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.
§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.
§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.
A judge who becomes aware at any stage of the case that he is absolutely non-competent, is bound to declare his non-competence.
§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.
§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.
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
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