Judicial independence is further protected by article 8, which says that judges should be chosen from "tenured or retired university professors, and in any case from well-known jurists who have gained proven experience in judicial or forensic, civil, criminal or administrative matters."
While recommendations for judicial appointments are still to be made by the Secretary of State, who has overall responsibility for the governance of Vatican City, the article prevents the appointment of curial civil servants to serve as judges, pointing out the necessary conflict of interest.
The pope's reform, which repeals and replaces the 1987 Law CXIX of St. John Paul II, also underlines the supremacy of canon law in the Vatican's civil legal system.
The new Law CCLI grounds Vatican City civil law in the Church's canonical legal system, making the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the curia's highest canonical appeals court, as the final court of cassation for the civil judicial system, charged with hearing appeals related to legal procedure and judicial competence.
Citing 2008 Vatican City state legislation issued by Pope Benedict XVI, which states that "the Vatican legal system recognizes in the canonical order the first normative source and the first criterion of interpretative reference," Pope Francis said that canonical principles are essential to understanding and applying Vatican City laws.
"This is a founding and precious link that I hope can be increasingly explored by the judicial bodies of this state, in order to express its underlying potential and that the juridical norm puts to the work of the interpreter," the pope wrote in the legislation's preamble.