, a party can be brought to trial before the tribunal of the place where the obligation either originated or must be fulfilled.
Can. 1412 In penal cases the accused, even if absent, can be brought to trial before the tribunal of the place where the delict was committed.
Can. 1413 A party can be brought to trial:
1/ in cases which concern administration, before the tribunal of the place where the administration was conducted;
2/ in cases which regard inheritances or pious legacies, before the tribunal of the last domicile, quasi-domicile, or place of residence, according to the norm of cann. 1408-1409, of the one whose inheritance or pious legacy is at issue unless it concerns the mere execution of the legacy, which must be examined according to the ordinary norms of competence.
Can. 1414 By reason of connection, interconnected cases must be adjudicated by one and the same tribunal in the same process unless a prescript of law prevents this.
Can. 1415 By reason of prevention, if two or more tribunals are equally competent, the right of adjudicating the case belongs to the one which legitimately cited the respondent first.
Can. 1416 The appellate tribunal resolves conflicts of competence between tribunals subject to it; if the tribunals are not subject to the same appellate tribunal, the Apostolic Signatura resolves conflicts of competence.
DIFFERENT GRADES AND KINDS OF TRIBUNALS (Cann. 1417 - 1445)
Can. 1417 §1. By reason of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, any member of the faithful is free to bring or introduce his or her own contentious or penal case to the Holy See for adjudication in any grade of a trial and at any stage of the litigation.
§2. Recourse brought to the Apostolic See, however, does not suspend the exercise of jurisdiction by a judge who has already begun to adjudicate a case except in the case of an appeal. For this reason, the judge can prosecute a trial even to the definitive sentence unless the Apostolic See has informed the judge that it has called the case to itself.
Can. 1418 Any tribunal has the right to call upon the assistance of another tribunal to instruct a case or to communicate acts.
THE TRIBUNAL OF FIRST INSTANCE
Can. 1419 §1. In each diocese and for all cases not expressly excepted by law, the judge of first instance is the diocesan bishop, who can exercise judicial power personally or through others according to the following canons.
§2. If a case concerns the rights or temporal goods of a juridic person represented by the bishop, the appellate tribunal judges in first instance.
Can. 1420 §1. Each diocesan bishop is bound to appoint a judicial vicar, or offcialis, with ordinary power to judge, distinct from the vicar general unless the small size of the diocese or the small number of cases suggests otherwise.
§2. The judicial vicar constitutes one tribunal with the bishop but cannot judge cases which the bishop reserves to himself.
§3. The judicial vicar can be given assistants who are called adjutant judicial vicars, or vice-officiales.
§4. Both the judicial vicar and adjutant judicial vicars must be priests, of unimpaired reputation, doctors or at least licensed in canon law, and not less than thirty years of age.
§5. When the see is vacant, they do not cease from their function and cannot be removed by the diocesan administrator; when the new bishop arrives, however, they need confirmation.
Can. 1421 §1. In a diocese, the bishop is to appoint diocesan judges, who are to be clerics.
§2. The conference of bishops can also permit the appointment of lay persons as judges; when it is necessary, one of them can be selected to form a college.
§3. Judges are to be of unimpaired reputation and doctors or at least licensed in canon law.
Can. 1422 The judicial vicar, adjutant judicial vicars, and other judges are appointed for a definite time, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1420, §5 and cannot be removed except for a legitimate and grave cause.
Can. 1423 §1. With the approval of the Apostolic See, several diocesan bishops can agree to establish a single tribunal of first instance for their dioceses in place of the diocesan tribunals mentioned in cann. 1419-1421. In this case, the group of bishops or a bishop they designate has all the powers which a diocesan bishop has over his own tribunal.
§2. The tribunals mentioned in §1 can be established either for any cases whatsoever or only for certain types of cases.
Can. 1424 In any trial, a single judge can employ two assessors who consult with him; they are to be clerics or lay persons of upright life.
Can. 1425 §1. With every contrary custom reprobated, the following cases are reserved to a collegiate tribunal of three judges:
1/ contentious cases: a) concerning the bond of sacred ordination; b) concerning the bond of marriage, without prejudice to the prescripts of cann. 1686 and 1688;
2/ penal cases: a) concerning delicts which can entail the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state; b) concerning the imposition or declaration of an excommunication.
§2. The bishop can entrust more difficult cases or those of greater importance to the judgment of three or five judges.
§3. Unless the bishop establishes otherwise in individual cases, the judicial vicar is to assign the judges in order by turn to adjudicate individual cases.
§4. If it happens that a collegiate tribunal cannot be established in the first instance of a trial, the conference of bishops can permit the bishop, for as long as the impossibility continues, to entrust cases to a single clerical judge who is to employ an assessor and auditor where possible.
§5. The judicial vicar is not to substitute judges once they have been assigned except for a most grave cause expressed in a decree.
Can. 1426 §1. A collegiate tribunal must proceed collegially and render its sentences by majority vote.
§2. The judicial vicar or an adjutant judicial vicar must preside over a collegiate tribunal insofar as possible.
Can. 1427 §1. If there is a controversy between religious or houses of the same clerical religious institute of pontifical right, the judge of first instance is the provincial superior unless the constitutions provide otherwise; if it is an autonomous monastery, the local abbot judges in first instance.
§2. Without prejudice to a different prescript of the constitutions, if a contentious matter arises between two provinces, the supreme moderator will judge in first instance either personally or through a delegate; if the controversy is between two monasteries, the abbot superior of the monastic congregation will judge in first instance.
§3. Finally, if the controversy arises between physical or juridic religious persons of different religious institutes or of the same clerical institute of diocesan right or of the same lay institute, or between a religious and a secular cleric or lay person or a non-religious juridic person, the diocesan tribunal judges in first instance.
AUDITORS AND RELATORS
Can. 1428 §1. The judge or the president of a collegiate tribunal can designate an auditor, selected either from the judges of the tribunal or from persons the bishop approves for this function, to instruct the case.
§2. The bishop can approve for the function of auditor clerics or lay persons outstanding for their good character, prudence, and doctrine.
§3. It is for the auditor, according to the mandate of the judge, only to collect the proofs and hand those collected over to the judge. Unless the mandate of the judge prevents it, however, the auditor can in the meantime decide what proofs are to be collected and in what manner if a question may arise about this while the auditor exercises his or her function.
Can. 1429 The president of a collegiate tribunal must designate one of the judges of the college as the ponens or relator who is to report about the case at the meeting of the judges and put the sentence into writing. For a just cause the president can substitute another in place of the original relator.
THE PROMOTER OF JUSTICE, THE DEFENDER OF THE BOND, AND THE NOTARY
Can. 1430 A promoter of justice is to be appointed in a diocese for contentious cases which can endanger the public good and for penal cases; the promoter of justice is bound by office to provide for the public good.
Can. 1431 §1. In contentious cases, it is for the diocesan bishop to judge whether or not the public good can be endangered unless the intervention of the promoter of justice is prescribed by law or is clearly necessary from the nature of the matter.
§2. If the promoter of justice has intervened in a previous instance, such intervention is presumed necessary in a further instance.
Can. 1432 A defender of the bond is to be appointed in a diocese for cases concerning the nullity of sacred ordination or the nullity or dissolution of a marriage; the defender of the bond is bound by office to propose and explain everything which reasonably can be brought forth against nullity or dissolution.
Can. 1433 If the promoter of justice or defender of the bond was not cited in cases which require their presence, the acts are invalid unless they actually took part even if not cited or, after they have inspected the acts, at least were able to fulfill their function before the sentence.
Can. 1434 Unless other provision is expressly made:
1/ whenever the law requires the judge to hear either both or one of the parties, the promoter of justice and the defender of the bond must also be heard if they take part in the trial;
2/ whenever the request of a party is required in order for the judge to be able to decide something, the request of the promoter of justice or defender of the bond who takes part in the trial has the same force.
Can. 1435 It is for the bishop to appoint the promoter of justice and defender of the bond; they are to be clerics or lay persons, of unimpaired reputation, doctors or licensed in canon law, and proven in prudence and zeal for justice.
Can. 1436 §1. The same person can hold the office of promoter of justice and defender of the bond but not in the same case.
§2. The promoter and the defender can be appointed for all cases or for individual cases; however, the bishop can remove them for a just cause.
Can. 1437 §1. A notary is to take part in any process, so much so that the acts are null if the notary has not signed them.
§2. Acts which notaries prepare warrant public trust.
THE TRIBUNAL OF SECOND INSTANCE
Can. 1438 Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1444, §1, n. 1:
1/ from the tribunal of a suffragan bishop, appeal is made to the metropolitan tribunal, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1439;
2/ in cases tried in first instance before the metropolitan, appeal is made to the tribunal which the metropolitan has designated in a stable manner with the approval of the Apostolic See;
3/ for cases tried before a provincial superior, the tribunal of second instance is under the authority of the supreme moderator; for cases tried before the local abbot, the tribunal of second instance is under the authority of the abbot superior of the monastic congregation.
Can. 1439 §1. If a single tribunal of first instance has been established for several dioceses according to the norm of
Can. 1423, the conference of bishops must establish a tribunal of second instance with the approval of the Apostolic See unless the dioceses are all suffragan of the same archdiocese.
§2. With the approval of the Apostolic See, a conference of bishops can establish one or more tribunals of second instance in addition to the cases mentioned in §1.
§3. Over the tribunals of second instance mentioned in §§1-2, the conference of bishops or the bishop it designates has all the powers which a diocesan bishop has over his own tribunal.
Can. 1440 If competence by reason of grade according to the norm of cann. 1438 and 1439 is not observed, the incompetence of the judge is absolute.
Can. 1441 The tribunal of second instance must be established in the same way as the tribunal of first instance.
Nevertheless, if a single judge rendered a sentence in the first instance of the trial according to can. 1425, §4, the tribunal of second instance is to proceed collegially.
THE TRIBUNALS OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE
Can. 1442 The Roman Pontiff is the supreme judge for the entire Catholic world; he renders judicial decisions personally, through the ordinary tribunals of the Apostolic See, or through judges he has delegated.
Can. 1443 The Roman Rota is the ordinary tribunal established by the Roman Pontiff to receive appeals.
Can. 1444 §1. The Roman Rota judges:
1/ in second instance, cases which have been adjudicated by the ordinary tribunals of first instance and brought before the Holy See through legitimate appeal;
2/ in third or further instance, cases which the Roman Rota or any other tribunals have already adjudicated unless the matter is a res iudicata.
§2. This tribunal also judges in first instance the cases mentioned in can. 1405, §3 and others which the Roman Pontiff, either motu proprio or at the request of the parties, has called to his own tribunal and entrusted to the Roman Rota; unless the rescript entrusting the function provides otherwise, the Rota also judges these cases in second and further instance.
Can. 1445 §1. The supreme tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura adjudicates:
1/ complaints of nullity, petitions for restitutio in integrum and other recourses against rotal sentences;
2/ recourses in cases concerning the status of persons which the Roman Rota refused to admit to a new examination;
3/ exceptions of suspicion and other cases against the auditors of the Roman Rota for acts done in the exercise of their function;
4/ conflicts of competence mentioned in can. 1416.
§2. This tribunal deals with conflicts which have arisen from an act of ecclesiastical administrative power and are brought before it legitimately, with other administrative controversies which the Roman Pontiff or the dicasteries of the Roman Curia bring before it, and with a conflict of competence among these dicasteries.
§3. Furthermore it is for this supreme tribunal:
1/ to watch over the correct administration of justice and discipline advocates or procurators if necessary;
2/ to extend the competence of tribunals;
3/ to promote and approve the erection of the tribunals mentioned in cann. 1423 and 1439.
THE DISCIPLINE TO BE OBSERVED IN TRIBUNALS (Cann. 1446 - 1475)
THE DUTY OF JUDGES AND MINISTERS OF THE TRIBUNAL
Can. 1446 §1. All the Christian faithful, and especially bishops, are to strive diligently to avoid litigation among the people of God as much as possible, without prejudice to justice, and to resolve litigation peacefully as soon as possible.
§2. Whenever the judge perceives some hope of a favorable outcome at the start of litigation or even at any other time, the judge is not to neglect to encourage and assist the parties to collaborate in seeking an equitable solution to the controversy and to indicate to them suitable means to this end, even by using reputable persons for mediation.
§3. If the litigation concerns the private good of the parties, the judge is to discern whether the controversy can be concluded advantageously by an agreement or the judgment of arbitrators according to the norm of cann. 1713-1716.
Can. 1447 A person who has taken part in a case as a judge, promoter of justice, defender of the bond, procurator, advocate, witness, or expert cannot later in another instance validly decide the same case as judge or perform the function of assessor.
Can. 1448 §1. A judge is not to undertake the adjudication of a case in which the judge is involved by reason of consanguinity or affinity in any degree of the direct line and up to the fourth degree of the collateral line or by reason of trusteeship, guardianship, close acquaintance, great animosity, the making of a profit, or the avoidance of a loss.
§2. In these circumstances the promoter of justice, the defender of the bond, the assessor, and the auditor must abstain from their office.
Can. 1449 §1. If in the cases mentioned in can. 1448 the judge does not withdraw, a party can lodge an objection against the judge.
§2. The judicial vicar deals with the objection; if the objection is lodged against him, the bishop who presides over the tribunal deals with it.
§3. If the bishop is the judge and the objection is lodged against him, he is to abstain from judging.
§4. If the objection is lodged against the promoter of justice, the defender of the bond, or other officials of the tribunal, the president in a collegiate tribunal or the single judge deals with this exception.
Can. 1450 If the objection is accepted, the persons must be changed but not the grade of the trial.
Can. 1451 §1. The question of an objection must be decided as promptly as possible (expeditissime) after the parties have been heard as well as the promoter of justice or defender of the bond, if they take part in the trial and are not the ones against whom the objection has been lodged.
§2. Acts placed by a judge before an objection is lodged are valid; nevertheless, those acts placed after the objection has been lodged must be rescinded if a party requests it within ten days from the acceptance of the objection.
Can. 1452 §1. In a matter which concerns private persons alone, a judge can proceed only at the request of a party.
Once a case has been legitimately introduced, however, the judge can and must proceed even ex officio in penal cases and other cases which regard the public good of the Church or the salvation of souls.
§2. Furthermore, the judge can supply for the negligence of the parties in furnishing proofs or in lodging exceptions whenever the judge considers it necessary in order to avoid a gravely unjust judgment, without prejudice to the prescripts of can. 1600.
Can. 1453 Without prejudice to justice, judges and tribunals are to take care that all cases are completed as soon as possible and that in a tribunal of first instance they are not prolonged beyond a year and in a tribunal of second instance beyond six months.
Can. 1454 All who constitute a tribunal or assist it must take an oath to carry out their function correctly and faithfully.
Can. 1455 §1. Judges and tribunal personnel are always bound to observe secrecy of office in a penal trial, as well as in a contentious trial if the revelation of some procedural act could bring disadvantage to the parties.
§2. They are also always bound to observe secrecy concerning the discussion among the judges in a collegiate tribunal before the sentence is passed and concerning the various votes and opinions expressed there, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1609, §4.
§3. Whenever the nature of the case or the proofs is such that disclosure of the acts or proofs will endanger the reputation of others, provide opportunity for discord, or give rise to scandal or some other disadvantage, the judge can bind the witnesses, the experts, the parties, and their advocates or procurators by oath to observe secrecy.
Can. 1456 The judge and all officials of the tribunal are prohibited from accepting any gifts on the occasion of their acting in a trial.
Can. 1457 §1. The competent authority can punish with fitting penalties, not excluding privation from office, judges who refuse to render a judgment when they are certainly and manifestly competent, who declare themselves competent with no supporting prescript of law and adjudicate and decide cases, who violate the law of secrecy, or who inflict some other damage on the litigants out of malice or grave negligence.
§2. The ministers and personnel of a tribunal are subject to these same sanctions if they fail in their office as described above; the judge can also punish all of them.
THE ORDER OF ADJUDICATION
Can. 1458 Cases are to be adjudicated in the order in which they were presented and inscribed in the register unless one of them requires speedier treatment than the others; this fact must be established through a special decree which gives the substantiating reasons.
Can. 1459 §1. Defects which can render the sentence null can be introduced as exceptions at any stage or grade of the trial; the judge can likewise declare them ex officio.
§2. In addition to the cases mentioned in §1, dilatory exceptions, especially those which regard the persons and the manner of the trial, must be proposed before the joinder of the issue unless they emerged after the issue was already joined; they must be decided as soon as possible.
Can. 1460 §1. If an exception is proposed against the competence of the judge, that judge must deal with the matter.
§2. In the case of an exception of relative incompetence, if the judge finds for competence, the decision does not admit of appeal; a complaint of nullity and restitutio in integrum, however, are not prohibited.
§3. If the judge finds for incompetence, however, the party who feels injured can appeal to the appellate tribunal within fifteen useful days.
Can. 1461 A judge who becomes aware of being absolutely incompetent at any stage of the case must declare the incompetence.
Can. 1462 §1. Exceptions of res iudicata, of agreement, and other peremptory exceptions which are called litis finitae must be proposed and adjudicated before the joinder of the issue. A person who proposes them later must not berejected but is liable for expenses unless the person proves that the presentation was not delayed maliciously.
§2. Other peremptory exceptions are to be proposed during the joinder of the issue and must be treated at the proper time according to the rules for incidental questions.
Can. 1463 §1. Counterclaims cannot be proposed validly except within thirty days from the joinder of the issue.
§2. They are to be adjudicated, however, along with the original action, that is, in the same grade with it unless it is necessary to adjudicate them separately or the judge considers it more opportune to do so.
Can. 1464 Questions concerning the provision for judicial expenses or a grant of gratuitous legal assistance which had been requested from the very beginning and other such questions as a rule must be dealt with before the joinder of the issue.
TIME LIMITS AND DELAYS
Can. 1465 §1. Fatalia legis, that is, the time limits established by law for extinguishing rights, cannot be extended nor validly shortened unless the parties request it.
§2. Before the judicial or conventional time limits lapse, however, the judge can extend them for a just cause after the parties have been heard or if they request it; the judge, however, can never shorten those limits validly unless the parties agree.
§3. Nevertheless, the judge is to take care that such an extension does not overly prolong the litigation.
Can. 1466 When the law in no way establishes time limits for completing procedural acts, the judge must define them after having taken into consideration the nature of each act.
Can. 1467 If the tribunal is closed on the day scheduled for a judicial act, the time limit is extended to the first day following which is not a holiday.
THE PLACE OF THE TRIAL
Can. 1468 Insofar as possible, every tribunal is to be in an established location open during stated hours.
Can. 1469 §1. A judge expelled by force from his territory or impeded from the exercise of jurisdiction there can exercise jurisdiction and render a sentence outside that territory; the diocesan bishop, however, is to be informed of this.
§2. In addition to the case mentioned in §1, for a just cause and after having heard the parties, the judge can also go outside the territory to acquire proofs. This is to be done, however, with the permission of the diocesan bishop of the place where the judge goes and in the location designated by that bishop.
PERSONS TO BE ADMITTED TO THE COURT AND THE MANNER OF PREPARING AND KEEPING THE ACTS
Can. 1470 §1. Unless particular law provides otherwise, while cases are being heard before the tribunal, only those persons are to be present in court whom the law or the judge has established as necessary to expedite the process.
§2. With appropriate penalties, the judge can call to task all those present at a trial who are gravely lacking in the respect and obedience due the tribunal; furthermore, the judge can also suspend advocates and procurators from the exercise of their function in ecclesiastical tribunals.
Can. 1471 If a person to be questioned speaks a language unknown to the judge or the parties, an interpreter designated by the judge and under oath is to be used. The statements, however, are to be put into writing in the original language and a translation added. An interpreter is also to be used if a speech or hearing impaired person must be questioned unless the judge may prefer the person to answer the questions in writing.
Can. 1472 §1. The judicial acts, both the acts of the case, that is, those regarding the merit of the question, and the acts of the process, that is, those pertaining to the procedure, must be put in writing.
§2. The individual pages of the acts are to be numbered and authenticated.
Can. 1473 Whenever judicial acts require the signature of the parties or witnesses and the party or witness is unable or unwilling to sign, this is to be noted in the acts; the judge and the notary are also to attest that the act was read to the party or the witness verbatim and that the party or the witness was either not able or unwilling to sign.
Can. 1474 §1. In the case of an appeal, a copy of the acts authenticated by the attestation of a notary is to be sent to the higher tribunal.
§2. If the acts were written in a language unknown to the higher tribunal, they are to be translated into one known to that tribunal, with due precautions taken that the translation is a faithful one.
Can. 1475 §1. When the trial has been completed, documents which belong to private persons must be returned; a copy of them, however, is to be retained.
§2. Without a mandate of the judge, notaries and the chancellor are forbidden to furnish a copy of the judicial acts and documents acquired in the process.
THE PARTIES IN A CASE (Cann. 1476 - 1490)
The Petitioner and the Respondent
Can. 1476 Anyone, whether baptized or not, can bring action in a trial; however, a party legitimately summoned must respond.
Can. 1477 Even if the petitioner or respondent has appointed a procurator or advocate, they themselves are nevertheless always bound to be present at the trial according to the prescript of the law or of the judge.
Can. 1478 §1. Minors and those who lack the use of reason can stand trial only through their parents, guardians, or curators, without prejudice to the prescript of §3.
§2. If the judge thinks that the rights of minors are in conflict with the rights of the parents, guardians, or curators or that the latter cannot adequately protect the rights of the former, then the minors are to stand trial through a guardian or curator appointed by the judge.
§3. Nevertheless, in spiritual cases and those connected with spiritual matters, if the minors have attained the use of reason, they can petition and respond without the consent of their parents or guardian. They can do so personally if they have completed their fourteenth year of age; otherwise, they do so through the curator appointed by the judge.
§4. Those deprived of the administration of goods and those of diminished mental capacity can stand trial personally only to answer for their own delicts or at the order of the judge; otherwise, they must petition and respond through their curators.
Can. 1479 Whenever a guardian or curator appointed by civil authority is present, the ecclesiastical judge can admit the guardian or curator after having heard, if possible, the diocesan bishop of the person to whom the guardian or curator was given; if the guardian or curator is not present or does not seem admissible, the judge will appoint a guardian or curator for the case.
Can. 1480 §1. Juridic persons stand trial through their legitimate representatives.
§2. In a case of the lack of or negligence of the representative, however, the ordinary himself can stand trial personally or through another in the name of juridic persons subject to his authority. CHAPTER II.
PROCURATORS FOR LITIGATION AND ADVOCATES
Can. 1481 §1. A party can freely appoint an advocate and procurator; except for the cases established in §§2 and 3, however, the party can also petition and respond personally unless the judge has decided that the services of a procurator or advocate are necessary.
§2. In a penal trial, the accused must always have an advocate either appointed personally or assigned by the judge.
§3. In a contentious trial which involves minors or in a trial which affects the public good, with the exception of marriage cases, the judge is to appoint ex officio a defender for a party who does not have one.
Can. 1482 §1. A person can appoint only one procurator who cannot substitute another unless the procurator has been given the expressed faculty to do so.
§2. If a person appoints several procurators for a just cause, however, they are to be designated in such a way that prevention is operative among them.
§3. Nevertheless, several advocates can be appointed together.
Can. 1483 The procurator and advocate must have attained the age of majority and be of good reputation; moreover, the advocate must be a Catholic unless the diocesan bishop permits otherwise, a doctor in canon law or otherwise truly expert, and approved by the same bishop.
Can. 1484 §1. Before the procurator and advocate undertake their function, they must present an authentic mandate to the tribunal.
§2. To prevent the extinction of a right, however, the judge can admit a procurator even if the mandate has not been presented, once a suitable guarantee has been furnished if the case warrants it; the act, however, lacks any force if the procurator does not correctly present the mandate within the peremptory time established by the judge.
Can. 1485 Without a special mandate, a procurator cannot validly renounce an action, an instance, or judicial acts nor come to an agreement, make a bargain, enter into arbitration, or in general do those things for which the law requires a special mandate.
Can. 1486 §1. For the removal of a procurator or advocate to take effect, they must be informed; if the issue has already been joined, the judge and the opposing party must also be informed about the removal.
§2. After the definitive sentence has been issued, the right and duty to appeal, if the mandating person does not refuse, remains with the procurator.
Can. 1487 For a grave cause, the judge either ex officio or at the request of the party can remove the procurator and the advocate by decree.
Can. 1488 §1. Both the procurator and the advocate are forbidden to resolve the litigation by bribery or to make an agreement for an excessive profit or for a share in the object in dispute. If they do so, the agreement is null, and the judge can fine them. Moreover, the bishop who presides over the tribunal can suspend the advocate from office and even remove him or her from the list of advocates if it happens again.
§2. Advocates and procurators can be punished in the same way if in deceit of the law they withdraw cases from competent tribunals so that the cases will be decided more favorably by other tribunals.
Can. 1489 Advocates and procurators who betray their office for gifts, promises, or any other reason are to be suspended from the exercise of legal assistance and punished with a fine or other suitable penalties.
Can. 1490 As far as possible, legal representatives are to be appointed in a stable manner in each tribunal, who receive a stipend from the tribunal and are to exercise, especially in marriage cases, the function of advocate or procurator on behalf of parties who wish to select them.
ACTIONS AND EXCEPTIONS (Cann. 1491 - 1500)
ACTIONS AND EXCEPTIONS IN GENERAL
Can. 1491 Every right is protected not only by an action but also by an exception unless other provision is expressly made.
Can. 1492 §1. Every action is extinguished by prescription according to the norm of law or by some other legitimate means, with the exception of actions concerning the status of persons, which are never extinguished.
§2. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1462, an exception is always available and is perpetual by its very nature.
Can. 1493 A petitioner can bring a person to trial with several actions at once, either concerning the same or different matters, so long as the actions do not conflict among themselves and do not exceed the competence of the tribunal approached.
Can. 1494 §1. The respondent can file a counterclaim against the petitioner before the same judge in the same trial either because of the connection of the case with the principal action or to remove or diminish the claim of the petitioner.
§2. A counterclaim to a counterclaim is not allowed.
Can. 1495 The counterclaim must be presented to the judge before whom the first action was filed even if the judge was delegated for only one case or is otherwise relatively incompetent.
SPECIFIC ACTIONS AND EXCEPTIONS
Can. 1496 §1. A person, who through at least probable arguments has shown a right over something held by another and the threat of damage unless the thing is placed in safekeeping, has the right to obtain its sequestration from the judge.
§2. In similar circumstances, a person can obtain an order to restrain another from the exercise of a right.
Can. 1497 §1. Sequestration of a thing is also allowed as security for a loan provided that the right of the creditor is sufficiently evident.
§2. Sequestration can also be extended to the goods of the debtor which are discovered in the possession of others under any title and to the loans of the debtor.
Can. 1498 Sequestration of a thing and restraint upon the exercise of a right can in no way be decreed if the harm which is feared can be repaired in another way and suitable security for its repair is offered.
Can. 1499 A judge who grants the sequestration of a thing or a restraint upon the exercise of a right can first impose an obligation upon the person to compensate for damages if that person’s right is not proven.
Can. 1500 The prescripts of the civil law of the place where the object whose possession is in question is located are to be observed regarding the nature and force of a possessory action.