The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts is a dicastery of the Roman Curia. Its work "consists mainly in interpreting the laws of the Church". (Pastor Bonus, 154). It is distinct from the highest tribunal or court in the Church, which is the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and does not have law-making authority to the degree the Pope and the Holy See's tribunals do. Its charge is the interpretation of existing canon laws, and it works closely with the Signatura and the other Tribunals and the Pope. Like the Signatura and the other two final appellate Tribunals, the Roman Rota and the Apostolic Penitentiary, it is led by a prefect who is a bishop or archbishop.
The Pontifical Commission for Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law that Pope Benedict XV established on 5 September 1917 continued in existence until replaced on 28 March 1963 by Pope John XXIII's Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law, a revision called for by the Second Vatican Council. Pope Paul VI established on 11 July 1967 the Pontifical Commission for Interpretation of the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council and, two years later, extended its mandate to the interpretation also of the documents issued by the Holy See to implement those decrees.
On 2 January 1984, Pope John Paul II set up the Pontifical Commission for Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, with competence regarding the new Code of Canon Law promulgated the year before and the universal laws for the Latin Rite. This Commission replaced those mentioned in the previous paragraph. On 28 June 1988, it was given its present name.