Title IV. The Parties in a Case
Chapter I. The Petitioner and the Respondent
Can. 1476 Anyone, whether baptized or not, can bring action in a trial; however, a party legitimately summoned must respond.
Can. 1477 Even if the petitioner or respondent has appointed a procurator or advocate, they themselves are nevertheless always bound to be present at the trial according to the prescript of the law or of the judge.
Can. 1478 §1. Minors and those who lack the use of reason can stand trial only through their parents, guardians, or curators, without prejudice to the prescript of §3.
§2. If the judge thinks that the rights of minors are in conflict with the rights of the parents, guardians, or curators or that the latter cannot adequately protect the rights of the former, then the minors are to stand trial through a guardian or curator appointed by the judge.
§3. Nevertheless, in spiritual cases and those connected with spiritual matters, if the minors have attained the use of reason, they can petition and respond without the consent of their parents or guardian. They can do so personally if they have completed their fourteenth year of age; otherwise, they do so through the curator appointed by the judge.
§4. Those deprived of the administration of goods and those of diminished mental capacity can stand trial personally only to answer for their own delicts or at the order of the judge; otherwise, they must petition and respond through their curators.
Can. 1479 Whenever a guardian or curator appointed by civil authority is present, the ecclesiastical judge can admit the guardian or curator after having heard, if possible, the diocesan bishop of the person to whom the guardian or curator was given; if the guardian or curator is not present or does not seem admissible, the judge will appoint a guardian or curator for the case.
Can. 1480 §1. Juridic persons stand trial through their legitimate representatives.
§2. In a case of the lack of or negligence of the representative, however, the ordinary himself can stand trial personally or through another in the name of juridic persons subject to his authority.
Chapter II. Procurators for Litigation and Advocates
Can. 1481 §1. A party can freely appoint an advocate and procurator; except for the cases established in §§2 and 3, however, the party can also petition and respond personally unless the judge has decided that the services of a procurator or advocate are necessary.
§2. In a penal trial, the accused must always have an advocate either appointed personally or assigned by the judge.
§3. In a contentious trial which involves minors or in a trial which affects the public good, with the exception of marriage cases, the judge is to appoint ex officio a defender for a party who does not have one.
Can. 1482 §1. A person can appoint only one procurator who cannot substitute another unless the procurator has been given the expressed faculty to do so.
§2. If a person appoints several procurators for a just cause, however, they are to be designated in such a way that prevention is operative among them.
§3. Nevertheless, several advocates can be appointed together.
Can. 1483 The procurator and advocate must have attained the age of majority and be of good reputation; moreover, the advocate must be a Catholic unless the diocesan bishop permits otherwise, a doctor in canon law or otherwise truly expert, and approved by the same bishop.
Can. 1484 §1. Before the procurator and advocate undertake their function, they must present an authentic mandate to the tribunal.
§2. To prevent the extinction of a right, however, the judge can admit a procurator even if the mandate has not been presented, once a suitable guarantee has been furnished if the case warrants it; the act, however, lacks any force if the procurator does not correctly present the mandate within the peremptory time established by the judge.
Can. 1485 Without a special mandate, a procurator cannot validly renounce an action, an instance, or judicial acts nor come to an agreement, make a bargain, enter into arbitration, or in general do those things for which the law requires a special mandate.
Can. 1486 §1. For the removal of a procurator or advocate to take effect, they must be informed; if the issue has already been joined, the judge and the opposing party must also be informed about the removal.
§2. After the definitive sentence has been issued, the right and duty to appeal, if the mandating person does not refuse, remains with the procurator.
Can. 1487 For a grave cause, the judge either ex officio or at the request of the party can remove the procurator and the advocate by decree.
Can. 1488 §1. Both the procurator and the advocate are forbidden to resolve the litigation by bribery or to make an agreement for an excessive profit or for a share in the object in dispute. If they do so, the agreement is null, and the judge can fine them. Moreover, the bishop who presides over the tribunal can suspend the advocate from office and even remove him or her from the list of advocates if it happens again.
§2. Advocates and procurators can be punished in the same way if in deceit of the law they withdraw cases from competent tribunals so that the cases will be decided more favorably by other tribunals.
Can. 1489 Advocates and procurators who betray their office for gifts, promises, or any other reason are to be suspended from the exercise of legal assistance and punished with a fine or other suitable penalties.
Can. 1490 As far as possible, legal representatives are to be appointed in a stable manner in each tribunal, who receive a stipend from the tribunal and are to exercise, especially in marriage cases, the function of advocate or procurator on behalf of parties who wish to select them.