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In legal terminology, a rescript is a document that is issued not on the initiative of the author, but in response (it literally means 'written back') to a specific demand made by its addressee. It does not apply to more general legislation.
The word originated from the Roman imperial court, which often issued rescripts, in many cases prompted by its many governors and other officials. Some important early legal collections were composed entirely of rescripts, for instance the Codex Hermogenianus, published around AD 300.The other main field of application is the papal Roman Curia, which adopted many Roman administrative terms and practices.
Rescripts may take various forms, from a formal document of an established type, such as a Papal Bull, to the forwarding of the demand with a simple mention by way of decision, something like "rejected" or "awarded", either to the party concerned or to the competent executive office to be carried out.
By analogy it is also applied to similar procedures in other contexts, such as the Ottoman, Chinese and Japanese imperial courts, or even prior to the Roman empire. Two well-known examples of Japanese Imperial rescripts were Emperor Hirohito's 1945 Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War written in response to the Potsdam Declaration and his 1946 Humanity Declaration written in response to a request by General Douglas MacArthur.
Papal rescripts concern the granting of favours or the administration of justice under canon law. In Roman Catholicism rescripts are responses in writing by the pope or a Congregation of the Roman Curia to queries or petitions of individuals.
In France, people have the possibility to ask an administration for a rescrit (rescript), which means that they will present to the competent administration a circumstanced particular case, and obtain a formal answer (the rescrit) by the administration explaining how the law will be applied to the submitted particular case. The rescript is binding for the administration, and may be used before a court of law to exonerate the person who asked for the rescript in case of prosecution. In English common law such a hypothetical process is not allowed, and cases must be determined on fact.
The Massachusetts appellate courts issue rescripts to the lower courts. These are the equivalent of mandates (i.e. writs of mandamus) in federal appellate practice.
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the pope's name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular churches and provides the central organization for the church to advance its objectives.
The Breviary of Alaric is a collection of Roman law, compiled by unknown writers and approved by referendary Anianus on the order of Alaric II, King of the Visigoths, with the advice of his bishops and nobles. It was promulgated on 2 February 506, the 22nd year of his reign. It applied, not to the Visigothic nobles under their own law, which had been formulated by Euric, but to the Hispano-Roman and Gallo-Roman population, living under Visigoth rule south of the Loire and, in Book 16, to the members of the Trinitarian Catholic Church.
An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Roman Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop. The word comes from Late Latin encyclios.
Sede vacante is a term for the state of an episcopal see while without a bishop. In the canon law of the Catholic Church, the term is used to refer to the vacancy of any see of a particular church, but it comes into especially wide journalistic use when the see is that of the papacy.
In law, motu proprio describes an official act taken without a formal request from another party. Some jurisdictions use the term sua sponte for the same concept.
The Codex Theodosianus was a compilation of the laws of the Roman Empire under the Christian emperors since 312. A commission was established by Emperor Theodosius II and his co-emperor Valentinian III on 26 March 429 and the compilation was published by a constitution of 15 February 438. It went into force in the eastern and western parts of the empire on 1 January 439. The original text of the codex is also found in the Breviary of Alaric, promulgated on 2 February 506.
The pontifical secret or pontifical secrecy or papal secrecy is the code of confidentiality that, in accordance with the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, applies in matters that require greater than ordinary confidentiality:
Business of the Roman Curia at the service of the universal Church is officially covered by ordinary secrecy, the moral obligation of which is to be gauged in accordance with the instructions given by a superior or the nature and importance of the question. But some matters of major importance require a particular secrecy, called "pontifical secrecy", and must be observed as a grave obligation.
The Roman Rota, formally the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, and anciently the Apostolic Court of Audience, is the highest appellate tribunal of the Catholic Church, with respect to both Latin-rite members and the Eastern-rite members and is the highest ecclesiastical court constituted by the Holy See related to judicial trials conducted in the Catholic Church. An appeal may be had to the pope himself, who is the supreme ecclesiastical judge. The Catholic Church has a complete legal system, which is the oldest in the West still in use. The court is named Rota (wheel) because the judges, called auditors, originally met in a round room to hear cases. The Rota was established in the 13th century.
The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church. In addition, it oversees the administration of justice in the church.
In the jurisprudence of the canon law of the Catholic Church, a dispensation is the exemption from the immediate obligation of law in certain cases. Its object is to modify the hardship often arising from the rigorous application of general laws to particular cases, and its essence is to preserve the law by suspending its operation in such cases.
The canon law of the Catholic Church is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Catholic Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church. It was the first modern Western legal system and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, while the unique traditions of Eastern Catholic canon law govern the 23 Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.
Ecclesiastical letters are publications or announcements of the organs of Roman Catholic ecclesiastical authority, e.g. the synods, but more particularly of pope and bishops, addressed to the faithful in the form of letters.
Papal rescripts are responses of the pope or a Congregation of the Roman Curia, in writing, to queries or petitions of individuals. Some rescripts concern the granting of favours; others the administration of justice under canon law, e. g. the interpretation of a law, the appointment of a judge.
The Codex Gregorianus(Eng. Gregorian Code) is the title of a collection of constitutions of Roman emperors over a century and a half from the 130s to 290s AD. It is believed to have been produced around 291-4 but the exact date is unknown.
The Codex Hermogenianus is the title of a collection of constitutions of the Roman emperors of the first tetrarchy, mostly from the years 293–94. Most of the work is now lost. The work became a standard reference in late antiquity, until it was superseded by the Breviary of Alaric and the Codex Justinianeus.
A notarius is a public secretary who is appointed by competent authority to draw up official or authentic documents. In the Roman Catholic Church there have been apostolic notaries and even episcopal notaries. Documents drawn up by notarii are issued chiefly from the official administrative offices, the chanceries; secondly, from tribunals; lastly, others are drawn up at the request of individuals to authenticate their contracts or other acts.
Aurelius Hermogenianus, or Hermogenian, was an eminent Ancient Roman jurist and public servant of the age of Diocletian (245–311) and his fellow tetrarchs.
The Code of Justinian is one part of the Corpus Juris Civilis, the codification of Roman law ordered early in the 6th century AD by Justinian I, who was an Eastern Roman (Byzantine) emperor in Constantinople. Two other units, the Digest and the Institutes, were created during his reign. The fourth part, the Novellae Constitutiones, was compiled unofficially after his death but is now also thought of as part of the Corpus Juris Civilis.
In the canon law of the Catholic Church, a notary is a person appointed by competent authority to draw up official or authentic documents. These documents are issued chiefly from the official administrative bureaux, the chanceries; secondly, from tribunals; lastly, others are drawn up at the request of individuals to authenticate their contracts or other acts. The public officials appointed to draw up these three classes of papers have been usually called notaries.
The jurisprudence of Catholic canon law is the complex of legal theory, traditions, and interpretative principles of Catholic canon law. In the Latin Church, the jurisprudence of canon law was founded by Gratian in the 1140s with his Decretum. In the Eastern Catholic canon law of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Photios holds a place similar to that of Gratian for the West.