- Posted by Mary's Advocates
- On August 27, 2016
- annulment, catholic, divorce
Name Judge First Instance
I received your letter dated XX Month 20xx in which you informed me that the tribunal made an affirmative decision in the case questioning the validity of my marriage. Please send me my own copy of the full definitive sentence as described in canon 1614, 1615 and 1509. Unless I have my own copy, the sentence has no force.
Canon 1614. The sentence is to be published as soon as possible, with an indication of the means by which it can be challenged. It has no force before publication even if the dispositive part was made known to the parties with the permission of the judge.
Canon 1615. Publication or communication of the sentence can be done either by giving a copy of the sentence to the parties or their procurators or by sending them a copy according to the norm of can. 1509.
Canon 1509 §1. The notification of citations, decrees, sentences, and other judicial acts must be made through the public postal services or by some other very secure method according to the norms established in particular law.
§2. The fact of notification and its method must be evident in the acts.
The importance of providing me with my own copy of the definitive sentence was described by an Msgr. Grzegorz Erlebach, Auditor of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota (1). His Rota sentence issued on 30 March 2006, published in English described this requirement. Furthermore he taught about it for Studies on the Instruction Dignitas Connubii, 19 January 2006:
2.1.2 Secondly, the sentence must be published, or more precisely, must be communicated to the parties by giving or sending a copy of the sentence (art. 258, § 1). This is true also for those countries in which the judges are hesitant about giving a complete copy of the sentence for fear that it might be used improperly, especially in the civil sphere, or worse, as part of a penal case before a civil court. I hold that in such cases, instead of usingprætor legum [beyond the law] ways (as to invite the parties to read the sentence in the tribunal offices, in front of an official who can grant the needed explanations), it is needed to follow the law in force, applying some measures in the drafting of the sentence. In fact, article 254, § 2 admonishes that the revelation of the facts, inasmuch as it is required by the nature of the question, must be done with prudence and caution, avoiding any offense to the parties, to the witnesses, etc. For the rest, if it would be an odious thing, it is not necessary to refer to the names of the witnesses: it is sufficient, in such cases, to summarize the proofs with precise references to places in the acts (specifying the page, and when possible, the internal number). It is important that from the reason (motivation) of the sentence results the foundation whether in iure [in law] or in facto [in fact] of the dispositive part, or more precisely, that it should be clear that the judges have reached the decision by some logical path (art. 254, § 1).” ((2) Erlebach, page 127)
(1) Decree c. Erlebach. 30 March 2006 (USA); Prot. No. 19.600. English trans. by Rev. Augustine Mendonça, JCD. Translated and published with permission of the Dean of the Roman Rota.
“Failure to Publish the Sentence/Irremediable Nullity of the Confirmatory Decree (can. 1620, 7°, DC art. 270, 7°).” STUDIES IN CHURCH LAW, Bangalore, India. Volume VIII (2012): pp 373-398.
(2) Erlebach, Grzegorz. “The Challenge of the Sentence and the Transmission of the Cause Ex Officio to the Appeal Tribunal.” Studies on the Instruction Dignitas Connubii, Patricia M. DUGAN and Luis NAVARRO (Editors), Proceedings, Gratianus Series, Montréal, Wilson & Lafleur Ltée, 2006, pages 115-139.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
If that Doesn’t Work, Write to Tribunal of Appeal,
Name Judge Tribunal of Appeal
In accordance with Dignitas Connubii Article 285 §2, I am making known to you (the appellate judge) the obstacle that I face and ask you to oblige the judge of first instance a quo to carry out his duty as soon as possible and provide me a copy of the complete sentence in nullity of marriage case (cf can. 1634, § 1). On XX Month 20xx, I received the attached letter showing only the dispositive part of the sentence. On XX Month 20xx, I wrote to the judge asking for my own copy, however it has not been provided to me.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Judge First Instance