Apostolic Signatura

Also known as

  • Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura


  • Latin: signare, to sign


A tribunal of the Roman Curia, which exercises ordinary jurisdiction in matters referring to:

(a) violation of secrecy by the auditors of the Sacred Rota, and damages inflicted by said auditors in consequence of their placing an invalid or unjust act;

(b) exception of suspicion against an auditor of the Sacred Rota;

(c) complaints of nullity against a rotal sentence;

(d) petition of restitution in integrum against a rotal sentence that has passed into a res judicata;

(e) recourses against rotal sentences in matrimonial causes which the Sacred Rota refuses to submit to a new investi- gation;

(f) conflict of competence between certain inferior tribunals.

It exercises delegated jurisdiction regarding petitions to the Holy Father for the introduction of certain causes before the Sacred Rota. The sentences of the Signatura have full force even if they do not contain the reasons in fact and in law. The Signatura is composed of several” cardinals one of whom acts as prefect, or presiding official. The method of procedure is determined by the Code of Canon Law and by certain rules established for this tribunal. The history of this institution dates back to the 13th century. Originally a double Signatura, it was divided in 1492 into two distinct Signaturas, one of grace, and one of justice. Pius X suppressed both and created the Apostolic Signa- tura in its present form.

MLA Citation

  • “Apostolic Signatura”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 November 2019. Web. 26 February 2021. <>