The judge can always question the parties to draw out the truth more effectively and indeed must do so at the request of a party or to prove a fact which the public interest requires to be placed beyond doubt.
§1. A party legitimately questioned must respond and must tell the whole truth.
§2. If a party refuses to respond, it is for the judge to decide what can be inferred from that refusal concerning the proof of the facts.
In cases where the public good is at stake, the judge is to administer an oath to the parties to tell the truth or at least to confirm the truth of what they have said unless a grave cause suggests otherwise; the same can be done in other cases according to the judge’s own prudence.
The parties, the promoter of justice, and the defender of the bond can present the judge with items about which the party is to be questioned.
The provisions of can. 1548,
§2, n. 1, 1552, and 1558-1565 concerning witnesses are to be observed to the extent possible when questioning the parties.
A judicial confession is the written or oral assertion of some fact against oneself before a competent judge by any party concerning the matter of the trial, whether made spontaneously or while being questioned by the judge.
§1. The judicial confession of one party relieves the other parties from the burden of proof if it concerns some private matter and the public good is not at stake.
§2. In cases which regard the public good, however, a judicial confession and declarations of the parties which are not confessions can have a probative force which the judge must evaluate together with the other circumstances of the case; the force of full proof cannot be attributed to them, however, unless other elements are present which thoroughly corroborate them.
After considering all the circumstances, it is for the judge to decide how much value must be accorded an extrajudicial confession introduced into the trial.
A confession or any other declaration of a party lacks any force if it is shown that it was made due to an error of fact or extorted by force or grave fear.
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