44. References

  1. A reference is a written representation and application made by a lower court to a higher for advice, or other action, on a matter pending before the lower court, and is ordinarily to be made to the next higher court.
  2. Among proper subjects for reference are matters that are new, delicate, or difficult; or on which the members of the lower court are very seriously divided; or which relate to questions involving the Constitution and legal procedure respecting which the lower court feels the need of guidance.
  3. In making a reference the lower court may ask for advice only, or for final disposition of the matter referred; and in particular it may refer a judicial case with request for its trial and decision by the higher court.
  4. A reference may be presented to the higher court by one or more representatives appointed by the lower court for this purpose, and it should be accompanied with so much of the record as shall be necessary for proper understanding and consideration of the matter referred.
  5. Although references are sometimes proper, yet in general it is better that every court should discharge the duty assigned it under the law of the Church. A higher court is not required to accede to the request of the lower, but it should ordinarily give advice when so requested.
  6. When a court makes a reference, it ought to have all the testimony and other documents duly prepared, produced, and in perfect readiness, so that the higher court may be able to fully consider and issue the case with as little difficulty or delay as possible.

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