Section I. The Ordinary Contentious Trial - Title VIII. Challenge of the Sentence
Chapter I. Complaint of Nullity against the Sentence
Can. 1619 Without prejudice to cann. 1622 and 1623, whenever a case involves the good of private persons, the sentence itself sanates the nullities of acts established by positive law which were not declared to the judge before the sentence even though they were known to the party proposing the complaint.
Can. 1620 A sentence suffers from the defect of irremediable nullity if:
1° it was rendered by an absolutely incompetent judge;
2° it was rendered by a person who lacks the power of judging in the tribunal in which the case was decided;
3° a judge rendered a sentence coerced by force or grave fear;
4° the trial took place without the judicial petition mentioned in can. 1501 or was not instituted against some respondent;
5° it was rendered between parties, at least one of whom did not have standing in the trial;
6° someone acted in the name of another without a legitimate mandate;
7° the right of defense was denied to one or the other party;
8° it did not decide the controversy even partially.
Can. 1621 The complaint of nullity mentioned in can. 1620 can be proposed by way of exception in perpetuity and also by way of action before the judge who rendered the sentence within ten years from the date of the publication of the sentence.
Can. 1622 A sentence suffers from the defect of remediable nullity only if:
1° it was rendered by an illegitimate number of judges contrary to the prescript of can. 1425, §1;
2° it does not contain the motives or reasons for the decision;
3° it lacks the signatures prescribed by law;
4° it does not indicate the year, month, day, and place in which it was rendered;
5° it is based on a null judicial act whose nullity was not sanated according to the norm of can. 1619;
6° it was rendered against a party legitimately absent according to can. 1593, §2.
Can. 1623 A complaint of nullity in the cases mentioned in can. 1622 can be proposed within three months from the notice of the publication of the sentence.
Can. 1624 The judge who rendered the sentence deals with the complaint of nullity. If the party fears that the judge who rendered the sentence challenged by the complaint of nullity is prejudiced and therefore considers the judge suspect, the party can demand that another judge be substituted according to the norm of can. 1450.
Can. 1625 A complaint of nullity can be proposed together with an appeal within the time established for an appeal.
Can. 1626 §1. Not only the parties who consider themselves aggrieved can introduce a complaint of nullity but also the promoter of justice and the defender of the bond whenever they have the right to intervene.
§2. The judge can retract or emend ex officio a null sentence, which that judge has rendered, within the time limit for acting established by can. 1623 unless an appeal together with a complaint of nullity has been introduced in the meantime or the nullity has been sanated through the expiration of the time limit mentioned in can. 1623.
Can. 1627 Cases concerning a complaint of nullity can be treated according to the norms for the oral contentious process.
Chapter II. Appeal
Can. 1628 A party who considers himself or herself aggrieved by any sentence as well as the promoter of justice and the defender of the bond in cases which require their presence have the right to appeal the sentence to a higher judge, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1629.
Can. 1629 There is no appeal:
1° from a sentence of the Supreme Pontiff himself or the Apostolic Signatura;
2° from a sentence tainted by a defect of nullity, unless the appeal is joined with a complaint of nullity according to the norm of can. 1625;
3° from a sentence which has become a res iudicata;
4° from a decree of a judge or from an interlocutory sentence which does not have the force of a definitive sentence, unless it is joined with an appeal from a definitive sentence;
5° from a sentence or a decree in a case where the law requires the matter to be decided as promptly as possible (expeditissime).
Can. 1630 §1. An appeal must be introduced before the judge who rendered the sentence within the peremptory period of fifteen useful days from the notice of the publication of the sentence.
§2. If an appeal is made orally, the notary is to put it in writing in the presence of the appellant.
Can. 1631 If a question arises about the right to appeal, the appellate tribunal deals with it as promptly as possible (expeditissime) according to the norms of the oral contentious process.
Can. 1632 §1. If the appeal does not indicate the tribunal to which it is directed, it is presumed to be made to the tribunal mentioned in cann. 1438 and 1439.
§2. If the other party has appealed to another appellate tribunal, the tribunal of higher grade deals with the case, without prejudice to can. 1415.
Can. 1633 An appeal must be pursued before the appellate judge within a month from its introduction unless the judge from whom appeal is made has established a longer period for a party to pursue it.
Can. 1634 §1. To pursue an appeal it is required and suffices that a party calls upon the services of a higher judge for an emendation of the challenged sentence, attaches a copy of this sentence, and indicates the reasons for the appeal.
§2. If a party cannot obtain a copy of the challenged sentence from the tribunal from which appeal is made within the useful time, the time limits do not run in the meantime; the impediment must be made known to the appellate judge who is to bind the judge from whom appeal is made by a precept to fulfill that judge’s duty as soon as possible.
§3. Meanwhile the judge from whom appeal is made must transmit the acts to the appellate judge according to the norm of can. 1474.
Can. 1635 Once the deadline for appeal has passed without action either before the judge from whom the appeal is made or before the appellate judge, the appeal is considered abandoned.
Can. 1636 §1. The appellant can renounce the appeal with the effects mentioned in can. 1525.
§2. If the defender of the bond or the promoter of justice has introduced the appeal, the defender of the bond or the promoter of justice of the appellate tribunal can renounce it, unless the law provides otherwise.
Can. 1637 §1. An appeal made by the petitioner also benefits the respondent and vice versa.
§2. If there are several respondents or petitioners and the sentence is challenged by only one or against only one of them, the challenge is considered to be made by all of them and against all of them whenever the matter sought is indivisible or a joint obligation.
§3. If one party introduces an appeal against one ground of the sentence, the other party can appeal incidentally against other grounds within the peremptory period of fifteen days from the day on which the original appeal was made known to the latter, even if the deadline for an appeal has passed.
§4. Unless it is otherwise evident, an appeal is presumed to be made against all the grounds of a sentence.
Can. 1638 An appeal suspends the execution of the sentence.
Can. 1639 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1683, a new cause for petitioning cannot be admitted at the appellate grade, not even by way of useful accumulation; consequently, the joinder of the issue can only address whether the prior sentence is to be confirmed or revised either totally or partially.
§2. New proofs, however, are admitted only according to the norm of can. 1600.
Can. 1640 The appellate grade must proceed in the same manner as first instance with appropriate adjustments; immediately after the issue has been joined according to the norm of can. 1513, §1 and can. 1639, §1 and unless the proofs possibly must be completed, the discussion of the case is to take place and the sentence rendered.