THE PUBLICATION OF THE ACTS, THE CONCLUSION OF THE CASE, AND THE DISCUSSION OF THE CASE (Cann. 1598 – 1606)
Can. 1598 §1. After the proofs have been collected, the judge by a decree must permit the parties and their advocates, under penalty of nullity, to inspect at the tribunal chancery the acts not yet known to them; furthermore, a copy of the acts can also be given to advocates who request one. In cases pertaining to the public good to avoid a most grave danger the judge can decree that a specific act must be shown to no one; the judge is to take care, however, that the right of defense always remains intact.
- 2. To complete the proofs, the parties can propose additional proofs to the judge. When these proofs have been collected, it is again an occasion for the decree mentioned in §1 if the judge thinks it necessary.
Can. 1599 §1. When everything pertaining to the production of proofs has been completed, the conclusion of the case is reached.
- 2. This conclusion occurs whenever the parties declare that they have nothing else to add, the useful time prescribed by the judge to propose proofs has elapsed, or the judge declares that the case is instructed sufficiently.
- 3. The judge is to issue a decree that the case has reached its conclusion, in whatever manner it has occurred.
Can. 1600 §1. After the conclusion of the case, the judge can still summon the same or other witnesses or arrange for other proofs which were not requested earlier, only:
1/ in cases which concern the private good of the parties alone, if all the parties consent;
2/ in other cases, after the parties have been heard and provided that there is a grave reason and any danger of fraud or subornation is eliminated;
3/ in all cases whenever it is likely that the sentence will be unjust because of the reasons mentioned in ⇒ can. 1645, §2, nn. 1-3 unless the new proof is allowed.
- 2. The judge, moreover, can order or allow a document to be shown, which may have been unable to be shown earlier through no negligence of the interested person.
- 3. New proofs are to be published according to ⇒ can. 1598, §1.
Can. 1601 After the conclusion of the case, the judge is to determine a suitable period of time to present defense briefs or observations.
Can. 1602 §1. The defense briefs and the observations are to be written unless the judge, with the consent of the parties, considers a debate before a session of the tribunal to be sufficient.
- 2. To print the defense briefs along with the principal documents requires the previous permission of the judge, without prejudice to the obligation of secrecy, if such exists.
- 3. The regulations of the tribunal are to be observed regarding the length of the defense briefs, the number of copies, and other matters of this kind.
Can. 1603 §1. When the defense briefs and observations have been communicated to each party, either party is permitted to present responses within the brief time period established by the judge.
- 2. The parties are given this right only once unless the judge decides that it must be granted a second time for a grave cause; then, however, the grant made to one party is considered as given to the other also.
- 3. The promoter of justice and the defender of the bond have the right to reply a second time to the responses of the parties.
Can. 1604 §1. It is absolutely forbidden for information given to the judge by the parties, advocates, or even other persons to remain outside the acts of the case.
- 2. If the discussion of the case has been done in writing, the judge can order a moderate oral debate to be held before a session of the tribunal in order to explain certain questions.
Can. 1605 A notary is to be present at the oral debate mentioned in cann. ⇒ 1602, §1 and ⇒ 1604, §2 so that, if the judge orders it or a party requests it and the judge consents, the notary can immediately report in writing about what was discussed and concluded.
Can. 1606 If the parties have neglected to prepare a defense brief within the time available to them or have entrusted themselves to the knowledge and conscience of the judge, and if from the acts and proofs the judge considers the matter fully examined, the judge can pronounce the sentence immediately, after having requested the observations of the promoter of justice and the defender of the bond if they are involved in the trial.
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