Welcome to the Tribunal
It is through a Tribunal that the Bishop of a diocese exercises judicial authority, i.e., officially resolves disputes and issues binding decisions. The Bishop calls upon the Tribunal to investigate and adjudicate matters that come to his attention and need to be resolved according to the norms and procedures established in Church law.
The Diocese of Hallam Tribunal offers assistance to individuals who request that the Church study a marriage in order to determine whether or not there is any possibility of a declaration of nullity. The Tribunal investigates the marriage and proceeds to a decision.
Most of the Tribunal's time is devoted to processing petitions requesting a declaration of nullity. It is the right of an individual to ask for an official decision about the binding nature of a particular marriage. As a norm, all marriages are presumed to be valid and binding. However, through the course of 2000 years of history the Church has realised that the human act of giving marital consent can be defective to the point of being ineffective. The process of seeking a declaration of nullity investigates and settles this matter.
By Church Law, the Hallam Tribunal accepts cases when a request is made from someone married in the Diocese of Hallam (the Petitioner), or if the other marriage partner (Respondent) resides in the Diocese of Hallam. The Tribunal can also accept a request from an individual residing in Hallam.
Who Needs A Declaration of Nullity?
People often use the word "annulment" but the Church refers to this process as seeking a Declaration of Nullity. It is not the Church's role to nullify a marriage that is valid, only to make a decision when the validity of a marriage is questioned.
If you are a Catholic and you have been married before in the Catholic Church, and you want to enter a second marriage and at the same time remain within the good graces of the Church, and your first spouse is still living, you need a declaration of nullity or a dissolution of the natural bond of marriage in favour of the faith.
If you are not Catholic and have been married before and you want to enter a second marriage involving a Catholic who wants to remain within the good graces of the Church, and your previous spouse is still living, you either need a declaration of nullity or a dissolution of the natural bond of marriage in favour of the faith.
Before anyone can enter a valid second marriage in the Catholic Church, the first marriage (or all previous marriages when there have been multiple marriages) must be officially investigated by the Church. A determination needs to be made about the binding nature of any and all acts of marital consent previously expressed in the presence of witnesses.
The following represents those questions that are regularly asked of the Tribunal staff of the Diocese of Hallam. Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the staff.
Judicial Vicar: Rev Craig Fitzpatrick, JCL, MA
Administrator: Mrs Anne Ashton
The Hallam Diocesan Tribunal
The Hallam Pastoral Centre
St Charles Street
Tel: 0114 – 2566450
The office is open between 8.30 AM and 4.30 PM, Monday-Thursday
Find us in the map:
Bus services: 52 from the City Centre (Arundel Gate) runs along Attercliffe Common - alight at Stevenson Road stop. Every 7-10 minutes.
Tram: Nearest stops either Woodbourn Road or Attercliffe. Approx 5-10 minutes walk.