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  • SOLARIS KINGDOM TRIAL GUIDE


    Those in Solaris Kingdom are often able to settle their disputes on their own, however there are times where that simply can't work. Sometimes laws are broken or several Solarians are wronged by one's action; and oftentimes that is when the Solaris Kingdom Court comes in. Below, you will read the functions of the Court, the steps of a Trial, who the Judges are, and more. While Court Law and Judges may change, the basic premise of the Court should forever remain the same; fair and true and for justice first and foremost.


    For the sake of an easy to understand guide, an example crime will be displayed throughout this thread; Examplepaw stole some bread.


    Terminology

    CLAN LAW - Laws and rules expressed in the Solaris Kingdom guide; not always punishable by Trial.

    COURT LAW - Laws and precedents created by the current Dawningcrown and their court; can be overruled by succeeding courts.

    COURT - Levels of which Trials are held. There is a Dawn Court, a Midday Court, and a Twilight Court. Will also be used to refer to a set of Judges during a case. Explained in further detail below.

    JUDGE - A title given to the trusted creatures of Solaris Kingdom, often older. They are held to a higher regard and expected to be unbiased. Explained in further detail below.

    PRECEDENT - A previous ruling that affects new cases. Explained in further detail down below.

    APPEAL - To request a case be reviewed by a higher court. Explained in further detail down below.


    Going to Court

    Anyone accused of breaking Clan law or Court law can be brought to court and tried. If a situation causes enough outcry in the Kingdom, they too can be brought to court so that the outcry can be addressed and the perceived wrong turned into a crime. For instance, stealing bread is not a Clan Law, but if Examplepaw steals bread and everyone gets upset by it, it is still a cause of action. Wanting to prove yourself innocent/appeal your verdict is plenty of reason to bring yourself to court.


    You can bring someone to court if:

    1. They break Clan law

    2. They break court law

    3. There is Kingdom-wide outcry over something done

    4. You want to appeal a verdict


    These are often brought up ICly.


    Court

    The Kingdom has three tiers of Court based on severity of the crime being heard and the power of the court to set a precedent or hear an appeal. Minor offences, like Examplepaw stealing bread, will start in the lowest court, while serious offences such as murder start in the highest court.


    Dawn Court: overseen by a Suncircle Knight

    This is the lowest court where minor law infringements are heard. Because of how minor the offences are there is typically only one judge to decide on a judgement. If a Suncircle Knight is unable to oversee the case, another Judge may be chosen. Any law made here is only persuasive to other courts.

    Offences taken to this court: Petty theft, concerns involving joiners


    Midday Court: overseen by a Duskbreaker

    As the intermediate court, medium law infringements are heard here as well as appeals from the Dawn Court. There may be up to three judges on any given case to decide on a judgement. If there is no Duskbreaker available to sit on the case, a Suncircle Knight may stand in. The two other judges may be anyone with the Judge title. Decisions on law and law made here applies to Dawn Court and is persuasive to other courts.

    Offences taken to this court: Discriminatory crimes, physical assault


    Twilight Court: overseen by a Dawningcrown

    Twilight Court is the highest court in the judicial hierarchy. Major law breaks are heard here as well as appeals from Midday Court. There can be up to five judges, but only for extremely controversial cases - the typical number of judges is three. A Dawningcrown must be one of the judges. Decisions made in Twilight Court apply to both lower courts and are persuasive for other Twilight Court cases. Judgements made in this court are final.

    Offences taken to this court: Murder, treason


    Judges

    Each case will have a number of judges overseeing it, with the number determined by the court the case is in and the complexity of the case. The number of Judges is always uneven so that a majority decision can be made. When possible, one of the Judges on a case should be a High Position designated to oversee the particular court the case is being heard in. Outside of designated High Positions, however, anyone who has been awarded the Judge title may be asked to serve as a Judge on a case.


    The role of a Judge is to be an unbiased assessor of the evidence and potential punishments. If a Judge has a bias (such as being close to the defendant) they should announce their bias and remove themselves from the case.

    - High Positions who oversee courts can only be Judges for those courts to prevent them carrying opinions from the case to any subsequent appeal.

    - If a Judge consistently involves themselves in cases where they have a bias, or is found to be corrupt in some way, the Dawningcrown can strip them of their Judge title. If it is severe enough, they could be tried for meddling with the course of justice.


    Dawningcrowns, Duskbreakers, and Suncircle Knights are automatically awarded Judge titles for their position, as they are necessities to the Court. However anyone can earn the Judge title by being consistent in the Clan and frequently attending Trials when they can - as well as simply asking for a Judge Evaluation to receive the title.


    Current Judges:

    Proceedings

    All trials start with the Kingdom calling for something to go to court. It doesn’t have to be the Kingdom as a whole - as few as two members would suffice. To prevent the small requirements for taking something to court from being abused, a member with the Judge title must decide if it is worth going to court. Whoever decides that the offence is worth a trial is exempt from sitting on that case.


    There is no need for a jury of peers in Kingdom trials because Solarians already decided that it was worth the matter being heard in court. In situations where a jury might be considered necessary (like an offence being controversial) there are already multiple Judges on the case, allowing for multiple opinions to be considered.


    Once a matter is in court the Judge(s) on the case may begin to find justice. Judges can call for evidence and witnesses to determine the nature of the offence, and Solarians can volunteer to present evidence/statements. This process is to find the truth, not to fight. Semi- and High Positions may discuss the crime and potential punishment and bring the results of this discussion for the Judge(s) to consider.


    Trials typically only need one sitting, but can go for longer if the High Positions want to contribute their discussion or if the case is considered complex/controversial. Trials begin and end by Helios’ Altar so that the desert God can bear witness.


    When all the evidence has been given and all the witnesses have spoken, the Judge(s) will make a decision. If there are multiple Judges, the majority decision is the official decision. The decision is announced in front of a crowd, along with any actions that need to be taken as a result of the decision. These actions are usually, but not always, punishments. The results of the trial (and any actions taken) are written down for future reference.


    Precedent

    The Solaris Kingdom follows a system of precedent in their cases. This is to make sure that decisions are consistent across similar cases, which makes some minor cases (such as anti-clanners joining the ranks) easy to predict. Past cases act as a template for current cases. However, if differences between two cases can be proven, precedent does not have to be followed.


    Precedent works opposite to appeals - while appeals move up the court hierarchy, precedent flows down to lower courts. A decision made in Twilight Court must be followed by Midday and Dawn Courts. But similar to appeals only going to the next court along, precedent doesn’t apply to cases made within the same court. If one Dawningcrown decides that Examplepaw stealing bread is a crime worthy of exile, a future Dawningcrown can decide that Forinstance stealing bread only deserves community service, creating a new precedent.


    If a case doesn’t count as precedent, it can still be used to try and persuade the Judge(s) to follow the ruling. If there are multiple precedents for the same thing, the precedent from a) the highest court and b) the most recent case should be followed.


    Appeal

    If a defendant (or concerned Solarian) is unhappy with the decision at their trial, they may be able to appeal. An appeal allows the case to be heard in a new court with a new (set of) judge(s). Appeals are made from the Dawn Court to the Midday Court, or the Midday Court to the Twilight Court. You can’t appeal to a court your case has already been heard in, and you can’t appeal decisions made in the Twilight Court.


    There must be a reason for the appeal to be made. Some reasons could be: a biased judge; information was withheld; new information has been revealed; a precedent was applied wrong. This list is far from exhaustive, so as long as it can be proven that something went amiss at the trial, an appeal can be made.


    Court law

    Once a verdict has been given on a case, it becomes law and acts as a guide for how other, similar cases should be treated. This is how the precedent applies. court law can evolve over time in response to the Kingdom’s evolving morals, which is allowed by the appeals system. So while Clan law is fixed, court law is fluid.


    Cases follow a naming convention so that they can be referenced easily. This convention is [Name of defendant] v The Kingdom [Year] [Courtname abbreviation]. If Examplepaw was tried for stealing bread in 2020, and the trial was held in Dawn Court, the case name would be Examplepaw v The Kingdom [2020] [DC]. This allows for appeals to be distinguished from the original case.


    Links to previous trials can be found below with a brief summary of what happened.


    Thank you foxglove. for helping with a lot of legal talk and making this very cohesive and easy to understand! And thank you nya you tiny legend for writing this whole thing. <3