Beathan Vale Jud Comm Notecard

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Beathan Vale Jud Comm Notecard

Post by Beathan »

1) Test of the Judiciary Act
1. Can we fairly assess the Judiciary Act without first letting it run through some cases? If we want a "trial run", how long should it be? How do we assess performance of the judiciary?

The Judiciary Act, as pointed out by Publius, has already been tried two, maybe three, times and has been found wanting each time. It is complicated. As I have pointed out in posts, it does not do or say what its proponents intended or wanted. The Judiciary Act, as it exists now, cannot be tried because it is too broken to even use in a "trial run." It must be repaired before it can be tested. To fail to do so (change it ) is both pointless (because it cannot work as is) and unfair to the Act (which is based on good intentions, poorly carried out). I agree that we should give the concept of a judiciary a chance, and a real chance, but we cannot do so without first fixing the Act.

We need to simplify the act, avoid unnecessary professionalization, allow for real and meaningful appeals, and provide real checks on the power of the judiciary. We also need to fix the appointment and qualification process so that it provides a reason to hold the judiciary in high esteem (that reason is currently lacking) and ensure high quality judges (rather than just high quality lawyers and people who share certain prejudices with our current Chief Judge).

2. Complexity of the Judiciary
Is the system's complexity required to make it fair? Is the system too complex to be understood and used by citizens?

Complexity has nothing to do with fairness. Neutrality and equality before the law have to do with fairness. A simple system can be fair. A complex one can be unfair. In fact, a complex system may be inherently unfair as excluding citizens unnecessarily and as creating a privileged elite class of lawyers.

I think that most citizens believe that the regulations passed under the Act, if not the Act itself, are too complicated. I think that the Act itself is also too complicated -- as demonstrated by the fact that a close reading of it shows that it does not do what its supporters and drafter thinks it does.

3. Relation of the Judiciary with the other branches of state a) What is "judicial independence"? How do we define it, and how do we
guarantee it? b) What is the jurisdiction of the Judiciary? What are the limits to the power of the Judiciary?

I have already asked some questions to root out this issue. Personally, I think judges should be subject to democratic control in this state. In RL this endangers minority rights -- but that strikes me as a less real issue here. Minorities, by virtue of the unrestricted ability to travel and associate in SL, are not really threatened by anything the RA can do. I see no good reason for strong judicial independence in SL -- or the CDS. That said, I think judges should be free to decide cases without direct political interference of the RA. Other than that, I see no need to insulate the judiciary. We just need to make sure that we have fair judges -- and the rest will follow.

4. Judges
How should judges be selected and appointed? Is there need for peer qualification? Are the judicial selection procedures appropriate? What should be the duration of the term of office of judges?

Judges should be selected based on nomination by either the SC or the Executive and confirmation by the RA. This will allow us to sound out any points of concern -- whether it be competence, character, or temperament. Also, the multi-party process will protect us from litmus tests and bias. Right now we have a litmus test at work -- favoring certain legal theories, those held by Ash, against other and (I think in some cases) better alternative theories.

5. SC
Is the new role of the SC appropriate? Should it act as the final court of last resort? Should it have any role in supervising the judiciary?

The Judiciary should have a strong judicial and appeal role. The SC should also have a parallel and strong judicial role. The SC should be the final arbiter of Constitutional issues and citizen disputes. This means that the SC should hear final appeals -- at least any appeals involving claims involving a citizen or a Constitutional issue.

6. Privacy and protection
Does the system provide for sufficient privacy/protection of the parties? To what extent has the public a 'need to know'?

This depends entirely on how we want to handle alts. I think that if we want to encourage people to use our system, we need to preserve RL privacy. However, this means that we have to provide for some way to avoid use of alts to manipulate the system.

7. Juries
Should we have juries?

Probably not. They are probably unworkable. However, we can test them with the current simple rules of procedure. We can test other things, too.

8. Financial issues
Who should set court costs? Should attorneys fees be part of costs? Who should handle money collected or disbursed by the judiciary?

Let's see how costly it is to administer the system and price it accordingly. Parties should bear their own fees and costs unless the RA passes an Act providing otherwise in all or some set of cases.

9. Formalities and procedures
Should the procedures mandate formalities that are not required to operate the system? Should these be made optional?

We need to be flexible so that we can adapt to our personal differeneces and try thing out. This is all new. None of us actually knows what we are doing. No matter what we do, we will be making it up as we go. We should be honest about this. We should also set up a system that let's us make the best of this -- let's us try things, see what works. Once we know what works, we can incorporate the good ideas into a formal required code. However, we should not prejudge this or assume that some thing will work here just because it works somewhere iRL.

10. Citizens and non-citizens
Up to now most of the discussion has assumed that the court will be used to result conflicts between citizens. In a case that involves a citizen and a non-citizen the citizen has much more to lose -- as much as hundreds of dollars invested in CDS properties, court costs, and reputation in their home community. Non-citizens may more easily file cases using an alt (because they are less well known), and at most risk banning from CDS regions. If a person is banned they can always re-enter using an alt. The Non-citizen has very little to loose. How can we preserve universal access to the courts while creating a level playing field? Can we protect citizens from cases filed for the purpose of retribution or to defame a citizen at very low risk by non-citizens?

This is a problem with Alts. We can deal with it either by restricting privacy or increasing nonresident costs. However, these are insufficient. We need to work with LL to increase the power citizens have to police SL in general. Without more power from LL, our experiment will be hangstrung -- not useless or silly -- but definitely limited.


Let's keep things simple enough to be fair, substantive enough to be effective, and insightful enough to be good.

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