Basic Law of the State of Vatican City

 Date: November 26, 2000.

Date of Enforcement: February 22, 2001

[ Acta Apostolicae Sedis , Supplement , 02.02.2001]

The new Basic Law of the Vatican City State of 26 November 2000, replacing the previous one – the first – issued on 7 June 1929 by Pope Pius XI of vm, entered into force on 22 February 2001, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter Apostle.

As well illustrated in the introduction of the new Law, the Supreme Pontiff has “taken note of the need to give systematic and organic form to the changes introduced at later stages in the juridical order of the Vatican City State” . With the aim, therefore, of ” making it always better suited to the institutional purposes of the same, which exists as a convenient guarantee of the freedom of the Apostolic See and as a means of ensuring the real and visible independence of the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his mission in the world” , of His Motu Proprio and certain science, with the fullness of His sovereign authority, he promulgated the following Law:

Art. 1

1. The Supreme Pontiff, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, has the full legislative, executive and judicial powers.

2. During the vacancy, the same powers belong to the College of Cardinals, which however may issue legislative provisions only in cases of urgency and with limited effectiveness for the duration of the holiday, unless they are confirmed by the Supreme Pontiff subsequently elected to norm of canon law.

Art. 2

The representation of the State in relations with foreign States and with other subjects of international law, for diplomatic relations and for the conclusion of treaties, is reserved to the Supreme Pontiff, who exercises it through the Secretariat of State.

Art. 3

1. Legislative power, except in cases where the Supreme Pontiff intends to reserve to himself or to other instances, is exercised by a Commission composed of a Cardinal President and other Cardinals, all appointed by the Supreme Pontiff for a five-year period.

2. In case of absence or impediment of the President, the Commission is presided over by the first of the Cardinals Members.

3. The meetings of the Commission are convened and presided over by the President and the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General participate in it, with an advisory vote.

Art. 4

1. The Commission exercises its power within the limits of the Law on the sources of law, according to the provisions indicated below and its own Regulations.

2. For the drafting of the bills, the Commission avails itself of the collaboration of the Councilors of the State, of other experts and of the Organizations of the Holy See and of the State that may be interested in them.

3. The bills are previously subjected, through the Secretariat of State, to the consideration of the Supreme Pontiff.

Art. 5

1. Executive power is exercised by the President of the Commission, in compliance with the present Law and with the other regulations in force.

2. In exercising this power, the President is assisted by the General Secretary and the Deputy Secretary General.

3. The matters of greatest importance are submitted by the President for consideration by the Commission.

Art. 6

In matters of greater importance we proceed together with the Secretariat of State.

Art. 7

1. The President of the Commission may issue Ordinances, implementing legislative and regulatory provisions.

2. In cases of urgent necessity, he may issue provisions with the force of law, which, however, lose their effectiveness if they are not confirmed by the Commission within ninety days.

3. The power to issue General Regulations remains reserved to the Commission.

Art. 8

1. Without prejudice to the provisions of Articles 1 and 2, the President of the Commission represents the State.

2. He can delegate legal representation to the Secretary General for ordinary administrative activities.

Art. 9

1. The Secretary General assists the President of the Commission in his duties. According to the modalities indicated in the Laws and under the direction of the President of the Commission, he:

a) supervises the application of the Laws and other regulatory provisions and the implementation of the decisions and directives of the President of the Commission;

b) supervises the administrative activity of the Governorate and coordinates the functions of the various Departments.

2. In case of absence or impediment it replaces the President of the Commission, except for the provisions of art. 7, n. 2.

Art. 10

1. The Deputy Secretary General, in agreement with the General Secretary, supervises the preparation and preparation of the deeds and correspondence and carries out the other functions attributed to him.

2. He replaces the General Secretary in case of his absence or impediment.

Art. 11

1. For the preparation and examination of the financial statements and other general affairs relating to the personnel and activities of the State, the President of the Commission is assisted by the Board of Directors, which he periodically convokes and presides over.

2. The Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General also take part in it.

Art. 12

The budget estimates and final accounts of the State, after approval by the Commission, are submitted to the Supreme Pontiff through the Secretariat of State.

Art. 13

1. The General Councilor and the Councilors of the State, appointed by the Supreme Pontiff for five years, lend their assistance in the elaboration of the Laws and in other matters of particular importance.

2. The Directors can be consulted both individually and collectively.

3. The General Councilor presides over the meetings of the Councilors; it also performs functions of coordination and representation of the State, according to the indications of the President of the Commission.

Art. 14

The President of the Commission, in addition to availing himself of the Supervisory Body, can request the assistance of the Pontifical Swiss Guard for security and police purposes.

Art. 15

1. The judiciary power is exercised, on behalf of the Supreme Pontiff, by the organs established according to the judiciary system of the State.

2. The jurisdiction of the individual bodies is regulated by law.

3. Jurisdictional acts must be performed within the territory of the State.

Art. 16

In any civil or criminal case and at any stage thereof, the Supreme Pontiff may defer its preliminary investigation and decision to a particular instance, even with the power to pronounce according to equity and with the exclusion of any further burden.

Art. 17

1. Without prejudice to the provisions of the following article, anyone considering a legitimate right or interest injured by an administrative act may appeal hierarchically or appeal to the competent judicial authority.

2. Hierarchical recourse precludes, in the same matter, judicial action, except that the Supreme Pontiff does not authorize it in the individual case.

Art. 18

1. Disputes relating to the employment relationship between State employees and the Administration are the responsibility of the Labor Office of the Apostolic See, in accordance with its own Statute.

2. Appeals against disciplinary measures against State employees may be brought before the Court of Appeal, according to its own rules.

Art. 19

The faculty to grant amnesties, pardons, amnesties and graces is reserved to the Supreme Pontiff.

Art. 20

1. The flag of the Vatican City State consists of two fields divided vertically, one yellow adhering to the auction and the other white, and carrying in the latter the tiara with the keys, all according to the model, which forms Annex A of this Law.

2. The emblem is constituted by the tiara with the keys, according to the model that forms the annex B of the present Law.

3. The seal of the State carries in the center the tiara with the keys and around the words “State of the Vatican City”, according to the model that forms the annex C of the present Law.

The present Basic Law fully replaces the Basic Law of the Vatican City, 7 June 1929, n. I. Likewise all the laws in force in the State in contrast with the present Law are repealed.

It will come into force February 22, 2001, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle.

We command that the original of the present Law, bearing the seal of the State, be deposited in the Archive of the Laws of the State of Vatican City, and that the corresponding text be published in the Supplement of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis by sending to anyone who is responsible to observe it and make her observe.

Date from Our Apostolic Palace Vatican the twenty-sixth of November two thousand, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, year XXIII of Our Pontificate.


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