Section I. The Ordinary Contentious Trial - Title IX. Res Iudicata and Restitutio in Integrum


Chapter I. Res iudicata

Can. 1641 Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1643, a res iudicata occurs:

1° if a second concordant sentence is rendered between the same parties over the same issue and on the same cause for petitioning;

2° if an appeal against the sentence has not been introduced within the useful time;

3° if at the appellate grade, the trial has been abated or renounced;

4° if a definitive sentence has been rendered from which there is no appeal according to the norm of can. 1629.

Can. 1642 §1. A res iudicata possesses the stability of law and cannot be challenged directly except according to the norm of can. 1645, §1.

§2. It establishes the rights between the parties and permits an action for execution and an exception of res iudicata which the judge can also declare ex officio in order to prevent a new introduction of the same case.

Can. 1643 Cases concerning the status of persons, including cases concerning the separation of spouses, never become res iudicata.

Can. 1644 §1. If a second concordant sentence has been rendered in a case concerning the status of persons, recourse can be made at any time to the appellate tribunal if new and grave proofs or arguments are brought forward within the peremptory time limit of thirty days from the proposed challenge. Within a month from when the new proofs and arguments are brought forward, however, the appellate tribunal must establish by decree whether a new presentation of the case must be admitted or not.

§2. Recourse to a higher tribunal in order to obtain a new presentation of the case does not suspend the execution of the sentence unless either the law provides otherwise or the appellate tribunal orders its suspension according to the norm of can. 1650, §3.

Chapter II. Restitutio in integrum

Can. 1645 §1. Restitutio in integrum is granted against a sentence which has become res iudicata provided that its injustice is clearly established.

§2. Injustice, however, is not considered to be established clearly unless:

1° the sentence is based on proofs which afterwards are discovered to be false in such a way that without those proofs the dispositive part of the sentence is not sustained;

2° documents have been revealed afterwards which undoubtedly prove new facts and demand a contrary decision;

3° the sentence was rendered due to the malice of one party resulting in harm to the other party;

4° a prescript of the law which is not merely procedural was clearly neglected;

5° the sentence is contrary to a previous decision which has become res iudicata.

Can. 1646 §1. Restitutio in integrum for the reasons mentioned in can. 1645, §2, nn. 1–3 must be sought from the judge who rendered the sentence within three months computed from the day the person became aware of these same reasons.

§2. Restitutio in integrum for the reasons mentioned in can. 1645 §2, nn. 4 and 5 must be sought from the appellate tribunal within three months from the notice of the publication of the sentence; if in the case mentioned in can. 1645, §2, n. 5 notice of the previous decision occurs later, however, the time limit runs from this notice.

§3. The time limits mentioned above do not run as long as the injured person is a minor.

Can. 1647 §1. The petition for restitutio in integrum suspends the execution of a sentence if execution has not yet begun.

§2. If from probable indications there is a suspicion that a petition has been made in order to delay the execution, however, the judge can decree execution of the sentence, though with suitable guarantees to the one seeking the restitutio that there will be indemnity if the restitutio in integrum is granted.

Can. 1648 If restitutio in integrum is granted, the judge must pronounce on the merits of the case.