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Church spends €546,000 on ecclesiastiscal tribunal procedures

Ecclesiastical tribunal's Vicar-General says lawyers demand exaggerated fees.

10 October 2011, 12:00am
The Church said it has spent €546,000 in the operations for its ecclesiastical tribunal which handles marriage annulments.

In a statement, the archdiocese – which today presents its financial report for 2010 – said it had received €103,000 in fees from applicants, to bring the net subsidy to €443,000.

“The greatest spend was on professionals who work in the tribunal, amongst them psychologists and psychiatrists, and lawyers who are nominated deputy defenders of the bond. Then there are €244,959 in employees’ salaries,” the archdiocese said.

In 2009, the Church spent €615,000 on the tribunals, receiving €111,000 in fees.

Its weekly online newspaper Il-Gens reported that these figures show that the Church’s opposition to divorce in the past year was unrelated to the incomes it got from the annulment procedures, as alleged by retired judge Philip Sciberras during the divorce referendum campaign.

The head of the tribunal, Mgr Arthur Said Pullicino, told Il-Gens that the archdiocese had “no control” on what lawyers demand for their fees “which many times are exaggerated”.

“It’s not the first time that lawyers demand payment for services rendered in the Tribunal when they would be representing the so called ‘defendants’ who are not required to pay such expenses,” Said Pullicino said.

Said Pullicino said that it was untrue that annulments were not accessible to applicants who were not financially able to afford the process. “There was has never been a case that was discontinued because of financial reasons. All the tribunal needs is a declaration of proof that the parties cannot afford paying or that they are beneficiaries of social security, or get a declaration from their parish archpriest."

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mario camilleri
@ Giordano Bruno. 1.Are lawyers' fees reserved matters, open to comment only to a seklect few? 2. Judge Sciberras made allegations which these accounts (and accounts from previous years, had he bothered to check them before putting finger to keyboard) show to have been entirely baseless. Should he - and others who made similar claims- do the decent thing and aplogise, not least to people who may have been influenced by their statements?
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Luke Micallef
Now this is the limit. Who the hell is this Said Pullicino Guy? What right or competence has he to comment on lawyers fees. This guy is the quintessential example of our local church, arrogant, conservative, and onscurantist. PS Baghal Dr. Sciberras has nothing to answer for because he is a man of integrety and he spoke from experience.
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Keith Pisani
The figures quoted are from audited accounts, i presume...audited by who may I ask?
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Anthony Camilleri
Funny how the church still had a couple of hundred thousand to squander on the "Le" campaign. They must have been desperate for a win for some reason.
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mario camilleri
No comments from former Judge Philip Sciberras, and all those who during the divorce campaign attributed the anti-divorce stance by the Church to its rapacious desire to ensure income from Annullment Tribunals?