|Processes » Trials in General » The Discipline To Be Observed in Tribunals » The duty of judges and ministers of the tribunal|
|Canon 1446.||§1 All Christ’s faithful, and especially Bishops, are to strive earnestly, with due regard for justice, to ensure that disputes among the people of God are as far as possible avoided, and are settled promptly and without rancour.
§2 In the early stages of litigation, and indeed at any other time as often as he discerns any hope of a successful outcome, the judge is not to fail to exhort and assist the parties to seek an equitable solution to their controversy in discussions with one another. He is to indicate to them suitable means to this end and avail himself of serious-minded persons to mediate.
§3 If the issue is about the private good of the parties, the judge is to discern whether an agreement or a judgement by an arbitrator, in accordance with the norms of cann.
1717-1720, might usefully serve to resolve the controversy.
|Canon 1447.||Any person involved in a case as judge, promotor of justice, defender of the bond, procurator, advocate, witness or expert cannot subsequently, in another instance, validly determine the same case as a judge or exercise the role of assessor in it.|
|Canon 1448.||§1 The judge is not to undertake the hearing of a case in which any personal interest may be 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 guardianship or tutelage, or of close acquaintanceship or marked hostility or possible financial profit or loss.
§2 The promotor of justice, the defender of the bond, the assessor and the auditor must likewise refrain from exercising their offices in these circumstances.
|Canon 1449.||§1 In the cases mentioned in can. 1448, if the judge himself does not refrain from exercising his office, a party may object to him.
§2 The judicial Vicar is to deal with this objection. If the objection is directed against the judicial Vicar himself, the Bishop in charge of the tribunal is to deal with the matter.
§3 If the Bishop is the judge and the objection is directed against him, he is to refrain from judging.
§4 If the objection is directed against the promotor of justice, the defender of the bond or any other officer of the tribunal, it is to be dealt with by the presiding judge of a collegial tribunal, or by the sole judge if there is only one.
|Canon 1450.||If the objection is upheld, the persons in question are to be changed, but not the grade of trial.|
|Canon 1451.||§1 The objection is to be decided with maximum expedition, after hearing the parties, the promotor of justice or the defender of the bond, if they are engaged in the trial and the objection is not directed against them.
§2 Acts performed by a judge before being objected to are valid. Acts performed after the objection has been lodged must be rescinded if a party requests this within ten days of the admission of the objection.
|Canon 1452.||§1 In a matter which concerns private persons exclusively, a judge can proceed only at the request of a party. In penal cases, however, and in other cases which affect the public good of the Church or the salvation of souls, once the case has been lawfully introduced, the judge can and must proceed ex officio.
§2 The judge can also supply for the negligence of the parties in bringing forward evidence or in opposing exceptions, whenever this is considered necessary in order to avoid a gravely unjust judgement, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1600.
|Canon 1453.||Judges and tribunals are to ensure that, within the bounds of justice, all cases are brought to a conclusion as quickly as possible. They are to see to it that in the tribunal of first instance cases are not protracted beyond a year, and in the tribunal of second instance not beyond six months.|
|Canon 1454.||All who constitute a tribunal or assist in it must take an oath to exercise their office properly and faithfully.|
|Canon 1455.||§1 In a penal trial, the judges and tribunal assistants are bound to observe always the secret of the office; in a contentious trial, they are bound to observe it if the revelation of any part of the acts of the process could be prejudicial to the parties.
§2 They are also obliged to maintain permanent secrecy concerning the discussion held by the judges before giving their judgement, and concerning the various votes and opinions expressed there, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1609 §4.
§3 Indeed, the judge can oblige witnesses, experts, and the parties and their advocates or procurators, to swear an oath to observe secrecy. This may be done if the nature of the case or of the evidence is such that revelation of the acts or evidence would put at risk the reputation of others, or give rise to quarrels, or cause scandal or have any similar untoward consequence.
|Canon 1456.||The judge and all who work in the tribunal are forbidden to accept any gifts on the occasion of a trial.|
|Canon 1457.||§1 Judges can be punished by the competent authority with appropriate penalties, not excluding the loss of office, if, though certainly and manifestly competent, they refuse to give judgement; if, with no legal support, they declare themselves competent and hear and determine cases; if they breach the law of secrecy; or if, through deceit or serious negligence, they cause harm to the litigants.
§2 Tribunal officers and assistants are subject to the same penalties if they fail in their duty as above. The judge also has the power to punish them.
|Processes » Trials in General » The Discipline To Be Observed in Tribunals » The order of adjudication|
|Canon 1458.||Cases are to be heard in the order in which they were received and entered in the register, unless some case from among them needs to be dealt with more quickly than others. This is to be stated in a special decree which gives supporting reasons.|
|Canon 1459.||§1 Defects which can render the judgement invalid can be proposed as exceptions at any stage or grade of trial; likewise, the judge can declare such exceptions ex officio.
§2 Apart from the cases mentioned in §1, exceptions seeking a delay especially those which concern persons and the manner of trial, are to be proposed before the joinder of the issue, unless they emerge only after it. They are to be decided as soon as possible.
|Canon 1460.||§1 If an exception is proposed against the competence of the judge, the judge himself must deal with the matter.
§2 Where the exception concerns relative non-competence and the judge pronounces himself competent, his decision does not admit of appeal. However, a plaint of nullity and a total reinstatement are not prohibited.
§3 If the judge declares himself non-competent, a party who complains of being adversely affected can refer the matter within fifteen canonical days to the appeal tribunal.
|Canon 1461.||A judge who becomes aware at any stage of the case that he is absolutely non-competent, is bound to declare his non-competence.|
|Canon 1462.||§1 Exceptions to the effect that an issue has become an adjudged matter or has been agreed between the parties, and those other peremptory exceptions which are said to put an end to the suit, are to be proposed and examined before the joinder of the issue. Whoever raises them subsequently is not to be rejected, but will be ordered to pay the costs unless it can be shown that the objection was not maliciously delayed.
§2 Other peremptory exceptions are to be proposed in the joinder of the issue and treated at the appropriate time under the rules governing incidental questions.
|Canon 1463.||§1 Counter actions can validly be proposed only within thirty days of the joinder of the issue.
§2 Such counter actions are to be dealt with at the same grade of trial and simultaneously with the principal action, unless it is necessary to deal with them separately or the judge considers this procedure more opportune.
|Canon 1464.||Questions concerning the guarantee of judicial expenses or the grant of free legal aid which has been requested from the very beginning of the process, and other similar matters, are normally to be settled before the joinder of the issue|
|Processes » Trials in General » The Discipline To Be Observed in Tribunals » Time limits and delays|
|Canon 1465.||§1 The so-called canonical time limits are fixed times beyond which rights cease in law. They cannot be extended, nor can they validly be shortened except at the request of the parties.
§2 After hearing the parties, or at their request, the judge can, for a just reason, extend before they expire times fixed by himself or agreed by the parties. These times can never validly be shortened without the consent of the parties.
§3 The judge is to ensure that litigation is not unduly prolonged by reason of postponement.
|Canon 1466.||Where the law does not establish fixed times for concluding procedural actions, the judge is to define them, taking into consideration the nature of each act.|
|Canon 1467.||If the day appointed for a judicial action is a holiday, the fixed term is considered to be postponed to the first subsequent day which is not a holiday.|
|Processes » Trials in General » The Discipline To Be Observed in Tribunals » The place of the trial|
|Canon 1468.||As far as possible, the place where each tribunal sits is to be an established office which is open at stated times.|
|Canon 1469.||§1 A judge who is forcibly expelled from his territory or prevented from exercising jurisdiction there, can exercise his jurisdiction and deliver judgement outside the territory. The diocesan Bishop is, however, to be informed of the matter.
§2 Apart from the circumstances mentioned in §1, the judge, for a just reason and after hearing the parties, can go outside his own territory to gather evidence. This is
to be done with the permission of, and in a place designated by, the diocesan Bishop of the place to which he goes.
|Processes » Trials in General » The Discipline To Be Observed in Tribunals » Persons to be admitted to the court and the manner of preparing and keeping the acts|
|Canon 1470.||§1 Unless particular law prescribes otherwise, when cases are being heard before the tribunal, only those persons are to be present whom the law or the judge decides are necessary for the hearing of the case.
§2 The judge can with appropriate penalties take to task all who, while present at a trial, are gravely lacking in the reverence and obedience due to the tribunal. He can, moreover, suspend advocates and procurators from exercising their office in ecclesiastical tribunals.
|Canon 1471.||If a person to be interrogated uses a language unknown to the judge or the parties, an interpreter, appointed by the judge and duly sworn, can be employed in the case. Declarations are to be committed to writing in the original language, and a translation is to be added. An interpreter is also to be used if a deaf and dumb person must be interrogated, unless the judge prefers that replies to the questions he has asked be given in writing.|
|Canon 1472.||§1 Judicial acts must be in writing, both those which refer to the merits of the case, that is, the acts of the case, and those which refer to the procedure, that is, the procedural acts.
§2 Each page of the acts is to be numbered and bear a seal of authenticity.
|Canon 1473.||Whenever the signature of parties or witnesses is required in judicial acts, and the party or witness is unable or unwilling to sign, this is to be noted in the acts.
At the same time the judge and the notary are to certify that the act was read verbatim to the party or witness, and that the party or witness was either unable or unwilling to sign.
|Canon 1474.||§1 In the case of an appeal, a copy of the acts is to be sent to the higher tribunal, with a certification by the notary of its authenticity.
§2 If the acts are in a language unknown to the higher tribunal, they are to be translated into another language known to it. Suitable precautions are to be taken to ensure that the translation is accurate.
|Canon 1475.||§1 When the trial has been completed, documents which belong to private individuals must be returned to them, though a copy of them is to be retained.
§2 Without an order from the judge, notaries and the chancellor are forbidden to hand over to anyone a copy of the judicial acts and documents obtained in the process.
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