In any kind of trial, proof by means of both public and private documents is allowed.
§1. Public ecclesiastical documents are those which a public person has drawn up in the exercise of that person’s function in the Church, after the solemnities prescribed by law have been observed.
§2. Public civil documents are those which the laws of each place consider to be such.
§3. Other documents are private.
Unless contrary and evident arguments prove otherwise, public documents are to be trusted concerning everything which they directly and principally affirm.
A private document, whether acknowledged by a party or approved by the judge, has the same force of proof against the author or signatory and those deriving a case from them as an extrajudicial confession. It has the same force against those who are not parties to the case as declarations of the parties which are not confessions, according to the norm of can. 1536,
If the documents are shown to have been erased, emended, falsified, or otherwise defective, it is for the judge to decide what value, if any, must be afforded them.
Documents do not have probative force in a trial unless they are originals or authentic copies and deposited at the tribunal chancery so that the judge and the opposing party can examine them.
The judge can order a document common to both parties to be presented in the process.
§1. Even if documents are common, no one is bound to present those which cannot be communicated without danger of harm according to the norm of can. 1548,
§2, n. 2 or without danger of violating an obligation to observe secrecy.
§2. Nonetheless, if at least some small part of a document can be transcribed and presented in copy without the above-mentioned disadvantages, the judge can decree that it be produced.
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