Canon Law Summary
“But they (Bishops) likewise as judges and administrators of justice offer the community an outstanding service that contributes greatly to the spiritual good of the faithful. For by their sacred power which they exercise personally in the name of Christ they ‘have the sacred right and duty before the Lord to make laws for their subjects, to sit in judgement, and to moderate everything pertaining the ordering of worship and the apostolate’ (Lumen Gentium 27).30
The Diocesan Bishop is the first judge of the diocese and for all cases not expressly excepted by law; he can exercise his judicial power personally or through others in accord with the prescriptions of law.
The Bishop is obliged to appoint a Judicial Vicar, who by virtue of his office has the power to judge. He forms one Tribunal with the Bishop. When there is no Bishop, the Judicial Vicar, and Associate Judicial Vicar if there is one, do not cease from office and they cannot be removed from office; when the new Bishop arrives however, they need confirmation.
Although his role is not confined exclusively to matters relating the judgement of marriage related issues, the Judicial Vicar is responsible to the Bishop for the administration and functioning of the Matrimonial Tribunal. Should the need arise, the Judicial Vicar, in the name of the Bishop and with the assistance of others, presides over trials relating to other contentious and disciplinary issues.
Link to the Bishop
The Judicial Vicar meets with the Bishop as often as needed.
The Judicial Vicar is: Canon Paul Jennings LCL MCL
Tribunal Office, Bishop's House, The Upper Drive, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6NB
Tel: 01273 506387 (Bishop's House) or 01273 859703 (Tribunal)
Fax: 01273 859713