The judicial Order Of The Vatican City State

LAW N. CCCLI

ON THE JUDICIAL ORDER OF THE VATICAN CITY STATE

March 16, 2020

FRANCIS

Administering justice is not just a temporal necessity. The cardinal virtue of justice, in fact, illuminates and summarizes the very purpose of the judiciary power proper to each State, to cultivate which, above all, the personal, generous and responsible commitment of those invested with the judicial function is essential. In addition to this, institutions and disciplines are needed that favor a timely and effective exercise.

For this reason, more than thirty years after my venerable predecessor Saint John Paul II wanted Law N. CXIX to be promulgated, approving the Judicial System of the Vatican City State , of 21 November 1987, I believe that the current historical and institutional context, significantly different from that of the time, requires a partial modification of the system.

Since then, many innovations have in fact occurred, even in the context of an order, such as the Vatican one, aimed at the government of a very small state and whose purpose is to support the Holy See and its mission. With the new millennium a process of revision of the institutions of the Vatican City State began and a progressive replacement of the initial laws of 1929 , contextual to its creation: in the year 2000 the new fundamental law of the State was adopted ; in 2008 the new law on the sources of law ; recently, in 2018, I also updated the law on the government of the Vatican City State, adapting it to the institutional and organizational needs that have occurred over the years.

In the last decade, moreover, the Vatican legal system has experienced a season of regulatory reforms in economic-financial and criminal matters, also as a consequence of the adherence to important international conventions.

In continuity with this work of progressive legislative updating and institutional reorganization, I now wish to introduce some changes to the structure of the judiciary, aimed at increasing its efficiency.

This reform continues to ensure the specificity of Vatican law, consisting of the particular purpose already mentioned above, reaffirmed in article 1 of Law No. LXXI on the sources of law , of 1 October 2008 , where it is stated that “The legal system the Vatican recognizes in the canonical order the first normative source and the first interpretative reference criterion ” . This is a fundamental and precious connection that I hope will be increasingly explored by the judicial bodies of this State, in order to express the potential underlying it and which the legal norm puts back to the work of the interpreter.

Now, therefore, having prepared the final drafting of the legislation in question and having considered it as a whole, Motu proprio resolution , certain science and Sovereign Authority, as established below, which must be observed in all its parts as State Law, despite anything to the contrary, even if worthy of particular mention.
 

TITLE I.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1
Judicial power )

Judicial power in the Vatican City State is exercised, in the name of the Supreme Pontiff, by the following bodies:

a) the court;
b) the court of appeal;
c) the court of cassation.

Article 2
Magistrates )

1. The magistrates report hierarchically to the Supreme Pontiff. In the exercise of their functions, they are subject only to the law.

2. Magistrates exercise their powers impartially, on the basis and within the limits of the competences established by law.

3. Magistrates lose their functions exclusively by sovereign will and for the causes of termination provided for by this law.

Article 3
Judicial police. Autonomy of expenditure )

1. The judicial authority has direct access to the judicial police, which it can also use for notification activities.

2. The judicial bodies enjoy autonomy of expenditure for their functioning, on the basis and within the limits of the accounting provisions in force in the State. The related charges weigh on the Governorate’s budget.

Article 4
Vatican citizenship )

Ordinary magistrates are during Vatican citizens’ munere .

Article 5
Oath )

Before assuming their functions, all magistrates, ordinary and applied, take an oath before the president of the court of cassation, according to the following formula: ” I swear to be faithful and obedient to the Supreme Pontiff, to fulfill the duties of my office and to keep the office secret ».
 

TITLE II

OF THE JUDICIAL BODIES OF FIRST DEGREE

Chapter I

Of the court

Article 6
Composition and functioning )

1. The tribunal is composed of the president and four other ordinary magistrates.

2. At least one of the ordinary magistrates of the court carries out his / her functions on a full-time basis, without having a subordinate employment relationship or carrying out free-professional activities of a continuous nature.

3. The court judges in a college of three magistrates, appointed by the president of the court taking into account their professional skills and the nature of the procedure.

4. n In cases involving the Most Eminent Cardinals and the Most Excellent Bishops, apart from the cases provided for by can. 1405 § 1, the tribunal judges with the consent of the Supreme Pontiff.

Article 7
Functions of the President )

1. Every year the president of the court assigns the functions of single judge, investigating judge, civil execution judge and criminal execution judge among ordinary magistrates.

2. The president of the court has the direction and management of the offices in which the court has its seat. He presides over the organization of the registry and has the registry staff and bailiffs, functionally dependent on him.

Chapter II

The appointment and treatment of magistrates

Article 8
Appointment )

1. Ordinary magistrates are appointed by the Supreme Pontiff, who designates each one in his own office.

2. Magistrates are preferably chosen from tenured or retired university professors, and in any case from well-known jurists who have acquired proven experience in the judicial or forensic, civil, criminal or administrative fields. In any case, the presence of at least one magistrate expert in canon and ecclesiastical law is guaranteed.

3. In the face of specific needs, one or more applied magistrates may be appointed for a three-year period and in compliance with the criteria referred to in the preceding paragraph.

4. The exercise of judicial functions is incompatible with the employment relationship employed by the Holy See and the Governorate.

5. The Secretariat of State, after having carried out the necessary checks on the personal qualities and competence of the candidates, submits the nomination proposal to the Supreme Pontiff.

Article 9
Obstruction )

1. In case of impediment of the president of the court, the ordinary magistrate of the court who is most senior by appointment or, in the event of a tie, by age, replaces him.

2. In case of impediment of the single judge, the investigating judge, the civil execution judge and the criminal execution judge, the president of the court will replace them with another ordinary judge of the court.

Article 10
Termination from office )

1. Ordinary magistrates at the end of the judicial year in which they reach their seventy-fifth year of age are required to resign, which takes effect upon acceptance by the Supreme Pontiff.

2. The Supreme Pontiff may in any case arrange for ordinary magistrates to remain in office beyond the limit referred to in the preceding paragraph.

3. In the event of resignation submitted before the term referred to in paragraph 1, acceptance by the Supreme Pontiff is required.

4. The Supreme Pontiff can dispense from service at any time, even temporarily, magistrates who, due to their ascertained incapacity, are unable to fulfill it.

n . Upon termination, ordinary magistrates retain all rights, assistance, social security and guarantees provided for the citizens.

Article 11
Economic treatment )

1. The salary of ordinary magistrates is established by the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State, also on the basis of any full-time regime.

2. An emolument is paid annually to the applied magistrates, to be determined by the president of the court, based on the activity actually carried out.

Chapter III

Of the office of the promoter of justice

Article 12
Composition, operation and treatment )

n . The office of the promoter of justice carries out the functions of public prosecutor and the others assigned to it by law in autonomy and independence, in the three levels of trial.

2. The office of the promoter of justice consists of the promoter of justice and two other ordinary magistrates, with the functions of adjunct promoters of justice. In any case, the presence of at least one magistrate expert in canon and ecclesiastical law is guaranteed.

3. At least one of the ordinary magistrates of the office of the promoter of justice carries out his / her functions on a full-time basis, without having subordinate employment relationships or carrying out free-professional activities on a continuous basis.

4. The promoter of justice and the adjunct promoters of justice are appointed pursuant to article 8 and the provisions of articles 9, 10, and 11 apply to them, insofar as they are compatible.

5. In the face of specific needs, one or more promoters of justice can be appointed, applied for a three-year period, in the manner and in compliance with the criteria referred to in article 8.

6. At least two full-time administrative staff are assigned to the office of the promoter of justice. Officers and judicial police officers can also be assigned to the same office.

7. The promoters of justice applied are paid annually an emolument, to be determined by the promoter of justice, based on the activity actually carried out.

Article 13
Functions of the promoter of justice )

1. The promoter of justice is responsible for the direction and management of the office, the assignment of proceedings and the coordination of the appointed magistrates.

2. The promoter of justice presides over the organization and has the administrative staff, functionally dependent on him.

3. The promoter of justice functionally disposes of the judicial police section of the Gendarmerie Corps.


TITLE III

OF THE COURT OF APPEAL

Article 14
Composition and functioning )

1. The court of appeal is made up of the president and at least three ordinary judges, appointed by the Supreme Pontiff for a five-year term, on the basis of the provisions of article 8.

2. In the face of specific needs, one or more judges may be appointed, for a three-year period, in the manner and in compliance with the criteria referred to in article 8.

3. The court of appeal judges in a college of three magistrates, appointed by the president of the court of appeal, taking into account their professional skills and the nature of the procedure.

4. The seat of the court of appeal is at the seat of the court.

Article 15
Promoter of justice )

n . In appeals, the functions of public prosecutor are exercised by a magistrate of the office of the promoter of justice, designated pursuant to article 13, paragraph 1.

Article 16
Obstruction )

1. In case of impediment of the president of the court of appeal, the most senior ordinary judge of the court of appeal replaces him by appointment or, in the event of a tie, by age.

2. In case of impediment of an ordinary magistrate, the president of the appellate court will replace him with another ordinary magistrate of the appellate court.

Article 17
Termination from office )

1. Ordinary magistrates at the end of the judicial year in which they reach their seventy-fifth year of age are required to resign, which takes effect upon acceptance by the Supreme Pontiff.

2. The Supreme Pontiff may in any case arrange for ordinary magistrates to remain in office beyond the limit referred to in the preceding paragraph.

3. In the event of resignation submitted before the term referred to in paragraph 1, acceptance by the Supreme Pontiff is required.

4. The Supreme Pontiff can dispense from service at any time, even temporarily, magistrates who, due to their ascertained incapacity, are unable to fulfill it.

Article 18
Economic treatment )

1. The ordinary magistrates of the court of appeal are paid an emolument to be determined at the end of each judicial year by the president of the court of cassation.

2. Applied judges are paid annually an emolument, to be determined by the president of the court of appeal, based on the activity actually carried out.

TITLE IV

OF THE COURT OF CASSATION

Article 19
Composition and functioning )

1. The Court of Cassation is constituted by the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, who assumes the functions of president, by two other Cardinals members of the same Supreme Tribunal, designated by the president for a three-year period, as well as by two or more applied judges, appointed for a three-year period, in the manner and in compliance with the criteria referred to in Article 8.

2. The Court of Cassation ordinarily judges in a college constituted by the Cardinal Judges. However, if it is required by the complexity of the dispute or reasons of expediency arise, the president of the court of cassation may establish that the proceeding be dealt with and decided in a college, supplemented by two applied judges that he chooses from those already appointed pursuant to the previous paragraph. .

3. The seat of the court of cassation is at the seat of the court.

Article 20
Promoter of justice )

n . In cassation judgments the functions of public prosecutor are exercised by a magistrate of the office of the promoter of justice, designated pursuant to article 13, paragraph 1.

Article 21
Obstruction )

1. In case of impediment of the president of the court of cassation, he is replaced by the cardinal member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, who is a member of the court of cassation and who is older by appointment or, in case of equality, by age.

2. If a judge is unable to attend, the president of the court of cassation replaces him with another member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

Article 22
Termination of office )

1. The Cardinal Judges at the end of the judicial year in which they reach the eightieth birthday are required to resign, which takes effect upon acceptance by the Supreme Pontiff.

2. The Supreme Pontiff can in any case arrange for the Cardinal Judges to remain in office beyond the limit referred to in the preceding paragraph.

3. In the event of resignation submitted before the term referred to in paragraph 1, acceptance by the Supreme Pontiff is required.

4. The Supreme Pontiff can dispense from service at any time, even temporarily, magistrates who, due to their ascertained incapacity, are unable to fulfill it.

Article 23
Economic treatment )

At the end of each judicial year, the judges of the court of cassation and the promoter of justice are paid an emolument, to be determined by the president of the same court, based on the activity actually carried out.

TITLE V

OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

Article 25
Staff and functions )

1. The judicial offices are assigned an actuary notary with the functions of chancellor, an alternate actuary notary with the functions of vice chancellor and at least two judicial officers.

2. The Chancellor, Deputy Chancellor, Bailiffs and Administrative Staff of the Office of the Promoter of Justice are members of the Governorate’s staff. The rules on labor provided for the staff of the Governorate apply to the aforementioned personnel.

3. The selection of personnel referred to in the preceding paragraphs takes place in accordance with the General Staff Regulations of the Governorate, after having heard the president of the court and the promoter of justice respectively.

4. The administrative staff, in addition to taking an oath in accordance with the General Staff Regulations of the Governorate, before taking up their duties also take an oath before the president of the court, according to the formula established by article 5.

TITLE VI

OF LAWYERS

Article 26
Requirements for registration in the register )

1. The right of defense is inviolable in every state and grade of the procedure.

2. The defense of cases before the judicial authority can be assumed by lawyers who are registered in the register held by the chancellor under the supervision of the president of the court, who determines, with his own provisions, the registration in the register and the rates professional.

3. The following can be enrolled in the register of lawyers:

– lawyers registered in the register of lawyers of the Roman Rota, who are registered in the Bar Association in the State of residence;

– lawyers qualified to practice in the higher courts of the State of residence, subject to the authorization of the Secretary of State.

4. Proven knowledge of canon law and Vatican law is required for registration on the register .

5. In exceptional cases, the president of the court of appeal may, for individual reasons, authorize persons not registered in the register to act as lawyers or attorneys.

6. The defense before the court of cassation is reserved to the lawyers of the Holy See or to the lawyers registered in the register of lawyers at the Roman Curia. The president of the court of cassation may authorize, either permanently or from time to time, other persons to defend cases before the court itself.

Article 27
Defense of administrations )

With the mandate of the hierarchical superior, the heads of the offices of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, of other bodies and entities dependent on the Holy See and of the Governorate, can defend their respective administrations before the judicial authorities of all levels.

Article 28
Disciplinary measures )

1. The following disciplinary sanctions may be imposed on lawyers practicing in the judicial bodies of the State:

a) warning;
b) censorship;
c) suspension;
d) radiation.

2. The imposition of a disciplinary sanction is ordered, based on the seriousness of the fact, in cases of incorrect behavior and attitudes that the lawyer has assumed to the detriment of the judicial bodies, colleagues, the assisted party, the counterparty or witnesses , experts or consultants.

3. Disciplinary action is initiated by the promoter of justice at the court of cassation, to which reports of offenses can be addressed.

4. Disciplinary judgment is the exclusive competence of the Court of Cassation, which proceeds after having assured the accused the right to defend himself also through the deposit of briefs, deeds and documents. The hearing of the accused person who requests it is always prepared.

TITLE VII

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 29
(Judicial year)

The judicial year begins on January 1st.

Article 30
Repeals )

Law N. CXIX on the judicial system of the Vatican City State of 21 November 1987 and subsequent amendments and additions is repealed .

Article 31
Entry into force )

This law enters into force one month after its publication.

I arrange that the original of this law, bearing the seal of the State, be deposited in the Archive of the laws of the Vatican City State and that the corresponding text be published first in the daily L’Osservatore Romano , then in the Supplement of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis , sending himself to whoever is responsible to observe it and have it observed.

From the Vatican, 13 March 2020, the eighth of our Pontificate.

Francis


Foot Notes

n : Indicates that the text matches the new version.
 

Cf. Apostolic Letter in the form of a “Motu Proprio” of the Supreme Pontiff Francis containing changes in matters of justice , 8 February 2021

Original redaction of the articles modified by His Holiness Pope Francis :

Article 12
Composition, operation and treatment )

1. The office of the promoter of justice carries out the functions of public prosecutor and the others assigned to it by law in autonomy and independence.

Article 15
Promoter of justice )

1. In appeals, the functions of public prosecutor are exercised, with the rank of ordinary magistrate, by a promoter of justice, appointed by the Supreme Pontiff for a five-year term, on the basis of the provisions of article 8.

Article 20
Promoter of justice )

1. In cassation judgments the functions of public prosecutor are exercised by a promoter of justice appointed by the president for a five-year period, preferably from among the referendums of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, or, outside, with the prior authorization of the Secretary of State.

* * *

Cf. Apostolic Letter in the form of a “Motu Proprio” from the Supreme Pontiff Francis containing changes regarding the jurisdiction of the judicial bodies of the Vatican City State , 30 April 2021

Article repealed by His Holiness Pope Francis:

Article 24
Reservation of jurisdiction )

The Court of Cassation alone is competent to judge, with the consent of the Supreme Pontiff, the Most Eminent Cardinals and the Most Excellent Bishops in criminal cases, except for the cases provided for by canon 1405, § 1 of the Codex Iuris Canonici .


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