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Code of Canon Law

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        • TITLE IV: PROOFS (Cann. 1526 - 1586)
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Can. 1530 The judge may always question the parties the more closely to elicit the truth. He must do so if requested by one of the parties, or in order to prove a fact which the public interest requires to be placed beyond doubt.

Can. 1531 §1 A party who is lawfully questioned is obliged to respond and to tell the whole truth.

§2 If a party has refused to reply, it is for the judge to evaluate what, as far as the proof of the facts is concerned, can be deduced therefrom.

Can. 1532 Unless a grave reason suggests otherwise, in cases in which the public good is at stake the judge is to administer to the parties an oath that they will tell the truth, or at least that what they have said is the truth. In other cases, it is left to the prudent discretion of the judge to determine whether an oath is to be administered.

Can. 1533 The parties, the promotor of justice and the defender of the bond may submit to the judge propositions upon which a party is to be questioned.

Can. 1534 The provisions of cann. 15482, n. 1, 1552 and 1558 - 1565 concerning witnesses are to be observed, with the appropriate qualifications, in the questioning of the parties.

Can. 1535 A judicial confession is an assertion of fact against oneself, concerning a matter relevant to the trial, which is made by a party before a judge who is legally competent; this is so whether the assertion is made in writing or orally, whether spontaneously or in response to the judge's questioning.

Can. 1536 §1 In a private matter and where the public good is not at stake, a judicial confession of one party relieves the other parties of the onus of proof.

§2 In cases which concern the public good, however, a judicial confession, and declarations by the parties which are not confessions, can have a probative value that is to be weighed by the judge in association with the other circumstances of the case, but the force of full proof cannot be attributed to them unless there are other elements which wholly corroborate them.

Can. 1537 It is for the judge, having considered all the circumstances, to evaluate the weight to be given to an extra-judicial confession which is introduced into the trial.

Can. 1538 A confession, or any other declaration of a party, is devoid of all force if clearly shown to be based on an error of fact or to have been extracted by force or grave fear.

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