From Labyrinthe Wiki
Out of the Supreme authority of the Sallow Princes evolved a system of magistrates. Within the Magiocracies it was the magistrates who dealt with temporal matters amongst the populous, keeping order and resolving disputes without disturbing the masters of the realms.
The first evolution of generally accepted law was what has become known as the Great Freedom, and was regarded as a fair system to govern relations between the great and their vassals. It has mostly fallen from use with further codification of laws.
With Amora’s ascension to power and breaking the dominion of the Magiocracies, the conduct of law was brought under the auspices of one role, that of the Keeper of the Covenant. While they were accorded a great deal of leeway, notionally all magistrates were subject to his oversight and he was the one ultimately responsible to the Amora for the law of the Empire.
Powers of arrest
All members of the Covenant have the power to arrest any criminal, as do Warsires and officers of Warbands under the Bastion Marque, and operatives of the Imperial Covert Operations Bureau and the Legion Intelligence Department. Note that resisting arrest is a felony in itself.
Matters have moved on somewhat, and the structure of the Covenant (the organisation of law within the Empire) has been further formalised.
There are two branches – the Judiciary and the Watch. The former are concerned with the administration of Justice, and the latter in keeping Order.
Subordinate only to the Empress herself, the Covenant has ultimate responsibility for the conduct of law and justice within the Empire, and maintaining order across the land. He is installed by the Senate with the approval of the Empress.
The Covenant is the bearer of the Empress’ mercy. It is he who is granted the right to impose sentence on the basis of the law. A man who kills a noble is guilty of a crime, but if he was acting in self defence then the Covenant may choose to impose no punishment. The Law is applied, but Justice is done.
Where the Covenant is fair-minded, the law is imposed with care for the well-being of the Empire. Where he is not, the law can become a harsh and unyielding yoke for the people.
By tradition the Covenant delegates the conduct of much of his power. A ceremony bestows upon a Magistrate the “Animus Legis”, roughly translated as either “Legal Mind”, or “Authoritative Opinion”. Strictly it is this which then allows a magistrate’s decision to hold sway across the Empire as the delegated decision of the Empress herself
The Covenant can elect to exercise all the powers of his magistrates, though in practice this right is used extremely rarely.
The Covenant is the ultimate arbitrator in judicial and legal matters, and there is no right to appeal against his decision. The Senate may ask him to reconsider his opinion in light of their suggestions (or face removal from office and replacement with someone more agreeable).
The Covenant may rule on any matter. By declaration to the populous, he may make or revoke any law and proscribe any organisations (guild, church, etc.) such that all of its members are immediately outlawed.
The Judicial Oath
It has again come back into practice for anyone accepting position as a magistrate to swear an oath as follows:
“I, NAME, do swear that I will serve and honour Her Imperial Majesty Truic Baddrass in the office of ..... I give my oath that I will do right and justice to all manner of people who may come before me without fear or favour, affection or bias. In the name of the Empress and all that I hold True I so swear.”
Senators with Judicial Authority
The Warlord has the right to create laws that apply to members of the Bastion. He can also demand any member of the Bastion be tried be Tribunal of which he (or his delegate) is a member.
The Covenant’s second, with powers broadly parallel to those of the Covenant himself. In cases where there might be a conflict of interest he will be appointed to rule on a matter in the Covenant’s stead. He is appointed by the Covenant.
He has the power to remove or appoint Magistrates and to hear appeals against their judgments where such is permitted.
The Magistrate General may enact Empire-wide laws by declaration to the populous, and may proscribe an organization (guild, church, etc.) such that all of its members are immediately outlawed.
The individual who holds sway over a city and its rural environs. In most cases this is the most senior representative of Imperial Law that people will encounter. They rule on matters on a day to day basis, investigating to uncover the truth and doing what they can to ensure that the law is just. They have a great deal of discretion in how they operate and only in the most extreme of cases will their decisions be subject to any review.
A City Magistrate may rule in respect of any Crime of Significance or Felony that occurred within their jurisdiction, and by pronouncement to the people of the city, they may enact any law that affects their jurisdiction.
Some cities may join together the role of Magistrate and Watch-Captain and give them a new name.
To be explicit no-one, not even a City Governor, may rule on crimes or exercise sentencing powers without the bestowal of “Animus Legis” by the Covenant. This rule does not affect a Governor’s ability to step in and deal with the administration of the office of Magistrate, setting judicial priorities and the like.
A City Magistrate has the powers of a Journeyman Magistrate when outside his jurisdiction.
Travel to the city is a frustrating step to take for most small disputes. It is the Journeyman Magistrate who is granted powers to hold courts in any settlement to hear in respect of any Felony or common dispute.
Appointment is for one year’s duration, though it may be renewed if the individual has performed their duties well and remains active.
A Journeyman Magistrate may rule in respect of any felony. They may also rule on any Crime of Significance, but any sentence they issue is suspended until such time as it has received either the approval of the City Magistrate in whose jurisdiction the crime took place, or in their absence the Magistrate General or the Covenant. Any removal of outlawhood must be ratified by the Magistrate General or the Covenant.
Where City Magistrates are absent or difficult to contact a Deputy will be appointed from amongst the Journeyman Magistrates, who will be empowered to exercise full powers over that jurisdiction.
Journeymen Magistrates are encouraged to report to the Covenant and Magistrate General on a regular basis in respect of any suspicious individuals or activities of which they are aware.
As of 23rd Januar IM 1015 The Covenant, Lady Petulia Hylos, revised the appointed Journeyman Magistrates. Additionally where City Magistrates were rarely seen by or accessible to Mercenaries then a Journeyman Magistrate would be granted Special Responsibility for a given city territory to deal with infractions of the law by or concerning Mercenaries in or around that city:
- Argoniculous de Fontaine
- Ben Rapendour
- James Flashblade
- Joram Hellion
- Mallerstang Laght
- Nev De’Ville
- Rolbrecht Belphebe
- Ruben Edwige
The Watchman’s Oath
It has again come back into practice for anyone accepting position as a Watchman to swear an oath as follows:
“I, NAME, do swear that I will serve and honour Her Imperial Majesty Truic Baddrass in the office of Watchman, with fairness, integrity and diligence; and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will, to the best of my skill and knowledge, discharge all the duties thereof.”
Watch Captain General
The most senior Watchman within the Empire, his rights mirror those of the Magistrate General but pertaining to the Watch across the Empire. Though they have no direct responsibility to him, members of various Imperial organisations (ICOB, LID, etc.) report to him to ensure that their activities do not affect other investigations currently underway.
The Captain of a city’s Watch has the unenviable task of trying to maintain order within the city, and enforcing the laws that are enacted by the magistrate.
They have powers to arrest and detain any individual within their jurisdiction on suspicion of any crime.
They are assisted by a Watch Reeve, an administrator who invariably deals with day to day matters such as restraining criminals and approving Hiring Licences. Rarely if ever will a mercenary seek to assume this arduous and uninteresting role.
These include and other such matters.
They will invariably seek to deliver wrongdoers to the local watch who should have gaols to detain such people.
A member of the mercenary community empowered to seek out criminals and bring them to Imperial Justice.
The Empress may appoint such individuals as she sees fit who shall be free to act outside the constraint of the Covenant. At present the only people so empowered are the Lord Executioner and the Hand of the Empress.
They are entitled to act as they see fit on behalf of the Empire, and only the Empress is permitted to make a judgment on their actions.
In addition, the Lord Executioner and Hand of the Empress have all the powers of a Journeyman Magistrate as well as full powers of arrest.