Can. 1400 ▀1 The objects of a trial are:

1â to pursue or vindicate the rights of physical or juridical persons, or to declare juridical facts;

2â to impose or to declare penalties in regard to offences.

▀2 Disputes arising from an act of administrative power, however, can be referred only to the Superior or to an administrative tribunal.

Can. 1401 The Church has its own and exclusive right to judge:

1â cases which refer to matters which are spiritual or linked with the spiritual;

2â the violation of ecclesiastical laws and whatever contains an element of sin, to determine guilt and impose ecclesiastical penalties.

Can. 1402 All tribunals of the Church are governed by the canons which follow, without prejudice to the norms of the tribunals of the Apostolic See.

Can. 1403 ▀1 Cases for the canonization of the Servants of God are governed by special pontifical law.

▀2 The provisions of this Code are also applied to these cases whenever the special pontifical law remits an issue to the universal law, or whenever norms are involved which of their very nature apply also to these cases.


Can. 1404 The First See is judged by no one.

Can. 1405 ▀1 In the cases mentioned in can. 1401, the Roman Pontiff alone has the right to judge:

1â Heads of State;

2â Cardinals;

3â Legates of the Apostolic See and, in penal cases, Bishops

4â other cases which he has reserved to himself.

▀2 A judge cannot review an act or instrument which the Roman Pontiff has specifically confirmed, except by his prior mandate.

▀3 It is reserved to the Roman Rota to judge:

1â Bishops in contentious cases, without prejudice to can. 1419 ▀2;

2â the Abbot primate or the Abbot superior of a monastic congregation, and the supreme Moderator of a religious institute of pontifical right;

3â dioceses and other ecclesiastical persons, physical or juridical, which have no Superior other than the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 1406 ▀1 If the provision of can. 1404 is violated, the acts and decisions are invalid.

▀2 In the cases mentioned in can. 1405, the nonécompetence of other judges is absolute.

Can. 1407 ▀1 No one can be brought to trial in first instance except before a judge who is competent on the basis of one of the titles determined in canon. 1408éé1414.

▀2 The nonécompetence of a judge who has none of these titles is described as relative.

▀3 The plaintiff follows the forum of the respondent. If the respondent has more than one forum, the plaintiff may opt for any one of them.

Can. 1408 Anyone can be brought to trial before the tribunal of domicile or quasiédomicile.

Can. 1409 ▀1 A person who has not even a quasiédomicile has a forum in the place of actual residence.

▀2 A person whose domicile, quasiédomicile or place of actual residence is unknown, can be brought to trial in the forum of the plaintiff, provided no other lawful forum is available.

Can. 1410 Competence by reason of subject matter means that a party can be brought to trial before the tribunal of the place where the subject matter of the litigation is located, whenever the action concerns that subject matter directly, or when it is an action for the recovery of possession.

Can. 1411 ▀1 Competence by reason of contract means that a party can be brought to trial before the tribunal of the place in which the contract was made or must be fulfilled, unless the parties mutually agree to choose another tribunal.

▀2 If the case concerns obligations which arise from some other title, the party can be brought to trial before the tribunal of the place in which the obligation arose or in which it is to be fulfilled.

Can. 1412 A person accused in a penal case can, even though absent, be brought to trial before the tribunal of the place in which the offence was committed.

Can. 1413 A party can be brought to trial:

1â in cases concerning administration, before the tribunal of the place in which the administration was exercised;

2â in cases concerning inheritances or pious legacies, before the tribunal of the last domicile or quasiédomicile or residence of the person whose inheritance or pious legacy is at issue, in accordance with the norms of canon. 1408é1409. If, however, only the execution of the legacy is involved, the ordinary norms of competence are to be followed.

Can. 1414 Competence by reason of connection means that cases which are interéconnected can be heard by one and the same tribunal and in the same process, unless this is prevented by a provision of the law.

Can. 1415 Competence by reason of prior summons means that, if two or more tribunals are equally competent, the tribunal which has first lawfully summoned the respondent has the right to hear the case.

Can. 1416 A conflict of competence between tribunals subject to the same appeal tribunal is to be resolved by the latter tribunal. If they are not subject to the same appeal tribunal, the conflict is to be settled by the Apostolic Signatura.


Can. 1417 ▀1 Because of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, any of the faithful may either refer their case to, or introduce it before, the Holy See, whether the case be contentious or penal. They may do so at any grade of trial or at any stage of the suit.

▀2 Apart from the case of an appeal, a referral to the Apostolic See does not suspend the exercise of jurisdiction of a judge who has already begun to hear a case. The judge can, therefore, continue with the trial up to the definitive judgment, unless the Apostolic See has indicated to him that it has reserved the case to itself.

Can. 1418 Every tribunal has the right to call on other tribunals for assistance in instructing a case or in communicating acts.


Can. 1419 ▀1 In each diocese and for all cases which are not expressly excepted in law, the judge of first instance is the diocesan Bishop. He can exercise his judicial power either personally or through others, in accordance with the following canons.

▀2 If the case concerns the rights or temporal goods of a juridical person represented by the Bishop, the appeal tribunal is to judge in first instance.

Can. 1420 ▀1 Each diocesan Bishop is obliged to appoint a judicial Vicar, or 'Officialis', with ordinary power to judge. The judicial Vicar is to be a person distinct from the Vicar general, unless the smallness of the diocese or the limited 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 associate judicial Vicars or 'Viceéofficiales'.

▀4 The judicial Vicar and the associate judicial Vicars must be priests of good repute, with a doctorate or at least a licentiate in canon law, and not less than thirty years of age.

▀5 When the see is vacant, they do not cease from office, nor can they be removed by the diocesan Administrator. On the coming of the new Bishop, however, they need to be confirmed in office.

Can. 1421 ▀1 In each diocese the Bishop is to appoint diocesan judges, who are to be clerics.

▀2 The Episcopal Conference can permit that lay persons also be appointed judges. Where necessity suggests, one of these can be chosen in forming a college of Judges.

▀3 Judges are to be of good repute, and possess a doctorate, or at least a licentiate, in canon law.

Can. 1422 The judicial Vicar, the associate judicial Vicars and the other judges are appointed for a specified period of time, without prejudice to the provision of can. 1420 ▀5. They cannot be removed from office except for a lawful and grave reason.

Can. 1423 ▀1 With the approval of the Apostolic See, several diocesan Bishops can agree to establish one tribunal of first instance in their dioceses, in place of the diocesan tribunals mentioned in canon. 1419-1421. In this case the group of Bishops, or a Bishop designated by them, has all the powers which the diocesan Bishop has for his tribunal.

▀2 The tribunals mentioned in ▀1 can be established for all cases, or for some types of cases only.

Can. 1424 In any trial a sole judge can associate with himself two assessors as advisers; they may be clerics or lay persons of good repute.

Can. 1425 ▀1 The following matters are reserved to a collegiate tribunal of three judges, any contrary custom being reprobated:

1â contentious cases: a) concerning the bond of sacred ordination; b) concerning the bond of marriage, without prejudice to the provisions of canon. 1686 and 1688;

2â penal cases: a) for offences which can carry the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state; b) concerning the imposition or declaration of an excommunication.

▀2 The Bishop can entrust the more difficult cases or those of greater importance to the judgment of three or of five judges.

▀3 The judicial Vicar is to assign judges in order by rotation to hear the individual cases, unless in particular cases the Bishop has decided otherwise.

▀4 In a trial at first instance, if it should happen that it is impossible to constitute a college of judges, the Episcopal Conference can for as long as the impossibility persists, permit the Bishop to entrust cases to a sole clerical judge. Where possible, the sole judge is to associate with himself an assessor and an auditor.

▀5 Once judges have been designated, the judicial Vicar is not to replace them, except for a very grave reason, which must be expressed in a decree.

Can. 1426 ▀1 A collegiate tribunal must proceed in a collegiate fashion and give its judgment by majority vote.

▀2 As far as possible, the judicial Vicar or an associate judicial Vicar must preside over the collegiate tribunal.

Can. 1427 ▀1 If there is a controversy between religious, or houses of the same clerical religious institute of pontifical right, the judge at first instance, unless the constitutions provide otherwise, is the provincial Superior or, if an autonomous monastery is concerned, the local Abbot.

▀2 Without prejudice to a different provision in the constitutions, when a contentious matter arises between two provinces, the supreme Moderator, either personally or through a delegate, will be the judge at first instance. If the controversy is between two monasteries, the Abbot superior of the monastic congregation will be the judge.

▀3 Finally, if a controversy arises between physical or juridical persons of different religious institutes or even of the same clerical institute of diocesan right or of the same lay institute, or between a religious person and a secular cleric or a lay person or a nonéreligious juridical person, it is the diocesan tribunal which judges at first instance.


Can. 1428 ▀1 The judge or, in the case of a collegiate tribunal, the presiding judge, can designate an auditor to instruct the case. The auditor may be chosen from the tribunal judges, or from persons approved by the Bishop for this office.

▀2 The Bishop can approve clerics or lay persons for the role of auditor. They are to be persons conspicuous for their good conduct, prudence and learning.

▀3 The task of the auditor is solely to gather the evidence in accordance with the judge's commission and, when gathered, to submit it to the judge. Unless the judge determines otherwise, however, an auditor can in the meantime decide what evidence is to be collected and the manner of its collection, should any question arise about these matters while the auditor is carrying out his role.

Can. 1429 The presiding judge of a collegiate tribunal is to designate one of the judges of the college as 'ponens' or 'relator'. This person is to present the case at the meeting of the judges and set out the judgment in writing. For a just reason the presiding judge can substitute another person in the place of the 'ponens'.


Can. 1430 A promoter of justice is to be appointed in the diocese for penal cases, and for contentious cases in which the public good may be at stake. The promoter is bound by office to safeguard the public good.

Can. 1431 ▀1 In contentious cases it is for the diocesan Bishop to decide whether the public good is at stake or not, unless the law prescribes the intervention of the promoter of justice, or this is clearly necessary from the nature of things.

▀2 If the promoter of justice has intervened at an earlier instance of a trial, this intervention is presumed to be necessary at a subsequent instance.

Can. 1432 A defender of the bond is to be appointed in the diocese for cases which deal with the nullity of ordination or the nullity or dissolution of marriage. The defender of the bond is bound by office to present and expound all that can reasonably be argued against the nullity or dissolution.

Can. 1433 In cases in which the presence of the promoter of justice or of the defender of the bond is required, the acts are invalid if they were not summoned. This does not apply if, although not summoned, they were in fact present or, having studied the acts, able to fulfill their role at least before the judgment.

Can. 1434 Unless otherwise expressly provided:

1â whenever the law directs that the judge is to hear the parties or either of them, the promoter of justice and the defender of the bond are also to be heard if they are present;

2â whenever, at the submission of a party, the judge is required to decide some matter, the submission of the promoter of justice or of the defender of the bond engaged in the trial has equal weight.

Can. 1435 It is the Bishop's responsibility to appoint the promoter of justice and defender of the bond. They are to be clerics or lay persons of good repute, with a doctorate or a licentiate in canon law, and of proven prudence and zeal for justice.

Can. 1436 ▀1 The same person can hold the office of promoter of justice and defender of the bond, although not in the same case.

▀2 The promoter of justice and the defender of the bond can be appointed for all cases, or for individual cases. They can be removed by the Bishop for a just reason.

Can. 1437 ▀1 A notary is to be present at every hearing, so much so that the acts are null unless signed by the notary.

▀2 Acts drawn up by notaries constitute public proof.


Can. 1438 Without prejudice to the provision of can. 1444 ▀1, n. 1:

1â an appeal from the tribunal of a suffragan Bishop is to the metropolitan tribunal, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1439.

2â in cases heard at first instance in the tribunal of the Metropolitan, the appeal is to a tribunal which the Metropolitan, with the approval of the Apostolic See, has designated in a stable fashion;

3â for cases dealt with before a provincial Superior, the tribunal of second instance is that of the supreme Moderator; for cases heard before the local Abbot, the second instance court is that of the Abbot superior of the monastic congregation.

Can. 1439 ▀1 If a single tribunal of first instance has been constituted for several dioceses, in accordance with the norm of can. 1423, the Episcopal Conference must, with the approval of the Holy See, constitute a tribunal of second instance, unless the dioceses are all suffragans of the same archdiocese.

▀2 Even apart from the cases mentioned in ▀1, the Episcopal Conference can, with the approval of the Apostolic See, constitute one or more tribunals of second instance.

▀3 In respect of the second instance tribunals mentioned in ▀▀1é2, the Episcopal Conference, or the Bishop designated by it, has all the powers that belong to a diocesan Bishop in respect of his own tribunal.

Can. 1440 If competence by reason of the grade of trial, in accordance with the provisions of canon. 1438 and 1439, is not observed, then the nonécompetence of the judge is absolute.

Can. 1441 The tribunal of second instance is to be constituted in the same way as the tribunal of first instance. However, if a sole judge has given a judgment in first instance in accordance with can. 1425 ▀4, the second instance tribunal is to act collegially.


Can. 1442 The Roman Pontiff is the supreme judge for the whole catholic world. He gives judgment either personally, or through the ordinary tribunals of the Apostolic See, or through judges whom he delegates.

Can. 1443 The ordinary tribunal constituted by the Roman Pontiff to receive appeals is the Roman Rota.

Can. 1444 The Roman Rota judges:

1â in second instance, cases which have been judged by ordinary tribunals of first instance and have been referred to the Holy See by a lawful appeal;

2â in third or further instance, cases which have been processed by the Roman Rota itself or by any other tribunal, unless there is question of an adjudged matter.

▀2 This tribunal also judges in first instance the cases mentioned in can. 1405 ▀3, and any others which the Roman Pontiff, either on his own initiative or at the request of the parties, has reserved to his tribunal and has entrusted to the Roman Rota. These cases are judged by the Rota also in second or further instances, unless the rescript entrusting the task provides otherwise.

Can. 1445 ▀1 The supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura hears:

1â plaints of nullity, petitions for total reinstatement and other recourses against rotal judgments;

2â recourses in cases affecting the status of persons, which the Roman Rota has refused to admit to a new examination;

3â exceptions of suspicion and other cases against Auditors of the Roman Rota by reason of things done in the exercise of their office;

4â the conflicts of competence mentioned in can. 1416.

▀2 This same Tribunal deals with controversies which arise from an act of ecclesiastical administrative power, and which are lawfully referred to it. It also deals with other administrative controversies referred to it by the Roman Pontiff or by departments of the Roman Curia, and with conflicts of competence among these departments.

▀3 This Supreme Tribunal is also competent:

1â to oversee the proper administration of justice and, should the need arise, to take notice of advocates and procurators;

2â to extend the competence of tribunals;

3â to promote and approve the establishment of the tribunals mentioned in canon. 1423 and 1439.



Can. 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 rancor.

▀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 judgment by an arbitrator, in accordance with the norms of canon. 1717é1720 [6] , might usefully serve to resolve the controversy.

Can. 1447 Any person involved in a case as judge, promoter 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.

Can. 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 promoter of justice, the defender of the bond, the assessor and the auditor must likewise refrain from exercising their offices in these circumstances.

Can. 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 promoter 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.

Can. 1450 If the objection is upheld, the persons in question are to be changed, but not the grade of trial.

Can. 1451 ▀1 The objection is to be decided with maximum expedition, after hearing the parties, the promoter 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.

Can. 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 judgment, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1600.

Can. 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.

Can. 1454 All who constitute a tribunal or assist in it must take an oath to exercise their office properly and faithfully.

Can. 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 judgment, 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.

Can. 1456 The judge and all who work in the tribunal are forbidden to accept any gifts on the occasion of a trial.

Can. 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 judgment; 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.


Can. 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.

Can. 1459 ▀1 Defects which can render the judgment 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.

Can. 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 nonécompetence 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 nonécompetent, a party who complains of being adversely affected can refer the matter within fifteen canonical days to the appeal tribunal.

Can. 1461 A judge who becomes aware at any stage of the case that he is absolutely nonécompetent, is bound to declare his nonécompetence.

Can. 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.

Can. 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.

Can. 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


Can. 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.

Can. 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.

Can. 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.


Can. 1468 As far as possible, the place where each tribunal sits is to be an established office which is open at stated times.

Can. 1469 ▀1 A judge who is forcibly expelled from his territory or prevented from exercising jurisdiction there, can exercise his jurisdiction and deliver judgment 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.


Can. 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.

Can. 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.

Can. 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.

Can. 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.

Can. 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.

Can. 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.



Can. 1476 Any person, baptized or unbaptized, can plead before a court. A person lawfully brought to trial must respond.

Can. 1477 Even though the plaintiff or the respondent has appointed a procurator or advocate, each is always bound to be present in person at the trial when the law or the judge so prescribes.

Can. 1478 ▀1 Minors and those who lack the use of reason can stand before the court only through their parents, guardians or curators, subject to the provisions of ▀3.

▀2 If the judge considers that the rights of minors are in conflict with the rights of the parents, guardians or curators, or that these cannot sufficiently protect the rights of the minors, the minors are to stand before the court through a guardian or curator assigned by the judge.

▀3 However, in cases concerning spiritual matters and matters linked with the spiritual, if the minors have the use of reason, they can plead and respond without the consent of parents or guardians; indeed, if they have completed their fourteenth year, they can stand before the court on their own behalf; otherwise, they do so through a curator appointed by the judge.

▀4 Those barred from the administration of their goods and those of infirm mind can themselves stand before the court only to respond concerning their own offences, or by order of the judge. In other matters they must plead and respond through their curators.

Can. 1479 A guardian or curator appointed by a civil authority can be admitted by an ecclesiastical judge, after he has consulted, if possible, the diocesan Bishop of the person to whom the guardian or curator has been given. If there is no such guardian or curator, or it is not seen fit to admit the one appointed, the judge is to appoint a guardian or curator for the case.

Can. 1480 ▀1 Judicial persons stand before the court through their lawful representatives.

▀2 In a case of absence or negligence of the representative, the Ordinary himself, either personally or through another, can stand before the court in the name of juridicial persons subject to his authority.


Can. 1481 ▀1 A party can freely appoint an advocate and procurator for him or herself. Apart from the cases stated in ▀▀2 and 3, however, a party can plead and respond personally, unless the judge considers the services of a procurator or advocate to be necessary.

▀2 In a penal trial the accused must always have an advocate, either appointed personally or allocated by the judge.

▀3 In a contentious trial which concerns minors or the public good, the judge is ex officio to appoint a legal representative for a party who lacks one; matrimonial cases are excepted.

Can. 1482 ▀1 A person can appoint only one procurator; the latter cannot appoint a substitute, unless this faculty has been expressly conceded.

▀2 If, however, several procurators have for a just reason been appointed by the same person, these are to be so designated that there is the right of prior claim among them.

▀3 Several advocates can, however, be appointed together.

Can. 1483 The procurator and advocate must have attained their majority and be of good repute. The advocate is also to be a catholic unless the diocesan Bishop permits otherwise, a doctor in canon law or otherwise well qualified, and approved by the same Bishop.

Can. 1484 ▀1 Prior to undertaking their office, the procurator and the advocate must deposit an authentic mandate with the tribunal.

▀2 To prevent the extinction of a right, however, the judge can admit a procurator even though a mandate has not been presented; in an appropriate case, a suitable guarantee is to be given. However, the act lacks all force if the procurator does not present a mandate within the peremptory time limit to be prescribed by the judge.

Can. 1485 Without a special mandate, a procurator cannot validly renounce a case, an instance or any judicial act; nor can a procurator settle an action, bargain, promise to abide by an arbitrator's award, or in general do anything for which the law requires a special mandate.

Can. 1486 ▀1 For the dismissal of a procurator or advocate to have effect, it must be notified to them and, if the joinder of the issue has taken place, the judge and the other party must be notified of the dismissal.

▀2 When a definitive judgment has been given, the right and duty to appeal lie with the procurator, unless the mandating party refuses.

Can. 1487 For a grave reason, the procurator and the advocate can be removed from office by a decree of the judge given either ex officio or at the request of the party.

Can. 1488 ▀1 Both the procurator and the advocate are forbidden to influence a suit by bribery, seek immoderate payment, or bargain with the successful party for a share of the matter in dispute. If they do so, any such agreement is invalid and they can be fined by the judge. Moreover, the advocate can be suspended from office and, if this is not a first offence, can be removed from the register of advocates by the Bishop in charge of the tribunal.

▀2 The same sanctions can be imposed on advocates and procurators who fraudulently exploit the law by withdrawing cases from tribunals which are competent, so that they may be judged more favorably by other tribunals.

Can. 1489 Advocates and procurators who betray their office because of gifts or promises, or any other consideration, are to be suspended from the exercise of their profession, and be fined or punished with other suitable penalties.

Can. 1490 As far as possible, permanent advocates and procurators are to be appointed in each tribunal and to receive a salary from the tribunal. They are to exercise their office, especially in matrimonial cases, for parties who may wish to choose them.



Can. 1491 Every right is reinforced not only by an action, unless otherwise expressly provided, but also by an exception.

Can. 1492 ▀1 Every action is extinguished by prescription in accordance with the law, or in any other lawful way, with the exception of actions bearing on personal status, which are never extinguished.

▀2 Without prejudice to the provision of can. 1462, an exception is always possible, and is of its nature perpetual.

Can. 1493 A plaintiff can bring several exceptions simultaneously against another person, concerning either the same matter or different matters, provided they are not in conflict with one another, and do not go beyond the competence of the tribunal that has been approached.

Can. 1494 ▀1 A respondent can institute a counter action against a plaintiff before the same judge and in the same trial, either by reason of the case's connection with the principal action, or with a view to removing or mitigating the plaintiff's plea.

▀2 A counter action to a counter action is not admitted.

Can. 1495 The counter action is to be proposed to the judge before whom the original action was initiated, even though he has been delegated for one case only, or is otherwise relatively nonécompetent.


Can. 1496 ▀1 A person who advances arguments, which are at least probable, to support a right to something held by another, and to indicate an imminent danger of loss of the object unless it is handed over for safekeeping, has a right to obtain from the judge the sequestration of the object in question.

▀2 In similar circumstances, a person can obtain a restraint on another person's exercise of a right.

Can. 1497 ▀1 The sequestration of an object is also allowed for the security of a loan, provided there is sufficient evidence of the creditor's right.

▀2 Sequestration can also extend to the assets of a debtor which, on whatever title, are in the keeping of others, as well as to the loans of the debtor.

Can. 1498 The sequestration of an object, and restraint on the exercise of a right, can in no way be decreed if the loss which is feared can be otherwise repaired, and a suitable guarantee is given that it will be repaired.

Can. 1499 The judge who grants the sequestration of an object, or the restraint on the exercise of a right, can first impose on the person to whom the grant is made an undertaking to repay any loss if the right is not proven.

Can. 1500 In matters concerning the nature and effect of an action for possession, the provisions of the civil law of the place where the thing to be possessed is situated, are to be observed.

FOOTNOTES 6 Translators' note: It would appear that this reference should read 'canon. 1713-1716'.

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