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Processes » The Contentious Trial » The Ordinary Contentious Trial » Proofs » Proof through documents » The nature and trustworthiness of documents
Canon 1540. §1 Public ecclesiastical documents are those which an official person draws up in the exercise of his or her function in the Church and in which the formalities required by law have been observed.

§2 Public civil documents are those which are legally regarded as such in accordance with the laws of each place.

§3 All other documents are private.
Canon 1541. Unless it is otherwise established by contrary and clear arguments, public documents constitute acceptable evidence of those matters which are directly and principally affirmed in them.
Canon 1542. A private document, whether acknowledged by a party or admitted by a judge, has the same probative force as an extra-judicial confession, against its author or the person who has signed it and against persons whose case rests on that of the author or signatory. Against others it has the same force as have declarations by the parties which are not confessions, in accordance with can. 1536 §2.
Canon 1543. If documents are shown to have been erased, amended, falsified or otherwise tampered with, it is for the judge to evaluate to what extent, if any, they are to be given credence.

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