Section I. The Ordinary Contentious Trial - Title VII. The Pronouncements of the Judge
Can. 1607 When a case has been handled in a judicial manner, if it is the principal case, the judge decides it through the definitive sentence; if an incidental case, through an interlocutory sentence, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1589, §1.
Can. 1608 §1. For the pronouncement of any sentence, the judge must have moral certitude about the matter to be decided by the sentence.
§2. The judge must derive this certitude from the acts and the proofs.
§3. The judge, however, must appraise the proofs according to the judge’s own conscience, without prejudice to the prescripts of law concerning the efficacy of certain proofs.
§4. A judge who was not able to arrive at this certitude is to pronounce that the right of the petitioner is not established and is to dismiss the respondent as absolved, unless it concerns a case which has the favor of law, in which case the judge must pronounce for that.
Can. 1609 §1. In a collegiate tribunal the president of the college is to establish the date and time when the judges are to convene for deliberation; unless a special reason suggests otherwise, the meeting is to be held at the tribunal office.
§2. On the date assigned for the meeting, the individual judges are to submit their written conclusions on the merit of the case with the reasons in law and in fact which led them to their conclusions; these conclusions are to be added to the acts of the case and must be kept secret.
§3. After the invocation of the Divine Name, the individual judges are to present their conclusions in order of precedence, always beginning, however, with the ponens or relator of the case. A discussion then follows under the leadership of the tribunal president, especially to determine what must be established in the dispositive part of the sentence.
§4. In the discussion each judge is permitted to withdraw from his or her original conclusion. The judge who is unwilling to assent to the decision of the others, however, can demand that his or her conclusions be transmitted to the higher tribunal if an appeal is made.
§5. If the judges are unwilling or unable to arrive at a sentence during the first discussion, the decision can be deferred to a new meeting, but not for more than a week, unless the instruction of the case must be completed according to the norm of can. 1600.
Can. 1610 §1. If there is only one judge, he will write the sentence himself.
§2. In a collegiate tribunal, it is for the ponens or relator to write the sentence, selecting the reasons from those the individual judges brought forth during the discussion, unless a majority of the judges have already determined the reasons to be presented. The sentence must then be submitted for the approval of the individual judges.
§3. The sentence must be issued no more than a month from the day on which the case was decided unless in a collegiate tribunal the judges set a longer period for a grave reason.
Can. 1611 The sentence must:
1° decide the controversy deliberated before the tribunal with an appropriate response given to the individual doubts;
2° determine what obligations have arisen for the parties from the trial and how they must be fulfilled;
3° set forth the reasons or motives in law and in fact on which the dispositive part of the sentence is based;
4° determine the expenses of the litigation.
Can. 1612 §1. After the invocation of the Divine Name, the sentence must express in order the judge or the tribunal, the petitioner, the respondent, and the procurator, with their names and domiciles correctly designated, and the promoter of justice and defender of the bond if they took part in the trial.
§2. Next, it must briefly relate the facts together with the conclusions of the parties and the formula of the doubts.
§3. The dispositive part of the sentence follows the above, preceded by the reasons on which it is based.
§4. It is to conclude with the indication of the date and the place where it was rendered, with the signature of the judge or, if it is a collegiate tribunal, of all the judges, and the notary.
Can. 1613 The rules proposed above for a definitive sentence are to be adapted for an interlocutory sentence.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 1616 §1. If in the text of the sentence an error in calculations turns up, a material error occurs in transcribing the dispositive section or in relating the facts or the petitions of the parties, or the requirements of can. 1612, §4 are omitted, the tribunal which rendered the sentence must correct or complete it either at the request of a party or ex officio, but always after the parties have been heard and a decree appended to the bottom of the sentence.
§2. If any party objects, the incidental question is to be decided by a decree.
Can. 1617 Other pronouncements of the judge besides the sentence are decrees, which have no force if they are not merely procedural unless they express the reasons at least in a summary fashion or refer to reasons expressed in another act.
Can. 1618 An interlocutory sentence or a decree has the force of a definitive sentence if it prevents a trial or puts an end to a trial or some grade of a trial with respect to at least some party in the case.