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Lateran IV

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CANON 37

Summary. No one may by means of Apostolic letters be summoned before a judge who is distant more than two days from his diocese, except with the consent of both parties or express mention is made of this decree. Without an order from the other party, such letters are invalid.

Text. Some, abusing the good will of the Apostolic See, attempt to obtain from it letters whereby their disputes may be referred to judges residing at a remote distance. This they do to fatigue the accused with labor and expenses, that thus he may be compelled to yield in the matter under dispute or by payment free himself from the vexations of the plaintiff. Since however a legal trial ought not to open the door to injustice, as is forbidden by the law, we decree that no one may by means of Apostolic letters be summoned before a judge who is distant more than two days from his diocese, except with the consent of both parties or express mention is made of this decree.

There are also others who, turning themselves to a new kind of commercialism, that they may revive old complaints or introduce new questions, fabricate causes, on the strength of which they seek letters from the Apostolic See without a mandate from the person for whom they act, which letters they offer for sale either to the accused party that with their aid he may not be exposed to the loss of labor and expenses, or to the plaintiff that with these he may fatigue his opponent by undue vexations. Since, however, disputes are to be restricted in number rather than multiplied, we decree that if anyone shall in the future presume to seek Apostolic letters upon any question without a special mandate from the person for whom he is acting, such letters shall be regarded as invalid, and he shall be punished as a falsifier, unless perchance it be a question of persons from whom a mandate ought not be legally required.




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