» Trials in General
» The Competent Forum
The First See is judged by no one.
§1 In the cases mentioned in can. 1401,
the Roman Pontiff alone has the right to judge:
1° Heads of State;
3° Legates of the Apostolic See and, in penal cases, Bishops
4° other cases which he has reserved to himself.
§2 A judge cannot review an act or instrument which the RomanPontiff has specifically confirmed, except by his prior mandate.
§3 It is reserved to the Roman Rota to judge:
1° Bishops in contentious cases, without prejudice to can. 1419
2° the Abbot primate or the Abbot superior of a monastic congregation, and the supreme Moderator of a religious institute of pontifical right;
3° dioceses and other ecclesiastical persons, physical or juridical, which have no
Superior other than the Roman Pontiff.
§1 If the provision of can. 1404
is violated, the acts and decisions are invalid.
§2 In the cases mentioned in can. 1405,
the non-competence of other judges is absolute.
§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 can. 1408--1414
§2 The non-competence 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.
Anyone can be brought to trial before the tribunal of domicile or quasi-domicile.
§1 A person who has not even a quasi-domicile has a forum in the place of actual residence.
§2 A person whose domicile, quasi-domicile 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.
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.
§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.
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.
A party can be brought to trial:
1° in cases concerning administration, before the tribunal of the place in which the administration was exercised;
2° in cases concerning inheritances or pious legacies, before the tribunal of the last domicile or quasi-domicile or residence of the person whose inheritance or pious legacy is at issue, in accordance with the norms of can. 1408-1409
. If, however, only the execution of the legacy is involved, the ordinary norms of competence are to be followed.
Competence by reason of connection means that cases which are inter-connected can be heard by one and the same tribunal and in the same process, unless this is prevented by a provision of the law.
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.
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.
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