§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.
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