Guide to the Courts

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Guide to the Courts

What are courts used for in Europeia?

In this game of ours, the idea of a court system can seem a bit excessive to most players but it is an essential feature of our government structure. The Senate makes law for Europeia, the Executive approves it and implements it in policy and the High Court of Europeia is where the law is interpreted and used to settle disputes between various parties.

Who runs the High Court?

The Judiciary are the key figures in the High Court which include the Chief Justice and three Associate Justices. They are appointed by the First Minister and the Chief of State to terms of a maximum of 120 days and are the decision-makers of all matters that come before the courts.

Is it just the one court then?

Nope. The High Court is divided into two separate courts; the Trial Court and the Court of Appeal. The Trial Court is where cases are heard for the first time. If one side in the case wants to challenge the decision of the Trial Court, the matter is heard again only if a majority of the Justices of the Court of Appeal agree to it. The Court of Appeal is made up of all members of the Judiciary except for any Justice involved in the Trial Court case.

So we've only got two courts?

At the moment, yes. The Judiciary can create lower courts if it desires and has done so; for example, we had a family law court called the Cynn Court which focused on the character/role-play aspect of families in NationStates.

So what cases are heard in the High Court?

There are three main types of case:
  • Criminal Cases: These are cases brought by the Republic (usually through the Attorney General), or by a person seeking to represent the Republic, against a defendant, alleging that the defendant has violated the laws of Europeia.
  • Judicial Reviews: These are cases brought by any citizen which, if successful, would either result in an order by the Court commanding a public official to take (or refrain from taking) a particular action or actions, or would result in a Court declaration that a person is (or is not) the rightful holder of a particular office.
  • Advisory Opinions: These are requests to the court for guidance on a legal controversy (such as 'what date should elections be held on?). To apply for an Advisory Opinion, a citizen needs to have a 'specific stake'; a citizen seeking clarification of the law before taking a proposed course of action him/herself does have such a specific stake.
This all seems very complex for a game, does this not put new members at a disadvantage?

Europeia has been around since 2007 and has a long history which can seem big and threatening to newer members but, fortunately, there are lots of people around willing and ready to help anyone out who needs advice. Anyone who faces a criminal charge has a right to be represented and get legal advice and the courts will usually ensure that someone is appointed to help a defendant if they don't already have one.

If you think you might want to take a case or might face a criminal charge, feel free to contact any member of the Public Defenders directly. To sign up to be a Public Defender yourself, click here

Is there anyone else involved in the courts?

As mentioned above, the Attorney General is a key figure in the court system. The Attorney General is the legal advisor to the Executive and is the default prosecutor for all criminal cases in Europeia. The Attorney General is also deemed to have a specific stake on making an application for an Advisory Opinion.

Where can I learn more about the law?

There's a wide variety of places to learn about Europeian law! Primary sources include:
  • Our Constitution, Charter of Rights and all other statute law is listed in the Law Index. Of particular importance is the Judicature Act (2012) which outlines the procedure used for trials among other things.
  • Past criminal cases are listed in the Criminal Case Index.
  • Past Advisory Opinions are listed in the Advisory Opinion Index.
  • There are no past Judicial Review cases as of the 3rd of December 2013, but keep an eye on the Judicial Review Archive for any future cases.

The High Court also runs legal training services through the Judicial Training Centre, which houses many documents analyzing the law, and a variety of other events run in the Court Services section such as mock trials, real-life case studies and more!
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