Excepciones (DCH) (Exceptions (Historical Dictionary of Canon Law in Latin America and the Philippines))

No. 2021-09

The exception, a legal instrument by means of which the defendant tried to exclude the plaintiff's action, arose in Roman procedural law, it passed to canon law and Castilian law, and was adapted to the canon law for the Spanish territories according to local conditions. This paper analyses in detail the regulation of procedural exceptions in the legal system of the Catholic Church in Hispanic America and the Philippines between the 16th and 18th century, according to the most widely used and circulating normative sources. The author provides an analysis of the concept, its classifications and forms of processing, as well as the interaction between the civil and ecclesiastical forum. It covers the applicable norms, both in the field of universal canon law and those specific to the Church in Spanish America. In this respect, the regulation of exceptions took into account the enormous geographical distances in the New World, which demanded measures to mitigate the duration and costs of lawsuits. These exceptions also considered the difficulties of the Spanish Crown to know with certainty the circumstances of a decision such as the granting of an ‘encomienda’, as well as the need to protect indigenous people, among other topics. The paper concludes with a historiographic overview of this legal institution.

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