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Processes » Trials in General » Different Grades and Kinds of Tribunals » The tribunal of the first instance » The judge
Canon 1425. §1 The following matters are reserved to a collegiate tribunal of three judges, any contrary custom being reprobated:

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

2° 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 judgement 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.
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