Advanced Topics in Justice
The original Chamber of Justice course was created for the Shadow Academy as a method of introducing the general membership to the topics of law in the Brotherhood. The course offered a broad overview of all important topics related to the Chamber, and has become an invaluable resource. This course was added for those members who wish a more thorough, in-depth look at the Chamber’s workings. It offers more detailed instruction on difficult topics from the original course, as well as introducing new advanced material.
This course will cover, in detail, the following topics:
Sources and Types of Brotherhood Law
Advanced Chamber Policies
The Trial Process
Remember that all Chamber of Justice related material can be found via the DJBWiki, specifically from the CoJ Category page. In addition, I would recommend everyone taking this course keep the Dark Covenant page open and reference it whenever a specific Article or Section is named.
The Dark Jedi Brotherhood’s system is a mixture of two main types of law, and the laws themselves are found in several sources. These all come together to form a cohesive, flexible system that can have a strong fist when necessary, yet is also fair – a crucial balance for our online environment.
The Brotherhood operates on a mixture of two major types of law, statutory law and common law. Statutory law is written law (as opposed to oral or customary law), often set in the form of a code. These laws are put in place by an authoritative group or executive. In terms of the Brotherhood, the Dark Covenant (and other sources outlined in the next section) serves as our codified law – it clearly outlines the laws of our group, as decided by the Dark Council. Common law is law developed through the decisions of courts, it is created and refined by judges. In common law, the decision in a current case depends on precedents set in decisions made previously, and the decision made in the current case will affect cases decided after it. In terms of the Brotherhood, the precedents set in past cases by the actions of the Justicar and the Chamber as a whole serve as laws and policies followed by the current Chamber. The mixture of these two types of law allows the Brotherhood to have a codified set of laws for members to read and abide by, while allowing the Chamber of Justice the flexibility to establish precedents stemming from the code which ensure the laws function as intended.
The laws of the Brotherhood originate from more than one source, which often confuses members yet is both necessary and a function of our heritage. The main source of law is the Dark Covenant, which outlines the structure and function of the Brotherhood, as well as the “rules” of the club (found in the Article VIII, Section 8.06 – Articles of Conduct). However, the Covenant is augmented by several other sources of law, which all have authority. The Rites of Combat govern the conduct for all gaming competitions within the Brotherhood. The IRC Guidelines set the standards to be followed by Brotherhood members when communicating via IRC. Judicial decrees are permitted as a source of law by the Dark Covenant (Article VIII, Section 8.06(a) ). While there is no formal list of Judicial decrees, they are most often found in the form of precedents set by past Chamber cases.
While not as complicated as any national Judicial system, the Brotherhood’s system is far more complex than that of most internet clubs. While some members see this as a problem, the truth is that the complexity is the result of years of sub-standard systems which failed the membership. The most frequent result of past systems was a unitary judicial figure who unilaterally made all judicial decisions – a recipe for tyranny. The current system can be difficult to understand at first, but it is designed around the idea of preventing any one person from ruining the experience for the members.
3—Advanced Chamber Policies
The Dark Covenant gives the Justicar the authority to create Chamber of Justice Policies and Procedures that are separate from and not in conflict with the Covenant itself. These Policies and Procedures operate with the authority of the Dark Covenant in regards to judicial issues. The policies were all covered in the introductory Chamber of Justice course, but several of the concepts are either of the utmost importance, or are often misunderstood even by graduates, and therefore are being covered again in more detail.
The Dark Covenant, in Article VII, Section 8.06(i), states that no member shall have more than one persona in a single household without prior authorization by the Justicar. This may seem like a simple concept, but the Justicar spends the much of his time investigating and solving issues involving cloning. Each person is permitted to have one DB persona – typically that means one DB dossier per household. However in cases where multiple members of one household are members of the Brotherhood, they must inform the Justicar of this and obtain his permission. This is done to ensure members are not creating clones that could be used to cheat in competitions. The main idea is one DB persona per person, and all households with multiple DB members must obtain permission from the Justicar.
Statute of Limitations
The Statute of Limitations was added to the Dark Covenant, Article VIII, Section 8.03(o) by amendment. It states that all complaints must be brought to the Chamber of Justice within three months of the discovery of an underlying event, or else the complaint will be dismissed. This change was made to prevent members from attempting to start prosecutions for events which happened years in the past. This policy is commonly misunderstood, almost always for the same reason – the complaint must be brought within three months of the discovery of the underlying event. If a crime is committed today, but it is not discovered that the crime was committed until six months later – it can still be brought to the Chamber, because the three-month countdown starts on the date of discovery. This was put into place to prevent members from escaping prosecution by merely waiting for the three month period to end.
Ex Post Facto
The Dark Covenant, Article VIII, Section 8.02(d) offers all members of the Brotherhood protection from ex post facto prosecution. This means that members are protected from laws that retroactively change the legal consequences of acts committed. Basically, if an act is committed which is legal, but later made illegal by a new law, the member who committed the act cannot be prosecuted for it, because at the time it was not against the law. This policy is overlooked or misunderstood by many members, but it is a very important protection afforded to all of us.
In Article VIII, Section 8.03(m) of the Dark Covenant, the Brotherhood has provided it’s members protection from what is often termed “double jeopardy” (although this term does not appear in the Covenant text). This protection forbids a defendant from being tried a second time for the same specific crime which he has previously been prosecuted, unless the verdict was delivered through a miscarriage of the judicial process (which would be de