The Regalian Judiciary is the world’s most advanced legal system, which is generally considered cumbersome, but also the fairest in the world despite its heavy pro-Ailor regulations. This organization was founded in 171 AC by Emperor Allamaria the First to accommodate conflicts of interest between Nobility, and was greatly expanded by Emperor Handorien the First in 191 AC to cover much of the common folk as well. The Regalian Judiciary takes care of all disputes between Regalian citizens from low theft court trials to high profile treason trials. The Judiciary itself is split up into different levels, all forms of trial that have different methods applied to them. The Regalian Judiciary is a legal body separate from the Regalian Government. That is to say, Judges are appointed by the High Justicar, a position granted only the Emperor himself. The Regalian State itself has no authority over the Judiciary, which often adds to its independent identity. In any and all cases however, the Regalian Judiciary judges from the perspective of "Guilty until proven innocent". This is still considered a considerably progressive view considering the "always guilty" or "guilty unless they survive a sword fight" ideals held in other foreign nations.
The Cloister Trials
The Regalian Judiciary knows three levels of Justice, which are the so called Cloister Trials. The first Cloister Trial is the Trial of Lays, the court for common cases. These cases are often presides over by a single judge without a panel of peers. The procedure for this Cloister Trial is straightforward: The accuser and defender both make a plea and present their own evidence, after which the judge passes a verdict. The next Cloister Trial is the Trial of Brays, the court for noble matters. These cases are presided over by a single judge, though a peer of panels is also present, and further witnesses may be called. The final category of Cloister Trials it the Trial of the Pit, or treason trials. Treason trials are unpredictable, while they may be executed along the lines of a Trial of Brays, a Justicar may also invoke a Trijunct of the Pit, in which case the court case is held behind closed doors, without a panel of peers, and without additional witnesses or speakers.
The Roles in Court
In Court, several roles exist that fulfill specific functions. Below are the various Court Roles outlined, with additional comments as to their functions.
- The Justicar, the judge, presides over the court trial. The Judge will be the one mostly talking and arguing. A more in-depth explanation is given below.
- The Accuser. The Accuser is always the person dragging the Defender to court. The Accuser has a very small role. It is their job to make the starting plea in which they make the accuration. It is thus imperative that the Accuser presents all evidence to the Judge before the court trial, as the Accuser may not call further witnesses or evidence into the trial. They may however be called to the plea stand themselves if evidence is presented that the Judge wants a plea on from the Accuser, but otherwise the Accuser remains silent for the rest of the Court Trial. The Accuser also sets the so called Reason Demand. The Reason Demand is the demand made by the Accuser that is set as the standard verdict. For more information on the verdict calculations, read below.
- The Defender. The Defender is the person who is being judged. They make a plea after the Accuser, though may call further witnesses, evidence, and pleas. A Defender may either defend themselves, or call a so called Trial Maker to defend them. If they however choose to hire a Trial Maker, they must remain completely silent for the remainder of the court trial unless called to plea on the stand by either the Trial Maker or the Judge. A Trial Maker may also not be called to the Plea Maker stand, though a defender may. If the Defender is anything but a first rank citizen, they may not speak, or be represented by a Trial Maker.
- Plea Makers are witnesses or people who make pleas of character. A Plea Maker can be any person identifies by any party in Court to have a relevant say in the trial for any reason. A person who is a Plea Maker cannot be on the Panel of Peers, so a popular tactic to eliminate hostile Peers is to call them as Plea Makers, even if they have nothing to say. This practice is called a Plea Duffing, the act of making a hollow plea based on eliminating those who would vote a guilty verdict on the Defender.
- The Panel of Peers, is a collection of all titled individuals present who may cast a Lesser Verdict. The Lesser Verdict is not binding, but translates into the Final Verdict passed by the Judge at the end of the Trial. For more information on verdict calculations, read below.
The Role of Judges
In the Regalian Judiciary, Judges (often also called Justicars) take the role of public tester. It is their role to take sides with the accuser at the start of the trial, and then to constantly attempt to refute the evidence, witnesses or pleas of the defender. A good Judge will constantly batter, incriminate and badger the Defender or the Trial Maker to poke holes in their rhetoric if they attempt to plea for an innocent verdict. The role of the Defence or Trial Maker, is to try and either outright convince the judge that the Defender is innocent, or to bring reasonable doubt to the guilty verdict. When a verdict is overturned into innocence, this is called a Round Verdict, while a verdict overturned due to reasonable doubt, is called a Vigil Verdict. A judge’s verdict has to be adhered to, even by parties which technically do not fall under the Judiciary’s jurisdiction. If for example the Judiciary commands the Regalian Guard to remove the hand of a Defender, they must obey the command of the Judge.
The Chronological process of a Trial
- A week before the trial, all parties accusing may submit evidence against the defender. Furthermore, the Judge’s Panel Book is presented to both the Defender and the Accuser, noting their cultural upbringing, life accolades and general track record as a judge. This is not to allow the Accuser or Defender to demand for a different judge, but to judge the disposition of the judge and modify their court rhetoric accordingly.
- The Judge reads out the essential data of the trial. This is called the Trial Founding.
- The Accuser makes their Plea against the Defender. This is called the Fire Founding.
- The Accuser demands a specific verdict and compensation or outcome. This is called the Fire Verdict.
- The Defender then makes a Plea (or their Trial Maker) to either call for an innocence verdict, or a guilty verdict. In case of an innocence verdict, the defenders try to overturn the judge's opinion, while in a guilty verdict, the defenders attempt to moderate the judge’s verdict. The latter case occurs often, especially when evidence weighs so heavily in favor of the defender that the only best way to deal with the trial is to try and mitigate the damage instead of trying to avoid it. This is called the Plea Verdict.
- The Judge then presents hard evidence in the case, presented one at a time and after each presentation, the defence has the right to respond. This is called the High Seizing.
- When all evidence is presented, the defence may call Plea Makers to speak for a whole host of reasons. The Judge may call the Accuser to refuse the words of a Plea Maker, or call in third parties present at the trial to comment on the Pleas or evidence presented in the previous segment. This is called the Low Seizing.
- When all Pleas and Evidence have been heard, the Judge calls upon the Panel of Peers to present their verdict. This is called the Little Council.
- The Judge will then call for a 15 minute recess usually, and finally pass the verdict upon their deliberated return. This is called the Great Council. Judge verdicts are passed and enacted immediately upon announcement.
The Regalian Judiciary knows several processes which are frequently used or appealed to during court trials. These are so called Nuncto’s, and can be invoked by any party at any time during a trial.
- Nuncto Deliberation, to call for a 10 minute recess to allow a Trial Maker to speak to the Defender to assess a specific piece of evidence called against them, or a Plea spoken against them, in order to discuss how to defend against it. This may only be done three times during a trial.
- Nuncto Historiam, to call forth a previous court trial as evidence in the present court trial. Precedence carries an extremely strong value in the Regalian Judiciary as it is often said that judges are afraid of setting new precedents and overturning older considerations. Whole court trials can be shortcut if a Nuncto Historiam is accepted, though it can only be called once per trial, yet at any time.
- Nuncto Sanctitus, to call a verdict of insanity on a Plea Maker. This can be done both by the Defender and the Accuser, though only on one specific Plea Maker. The call for a verdict of insanity on a Plea Maker is actually not a literal plea to calling them insane, rather it challenges the court to establish the validity of the Plea Maker’s plea by catching them in a lie proposed by the caller of the Nuncto Sanctitus. If the Plea Maker is caught in a lie, they are eliminated from the Trial.
- Nuncto Collectus, to call the court to assess the greater scheme of things. A judge often judges in the here and now between the parties assessed and those present in court. It is court etiquette to let a trial deal only with the people within the trial doors (which is why the doors are always closed when a trial is in session), though a Nuncto Collectus calls upon the judge to take outside world considerations into effect, moreso the hypothetical effects of a guilty verdict on the Defender and how it could harm the progression of events outside the court. In such a case, whomever calls the Nuncto Collectus, both the Defender and Accuser must cite three reasons to support this Nuncto. Whichever has the most reasons the Judge agrees with, is given Nuncto Collectus Veto, which carries extra weight to their desired verdict, whether it is guilty or innocent.
Verdict Calculations are often very complex in the Regalian Judiciary. The base verdict, or starting point, is called the Reason Demand, which is always uttered by the Accuser. The Judge will then state a Reason Demand Virtue, meaning to either claim the Reason Demand is fair, or to moderate it to a lesser verdict. A Reason Demand may never be increased by the Judge. Following the Plea Makers, the Evidence and the Defence, the judge may decide whether to press the Reason Demand Virtue into a Demand Call, or to render the verdict innocent or innocent due to doubt in guilt. At this point, the Panel of Peers is yet to be heard, which may moderate the verdict to a lesser punishment, or to weigh the punishment up. It is not unheard of that in case the judge rendered the verdict innocent due to doubt in guilt, the Panel of Peers still demanded a guilty verdict, that the Defender still receives a punishment of some sorts. This works inversely as well, the Panel of Peers all speaking in favor of innocence may have a Demand Call overturned into an innocent verdict. Finally after the Panel of Peers, the judge will moderate the verdict with a personal input during the 15 minute recess. Furthermore, the judge applies what is called Spirit of the Demand, in which they consider what the purpose of the verdict was when called by the Accuser, and whether an alternative that is preferable to all parties is possible. For example, if an Accuser called for monetary compensation, the judge may conclude that civil service with wages paid to the Accuser is a preferable solution than imprisonment and a flat income fine for the Defender. A verdict may never legally be overturned by anyone but another Judge or the Emperor. In case of reasonable doubt to the legitimacy of a judge’s verdict, the Defender or Accuser may call for a re-trial, which will always have a different judge. Re-trials may only be called once per Court Case, after which the verdict becomes Demand in stone, or permanent. The Regalian Judiciary has full rights to the body and soul of all Defenders, meaning they are never limited to executing guilty parties or condemning them to exile.
Some verdicts issued by the Regalian Judiciary have so called Verdict Collateral, meaning the Verdict while originally issued against one single individual, can affect more than just the individual who is standing trial. There are three forms of Verdict Collateral, the first being Sans Collateral, meaning without Collateral. In the case of Sans Collateral, the judgement is only levied on one person. This usually corresponds with charges such as theft, violence, conspiracy, Jacobinism, Heretical charges of the third degree and murder. The second Verdict Collateral is Elevated Collateral, in which the judgement is valid for all co-conspirators which are previously defined by the court. Co-conspirators must be specifically defined at the trial itself, as verdict cannot be rendered unto new parties unless the judge calls for a Verdict Valuter, or an extended Verdict in which case the court will call additional new subjects to court to have a trial over whether they should also have the verdict applied to them. This usually covers charges such as Treason against the Regalian State, False Conversion, mass-murder and grand-arson. The final category is Grand Collateral, meaning Collateral that applies to numerous parties not even involved in the trial. Grand Collateral applies to the person who the verdict was passed on, but also their spouse, all of their offspring and in many cases also their siblings and future relatives. Grand Collateral is usually classified for Treason against the Emperor, High Treason against the faith of Union and Rebellion against the Empire. Grand Collateral will also immediately be applied to anyone who is later found to be complicit to the crimes of the one judged.
There are two different evidence types in the Regalian Judiciary, Factual Evidence and Circumstantial Evidence, Factis Credis and Factis Actis. Factis Credis, being Factual Evidence, is hard evidence such as paperwork, witnesses and other irrefutable facts that contribute to an accusation or conclusion. Factis Actis, being Circumstantial Evidence, are rumors, assumptions, third party train of logic, and implications that do not have a factual basis, but might contribute to a conclusion to verdict, especially when no Factis Credis can be presented for an innocent verdict. Factis Credis must always be presented to the defending party before the trial commences, otherwise it may not be submitted during the trial, unless it comes from a witness. Factis Actis does not have a reporting duty, therefor it does not have to be included in the pre-trial information. Factis Credis must always be refuted with actual evidence or very strong circumstantial refutes, whereas Factis Actis must simply be refuted with an equally vague or un-provable assumption, rumor or implication. Sometimes the court may also refute its own Factis Credis based on a Statement of Virtue. A Statement of Virtue is taken during a trial from the defendant to refute a Factis Actis (and in some cases a Factis Credis) to make discussing the evidence unnecessary based on a witness statement from the defendant. In such a case, the Statement of Virtue is recorded in the Regalian Judiciary, and the defendant will be indefinitely held to that standard of said Statement of Virtue. For example to deny a Factis Actis which implies a defendant is a violent man based on a rumor of wife-beating, the court may request a Statement of Virtue from the defendant to verify that they are in deed not a wife-beater. This Statement of Virtue is then recorded by the Judiciary, and will count as super-mounting evidence during any future trials, or may shortcut a trial altogether (instant verdict) if it concerns the behavior within the confines of the Statement of Virtue.