Dr. Edward Peters 

To work for the proper implementation of canon law is to play an extraordinarily

constructive role in continuing the redemptive mission of Christ. Pope John Paul II







1983 Code



1917 Code


 Liber Extra



 Eastern Code


1152 x 864


29 aug 2015

Quick Questions, Consultations, and Advocacy



Curriculum vitae



My doctoral degrees in canon law and in (American) common law, ten years' experience in diocesan work (equally divided between chancery-administration and tribunal), and some fifteen years in graduate teaching, professional research, and peer-reviewed publishing, qualify me to work in almost any area of Western canonistics. Given, however, my primary academic responsibilities and on-going commitments to several projects, the time I have available for independent canonical inquiries, consultations, and/or advocacy work is severely restricted. Nevertheless, and though I must decline many more requests for assistance than I can accept, I do try to consider all requests.


Making initial contact


Phone calls are the least effective way to reach me.


The best way to contact me in regard to any kind of canonical inquiry is by email through this website, but, even by email, do not send long or complex initial inquiries as I cannot take time to read them. A simple description of the question or issue suffices for an initial contact. If I need additional information, I will ask for it.


Quick Questions


I try to acknowledge promptly all inquires emailed to me, even if it is only to decline answering. If you do not receive a reply from me, I probably did not receive your message.


If an emailed inquiry can be satisfied by a brief note on a basic point of canon law, I will reply (gratis, of course) usually within a very short time. Such responses are offered as a public service and I do not regard persons receiving brief notes as clients (although I do respect their confidentiality). I make no claim of completeness in my answer nor do I promise to give replies to possible follow-up questions. Under no circumstances do I accept questions from or send answers to individuals through "third-parties".


Many persons submit what they think are "quick questions" which, however, do not lend themselves to a quick answer. Sometimes that even applies to requests for referrals (beyond the general ones made below.)


If my answer includes a suggestion to "consult the standard authors", I have in mind the major commentaries on the 1983 and/or 1917 Codes of Canon Law.


Formal Canonical Consultations

and Advocacy



For information on my availability for lectures, addresses, contact me here.


My formal canonical services fall into two kinds: (1) Canonical consultation, advice, and/or advocacy for ecclesiastical institutions and persons as well as for private organizations and individuals; and (2) Consultation for civil attorneys as an internationally-recognized expert in canon law. In addition, I do manuscript evaluation for publishers, tenure review, extern reading of doctoral dissertations and participation in defenses, and other specialized forms of academic research.


If, after mutual discussion, I agree to serve in a formal consultative and/or advocacy capacity, my professional engagement will always be confirmed in writing and will include a fee arrangement agreed upon in advance. I usually require a deposit (refundable pro-rata, of course) and billing is quarterly, unless agreed otherwise.


I am well aware that many canonical issues involve little or no material benefit to clients. That does not mean that my time on them is not valuable or that other expenses will not be incurred along the way. I am not in a position to donate professional services (beyond a list of pro bono undertakings that is chronically full) or to subsidize client expenses in cases.


1983 CIC 1481 1. A party can freely appoint an advocate and procurator; except for the cases established in 2 and 3, however, the party can also petition and respond personally unless the judge has decided that the services of a procurator or advocate are necessary. 2. In a penal trial, the accused must always have an advocate either appointed personally or assigned by the judge. 3. In a contentious trial which involves minors or in a trial which affects the public good, with the exception of marriage cases, the judge is to appoint ex officio a defender for a party who does not have one.


Other points



Certain forms of canonical advocacy work require episcopal approval for specific canonical representation. If episcopal approval is required, I will apply for it.


I do not represent clients before the Apostolic Signatura (for which I serve as a consultant) or the Roman Rota

(before which I am not authorized to practice). In the event that a client's formal case would need to go before either of those tribunals, I will assist in locating a Roman advocate.


Most marriage nullity cases do not require the services of an outside canonist and I rarely accept such cases. Parties desirous of such assistance have, however, the right to it, and should direct their requests to the tribunal in question or perhaps to one of institutions or persons listed below.


1983 CIC 1490. As far as possible, legal representatives are to be appointed in a stable manner in each tribunal, who receive a stipend from the tribunal and are to exercise, especially in marriage cases, the function of advocate or procurator on behalf of parties who wish to select them.


General Referrals


In my opinion there is a shortage of good canon lawyers; those who are good are typically booked far in advance.


The following institutions are qualified to render services in one or more areas of canon law or to make referrals for canonical services. Inclusion in this list is not an endorsement and omission from it is not a criticism.