» Trials in General
» The Parties in a Case
» The petitioner and the repsondent
Any person, baptised or unbaptised, can plead before a court. A person lawfully brought to trial must respond.
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.
§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.
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.
§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.
» Trials in General
» The Parties in a Case
» Procurators for litigation and advocates
§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.
§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.
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.
§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.
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.
§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 judgement has been given, the right and duty to appeal lie with the procurator, unless the mandating party refuses.
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.
§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 favourably by other tribunals.
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.
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.
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