Rota Romana

Rota Romana (or SACRA ROTA), the supreme papal tribunal at Rome, was instituted by pope John XXII in A.D. 1326, and improved by Sixtus IV and Benedict XIV. The name is variously derived from the circular arrangement of the judges' seats, or the form in which the calendars are arranged, etc.; comp. Dom. Bernino, Il Tribunale della S. Rota Rom. (Rome, 1717) for etymology of the title and history of the court. The Rota was long the supreme court of the entire Roman Catholic Church; but legal causes in the Church in foreign parts are now generally tried by judices in partibus who have been delegated by the pope. The Rota is divided into two colleges, or senates, one of which forms a lower court of appeal, while the other has supreme jurisdiction. Each senate is composed of at least five judges, namely, a referendary (termed a ponens), who presides, and four associates (correspondentes). The action of the higher senate may, however, be subjected to the process of restitutio in integrum, on which the matter is referred to the plenum of the Rota. This plenum consists of twelve members (Uditori Romani, or Auditores Rotoe), each of whom is assisted by a lawyer (adjutante di studio). The senior judge is denominated dean, and takes the chair. Sessions are held on Monday and Friday of every week, except in the vacation during August and September, in the Vatican. The decisions of this court have been gathered into different collections, the first in 1470, etc. A more recent edition containing selected trials is Decis. S. Rotoe R. Recentiores Selectoe (Venet. 1697, 25 parts in 19 vols. fol.). They are also published in full in annual issues. SEE CURIA ROMANA.

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