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The Right of Defense in Canon Law

December 6, 2017, Alexander LASCHUK

The recording of this webinar can be viewed here.

St John Paul II described "the right of defense as always being intact" (c. 1598 §1) as a "principle which must guide all judicial activity in [the] Church". After exploring the nature of the right of defense, Fr Laschuk will examine numerous practical applications, including the following:

  • How does this right frequently risk being violated in canonical proceedings?
  • What discretion does a judge have in evaluating denials of the right of defense?
  • When should a case be appealed?


Fr Alexander Laschuk is Associate Judicial Vicar of the Toronto Regional Marriage Tribunal. He completed his doctorate of canon law at Saint Paul University. Fr Alexander has experience in matrimonial, penal, and contentious trials across North America. A priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto, he is engaged in full-time canonical ministry in that city, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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