Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, On appeal to a tribunal of the third instance after Mitis Iudex, Prot. No. 15264/2015, 12 January 2016.
PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR LEGISLATIVE TEXTS
Prot. N. 15264/2015
12 January 2016
In your letter of 17 December 2015, you asked the opinion of this Pontifical Council whether, in a case concerning a declaration of nullity of marriage, the petitioner can appeal to third instance, namely the Roman Rota, after an affirmative decision in first instance and a negative decision in second instance. The question has been examined by the Dicastery with the assistance of its own experts.
The m.p. Mitis Iudex on the reform of the process for the declaration of nullity of marriage has confirmed the prior discipline (cf. can. 1683 §3 CIC) according to which the Roman Rota remains the tribunal of third instance for the entire Church (cf. also can. 1444 §1, 2° CIC). If he considers it appropriate, the Bishop is nonetheless able to ask the Apostolic Signatura for the Pontifical Commission, as it is called, namely the entrustment of the case in third instance, for a just reasonable cause, to a different tribunal from the Roman Rota (cf. Art. 124 Pastor bonus and art. 115 Lex propria of the Apostolic Signatura). This possibility is now reinforced by the principles which inspired the above-mentioned reform of the matrimonial process in favour of the proximity of tribunals and of the greater involvement of the Bishop in judicial activity.
In the hope that my reply will be of use in the correct application of the m.p. Mitis Iudex, I extend to your Eminence my most sincere best wishes in Domino
+ Card. Francesco Coccopalmerio
+Juan Ignacio Arrieta
The date on the PCLT website says “2015,” rather than the correct “2016.”
Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, On appeal to a tribunal of the third instance after Mitis Iudex, Prot. No. 15264/2015, 12 January 2016. Translation by Alan McCormack. Italian original accessed 4 November 2018 at: http://www.delegumtextibus.va/content/dam/testilegislativi/risposte-particolari/Procedure%20per%20la%20Dichiarazione%20della%20Nullit%C3%A0%20matrimoniale/Circa%20l%27ulteriore%20appello%20al%20tribunale%20di%20terza%20istanza.pdf