The canonization, on May 19th, 1935, of SS. John Fisher and Thomas More was the first occasion, since the days of Urban VIII, of a formal canonization with a dispensation from the proof of miracles. Martyrs have always been, by the law of the Church, in a favoured position and, as we have said, dispensation from proof of miracles has often been granted for their beatification. But on this occasion it was held that the provision of law permitting such a dispensation was applicable also to canonization, in accordance with the words of Canon 2139 Ss2 of the Code of Canon Law. This decision may have far-reaching consequences.
The processes we have outlined are those prescribed in the  Code of Canon Law. It must be remembered, however, that the Pope, like the King in English law, is the source of all authority in purely ecclesiastical law, and can therefore suspend or modify procedure if he wills. In the plenitude of his power he could canonize saints without any preliminaries at all, although, of course, he would never do so.
Thus, in cases where there has been local honour (which, as we have said is, if tolerated by the Holy See, equivalent to beatification) paid from time immemorial, the Pope has in several instances extended that cultus to the Universal Church, without judicial process, thereby exercising his power of canonization. St. Ephrem is one example. He had been honoured in Syria since the fourth century, being one of the very first confessors, as distinct from martyrs, to receive public cultus. By Benedict XV he was nominated a Doctor of the Church, and his feast extended to the whole world. This is called equipollent canonization.
Another instance is St. Albert the Great, Doctor of the Church, canonized by Pius XI, in December, 1931. Although, as has been said, in these cases there has not been a judicial process, with evidence taken under oath, etc., yet lest anyone should think that these steps were taken lightly, let him study the volume giving the grounds for St. Albert the Great's canonization. It is a large folio volume of 818 printed pages, containing critical discussions of his life and writings, a full list of precedents in the shape of papal decrees, a detailed account of the local cultus he has received, etc., etc. The Promoter of the Faith, or Devil's Advocate, had his opportunity of - objection, and his judgment is incorporated in the volume.
Mgr. P. E. Hallett
The Canonization of Saints (Catholic Truth Society, 1952)