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The Reform of the Process of the Canonical Marriage Annulment

On December 8 2015 a reform was aprooved by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter: Motu Proprio Iudez Mitis and Mitis et Dominus Iesus Iesus misericors.

These two papal documents, carry the reform annulment of the Code of Canonical Law, both of the Latin Church (repeal of the canons 1671-1691) and the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome.

cura con crucifijo

The “Motu Proprio” is a universal law that enacts Pontifical Pope and entered into force major developments, which point out below:

  • Facilitation of jurisdiction: At the time of filing an application for a declaration of nullity of marriage, in order to respond to the problems presented by globalization, being able to choose freely between:
  1. Diocese of the wedding.
  2. Home of the actor or Plaintiff.
  3. Where most of the proof is.
  • Establishment of a short process: The ecclesiastical judge will decide whether the issue is resolved as ordinary or as an abbreviated process, in the latter case it is sufficient that the reasons set out in Regulation argue. If both parties are satisfied with the handling of summary proceedings, after testing the judge he will pass the diocesan bishop the teaser for it personally delivered judgment (although it may entrust to own judge). As we can see the role of Bishops is most important because from now the Bishop not completely delegate the responsibility of the judiciary role in the offices of the curia.
  • Abolition of mandatory affirmative confirmation of the first sentence of the declaration of invalidity: Until now it was needed a favorable ruling in the first instance and for it to be upheld in the appeal, as established by Pope Benedict XIV (XVIII century). From now on – will benefit the judgments handed down at first instance, according to the canons 1630-1633, since its entry into force, although the process had begun earlier – is not accurate confirmation on appeal of the judgment affirmative first instance, being able to go to the Court of appeal in cases of appeal, as stated in the papal document Dominus Iesus Iudez Mitis, being a judgment signed by a single judge under the responsibility of the bishop.
  • Gratuity: Pope Francisco has the episcopal conferences must ensure that you process can be free. That is, the diocesan bishop is responsible to fix or remove court fees, but there are other costs that do not depend on court fees (lawyers or experts) and must analyze how each diocese applies gratuity.
  • Full Proof: As a novelty it should also be mentioned the possibility of declaring a single qualified witness who can provide the full evidence in the case.
  • Composition of the Court: This is another significant change, because with the new reform will consist of three members without the obligation to belong entirely to the clergy, and clergy may have two advisers.

When can we appeal? When one of the parties does not agree with the judgment or the defender of the bond if it considers that the judgment is unfair or wrong, may the deadline to submit an appeal with the Court of Appeal.

For processes judged primarily by the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Barcelona, ​​the Court of Appeal is the Rota of the Apostolic Nunciature in Madrid.

For processes judged primarily by the ecclesiastical courts of the Diocese of Sant Feliu de Llobregat or Terrace, the Court of Appeal is the Ecclesiastical Tribunal and Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Barcelona.

PDF attachment of the Apostolic Letter of the Pope.

Sara Benjelali

Cast lawyer attached to the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Barcelona.

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