Seneschal Officer's Badge
Master Midair MacCormaic
(Charles Cohen)
3405 Brentwood Court
Ann Arbor, MI  48108
734-971-1809 (home, before 8:30 PM)
734-678-4021 (cell)
E-mail

POTENTIAL CHANGES TO THE LAWS OF THE MIDDLE KINGDOM

Added August 22, 2013

The following is a list of all the Law Changes being considered by Curia. I'd appreciate any commentary. My email is on the seneschal page. Thank you for reviewing!

- Midair, your friendly neighborhood Kingdom Seneschal



2013 August: Proposed Law Change - Removal of Article XII: Courts of Chivalry and Courts of Inquiry and Arbitration



Issue

Courts of Chivalry and Courts of Inquiry and Arbitration have rarely, possibly never, been used in the Middle Kingdom. Furthermore, it is the opinion of the Crown, Coronet, and Curia that the concept of the Courts of Chivalry and Courts of Inquiry and Arbitration is not required due to the sanction policies already in place at the Society level, because of how ill defined many of the sections of this law are, and because such Courts really serve no purpose in the SCA.

Therefore, we propose removing Article XII completely, and leaving Article XII empty so that other Articles will not have to be renumbered.



Proposed Changes to Kingdom Law (without Annotations)



CHANGE FROM:

ARTICLE XII - Courts of Chivalry and Courts of Inquiry and Arbitration

TO:

ARTICLE XII - [repealed]



REMOVE:

XII-100 Courts of Chivalry

XII-101 Courts of Chivalry of the Middle Kingdom are for the express purpose of investigating matters within the medieval framework of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., and pertain only to conduct and subjects within the structure and definitions of the Society.

XII-102 All persons involved in the convening and proceedings of a Court of Chivalry should bear in mind the seriousness of the affair. Courts of Chivalry should not be convened for trivial reasons and should be regarded as a last resort. All other avenues available for settling the matter should be exhausted before a Court of Chivalry is convened.

XII-200 The Earl Marshal shall have the responsibility for the convening of all Courts of Chivalry of the Middle Kingdom.

XII-201 In such case as the Court of Chivalry shall be desired wherein the Earl Marshal is the subject, the Crown shall appoint a Peer of the Realm to assume all duties assigned to the Earl Marshal by these articles.

XII-202 The Kingdom Seneschal shall act as advisor to the Earl Marshal and the Crown on matters of Society and Kingdom Law.

XII-203 Any person or group desiring the convening of a Court of Chivalry for any reason shall petition the Earl Marshal and the Crown in writing, presenting a summary of the reasons for the Court and any evidence to be presented.

XII-204 The Earl Marshal shall determine if the evidence warrants a formal Court and shall inform the Crown of his decision.

XII-205 If the evidence does not warrant a formal Court, the Earl Marshal may, with the approval of the Crown, settle the matter in a lesser manner; for example, by means of a reprimand, or may recommend remedial action to the Crown.

XII-206 If the evidence warrants a formal Court, the Earl Marshal shall convene the Court as provided for by these articles.

XII-300 The populace shall be notified of the date and place of the Court by means of an announcement in the Pale, as provided for in these articles. All Courts of Chivalry shall be open to the populace.

XII-400 The Crown shall preside over a Court of Chivalry, or may, at Their discretion, appoint a Royal Peer to preside in the name of the Crown. It is suggested, in a case where the proceedings of a Court shall extend beyond the end of a reign, that the new Crown appoint the former Presiding Peer to continue in that office, to preserve the continuity of the proceedings.

XII-401 The judgment of a case before a Court of Chivalry is reserved to the Crown; judgments rendered by a Royal Peer presiding in the name of the Crown are subject to review by the Crown before becoming official.

XII-402 The Kingdom Seneschal and the Dragon Herald or their representatives shall be present at a Court of Chivalry to advise the Crown or Presiding Peer.

XII-403 The composition of a Court of Chivalry and the procedure followed in presenting evidence is at the discretion of the Earl Marshal, subject to the restrictions of these articles.

XII-500 In any case where a person or group of persons may be the subject of a Court of Chivalry, the following procedure shall be followed.

XII-501 The evidence in the Court shall be heard by the Crown or the Presiding Peer, who shall be advised by a Council of Peers of the Realm. The number of this Council is at the discretion of the Earl Marshal, but at no time shall a case be heard with a Council of fewer than six. The members of the Council shall be selected by the Earl Marshal with the approval of the Crown and the subject of the Court from a pre-existing pool of potential Councilors.

XII-502 The Earl Marshal shall maintain a pool of potential Councilors that shall consist of at least two members of each of the Peerages; Chivalry, Laurel, Pelican, and Royal, two landed Barons or Baronesses, and two members of the populace who do not fit either of the previous categories, from each region of the kingdom. The Earl Marshal may, at his discretion, appoint more of any one group to the pool. The Earl Marshal with the approval of the Curia, shall appoint said potential councilors for a term of two years on a rotating schedule to be set by the Earl Marshal.

XII-503 Councilors will be chosen from the pool and seated for any session of the Court by the subject of the court subject to the approval of the Earl Marshal and the Crown or the Presiding Peer. Any Councilor who has a conflict will recuse herself or himself from potential selection.

XII-504 The Earl Marshal shall notify the subject of the Court in writing that the Court is to be convened, and shall include:

1. Copies of this Law and any other Laws pertaining to the case.

2. The names of those who petitioned for the Court to be convened.

3. The formal list of Charges to be brought before the Court.

4. An outline of the procedure for the hearing of the case.

5. The time and place of the jury drawing, said time to be not less than two weeks following the notification of the subject.

6. A list of four proposed dates and places for the Court to be held, said dates to permit publication of the chosen time and place in the Pale, and covering a span of not less than four weeks.

XII-505 The subject of the Court shall choose one of the proposed dates and places for the Court and shall notify the Earl Marshal in writing of this choice within two weeks of being notified of the Court. In the unusual circumstance where none of the proposed dates and places is acceptable, the subject shall petition the Earl Marshal and the Crown in writing within two weeks of being notified of the Court, to request another date and place. The granting of said petition shall be at the discretion of the Crown. If the subject of the Court fails to respond within the period specified by these articles, the Earl Marshal shall select one of the proposed dates and places and shall notify the subject in writing that the Court will be held then and there, with or without the subject’s attendance.

XII-506 The subject of a Court shall be allowed to be represented and advised by such counsel as he or she chooses. The Crown shall appoint a Peer of the Realm acceptable to the subject to aid in his or her defense, if the subject so requests.

XII-507 The subject of a Court shall have the right to present evidence and call witnesses in his or her defense, and shall be allowed to cross-examine all witnesses called.

XII-508 The Earl Marshal shall cause a complete record of the proceedings to be made by whatever means is determined to be most efficient and reliable. A copy of this record shall be made available to the subject of the Court if he or she should wish to appeal the judgment.

XII-509 Upon the conclusion of the case, the jury shall present to the Presiding Peer their recommendation upon the disposition of the case. The judgment in the case shall be rendered by the Presiding Peer, subject to the review of the Crown if They are not presiding.

XII-510 The judgments of Banishment from the Society or Degradation from the Peerage shall be stated in the form of a formal request from the Crown to the Board of Directors, since enactment of these judgments is reserved to the Board.

XII-511 The Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., is the ultimate appeal for any member of the Society. Any judgment of a Court of Chivalry may be appealed to the Board as provided for in the Corpora.

XII-600 The judgment of any Court of Chivalry shall be published in the Pale as soon as possible following the adjourning of the Court.

XII-700 Court of Inquiry & Arbitration

XII-701 The Court of Inquiry & Arbitration is intended to provide an opportunity for fair arbitration between antagonistic parties and the establishment of the facts of a complaint.

XII-702 A request for a Court of Inquiry & Arbitration must be made in writing to the Kingdom Seneschal, specifying the reasons for the request, after the lesser mechanisms for reconciliation have been used and proven unsatisfactory to one or more of the antagonistic parties. After receiving such a request, the Kingdom Seneschal shall inform the Crown of the need to convene a Court of Inquiry & Arbitration.

XII-800 The Seneschal shall establish a date for the convening of the Court after consultation with the Crown. The Court may only be convened within the Middle Kingdom, at an official event published in the Kingdom Newsletter. The Kingdom Seneschal shall notify the antagonistic parties of the convening of the Court in writing, by return receipt requested mail, a minimum of ten days prior to the date of convening of the Court. Any of the antagonistic parties may appeal the scheduled date directly to the Kingdom Seneschal or Crown.

XII-801 Failure of an antagonist to appear after such proper notification has been made may be considered by the Judge or Panel of Judges to be a plea of 'no contest' to the complaints specified. If this occurs, the Judge or Panel of Judges may proceed with reaching a decision in the matter.

XII-900 The Crown may function as the Judge of the Court of Inquiry and Arbitration, or may appoint a triumvirate Panel of Judges, as the Crown sees fit. The Judge or Panel of Judges shall consider the merits of a complaint and offer resolution to the antagonistic parties. In the case where a Panel of Judges sits, a simple majority vote shall constitute a decision of the Court in all matters.

XII-901 The Kingdom Seneschal shall sit as an adviser to the Court. The Judge or Panel of Judges may select such other advisors or assistants as seem appropriate. The Earl Marshal shall act as the Sgt. of Arms to the court.

XII-902 The Curia Secretary shall keep an official record of the Court's proceedings and decisions. Copies of this official record shall be provided in a timely fashion to the antagonistic parties, the Judge or Panel of Judges, and the Crown if the Crown does not sit as Judge of the Court. The Kingdom Seneschal as archival material shall keep this official record. Each antagonist has the right to file a formal written response to the decision by the Court with the Kingdom Seneschal during this time, such a response then becoming a part of the archival material.

XII-903 It is expected that the Court shall be convened for only a short period of time. To this end, the antagonistic parties shall be asked at the outset of the Court if they can agree, in part or in whole, to a list of stipulated facts in the matter as prepared by the Advocate.