Civil Attorney as Canonical Advocate

A Rotal decision, c. Burke, November 15, 1990 refers to this qualification. Canon 1483, when compared to c. 1657 of the old Code, shows a certain liberalization regarding the qualifications for an advocate. It is more readily allowed that he [or she] be a non-Catholic; and while he is required to be “peritus” or properly competent, it is no longer absolutely stated that this must be in canon. law.

The advocate should have sufficient knowledge of canonical procedure and substance so as to be able to represent his client fairly and properly before an ecclesiastical tribunal; provided the lawyer is “otherwise expert” as it is presumably true in the case of a competent civil lawyer. He cannot be rejected on the simple grounds that he has no formal canonical qualification.

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