The Tribunal cannot and will not give any assurance that a case will be completed within a particular timeframe, nor can any Tribunal give any assurance that a decree of nullity will be granted in any particular case. No one else should presume to give any such assurances, either.
A definite timeframe cannot be given because of the circumstances particular to every case, which is individual and unique. However, on average, our experience has been that a formal case can be processed in in the 1st Instance Tribunal in about twelve months to fourteen months (including the ratification period in Portland). If there are problems obtaining the required documents, witness testimony, interviews, or a formal appeal, then the process can run much longer.
The basic concern in any Tribunal case is the protection and exercise of the rights of the two principal parties in particular, i.e., the Petitioner AND the ex-spouse (Respondent). Each party can name their own witnesses. The parties and the witnesses have to be given certain definite minimum timeframes to enable them to present their testimony, to name and contact witnesses, to review testimony that is not barred by confidentiality. The principal parties have a right to review each other’s testimony and that of witnesses (unless special confidentiality issues arise). This can give rise to further legitimate delays in the interests of the right of defense. If testimony is weak, the parties may want to seek to supply additional input of substance. This too can cause further delays.
When any general witnesses request confidentiality, under normal circumstances their names will still be published to the Petitioner and Respondent at a certain point in the case. At this time, all witness testimony will then be summarized into one to two pages addressing the issues in the marriage. The party requesting the right to read the available testimony will then be allowed to read the summary. Remarks in the summary concerning the marriage will not be attributed to any particular witness.
For other types of cases (e.g., lack of form, defect of form, ligamen), the time to process a case is typically much shorter. If all the documentation required for such cases is presented to the Tribunal in a timely manner, cases can be done in as little time as six weeks. Of course, this is dependant upon the current case load in the Tribunal at any given time.