Department of LCRUA Law

Public administration is the implementation of government policy and also an academic discipline that studies this implementation and prepares civil servants for working in the public service.

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Fortvento
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Unread post Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:42 pm

Greetings! I am Professor Fortvento, and you find yourself in the Department of LCRUA Law, one of the divisions in the Faculty of Public Administration.

The primary reason for the existence of this - admittedly very specific - department is to educate the next generation of Judges, Legal Representatives, and others who aspire to solve legal issues within or concerning the LCRUA. Additionally, it may provide valuable insights for those interested in law or the LCRUA.

Subjects will include the purpose and structure of law, the status, rights and duties of a nation, the separation of powers, amending and implementing the law, the Tribunal, the structure of a case in the Tribunal, justice and interpreting law, examples of juridical cases and examples of shortcomings in the law. Please note that this list is subject to change.



[+] Index of Subjects
  1. Introduction
  2. Tests
  3. Purpose and structure of the law
  4. Status, rights and duties of a nation in the LCRUA
  5. Separation of powers 1: executive and legislative
  6. Amending and implementing law
Infoboard:
  • Next: Separation of powers 2: the Tribunal (June 5th)
  • Last: Test L3 & L4
  • Questions may be asked after each lecture in this thread, or at any time by contacting me directly (KN#4693 on Discord, Fortvento on NS)
Last edited by Fortvento on Tue May 15, 2018 3:51 pm, edited 20 times in total.
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Unread post Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:40 pm

Last edited by Fortvento on Tue May 15, 2018 3:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:41 pm

Purpose and structure of the law


What is the purpose of law?

This is a good question to start with, and an important one for anyone interested in law. Ask yourself this question and think about it for a moment, independent of this lecture.

Some, may tell you the purpose of law has four aspects: establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting your rights. If you look closer at these aspects you may notice a thing they have in common.. At its core, law exists for the purpose of preventing and solving the problems we as human beings inevitably create. Law shapes order in a society, and attempts to define and address the problems in it. Sometimes the law creates additional problems in its attempt to solve them. This combined with the sheer volume of problems a society generates is why most law is long and complex.

You can delve much deeper in the purpose of law and its many facets, which I encourage in the form of discussion after this lecture.

Now that we know the basic purpose of law, lets take a look at the structure of law in the LCRUA.



Centralised versus decentralised law

Law is centralised in the LCRUA; the Constitution being the primary legal document and secondary legal documents being explicit addenda of the Constitution. The amount of secondary legal documents is small. Some are considered more guideline-like in nature, while others are as serious as the Constitution itself. An example of a secondary legal document is the LCRUA’s embassy policy. Amendments are made directly to primary or secondary legal documents instead of being legal documents of their own.

The idea behind centralised law is that subjects usually do not have to look further than the primary document to find the laws which apply to them, and that it prevents most cases of conflicting laws. A disadvantage of centralised law is that it may result in an excessively long primary document, in which laws covering one specific topic may be scrambled or hard to find.

The opposite to centralised law would be decentralised law, a structure in which there are many legal documents, each covering specific topics, with or without their own addenda. Decentralised law could also be or include a structure in which legal documents are not directly amended, but amended indirectly through separate legal documents which partly override the targeted legal document.

The idea behind decentralised law is that it is to the point; rather than one document covering everything, each document covers a specific topic. The advantage of indirect amendments is that each amendment can be repealed easily and independent of other amendments. Overlapping and conflicting laws may be an issue with decentralised law.



Structure of legal documents

Legal documents in the LCRUA may be divided in sections which group relevant laws together. Sections serve no legal purpose. They are there to keep a potentially long document structured and make it easier to reference or look up specific laws. Sections contain articles, which are the branches of the law. They can be a law on their own, be a summary for or introduction to any sub-articles they have, or they can be both. They may branch out further into sub-articles with more details on the topic. They often outline in detail how the article should be applied or interpreted, or how a specific problem or event should be handled.

At the top of the LCRUA’s Constitution is a preamble. It should be noted that this, just as the descriptions for each of its sections, serves no legal purpose. Underneath it are the definitions of specific terms used in all legal documents. The purpose of this is obvious; it ensures that the reader understands the legal meaning when they encounter such a term in the law.



Hierarchy

Lastly, there is a hierarchy in the law to prevent conflict in the law, especially between legal documents. This hierarchy is paradoxically defined in a secondary document, but since it is not contested by other laws it is considered legal. The hierarchy defines that the Constitution stands above all of its addenda, and that articles stand above sub-articles within the same document. This hierarchy roots the LCRUA in the centralised approach to law and demands from amendments to sub-articles that they consider all relevant articles.


Example

We’ll end with an example of a law from the LCRUA’s Constitution.

Section I - Rights, Article 7:
7. No member nation can be punished without good reason.
  1. Ever member accused of crossing our laws is presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a public trial according to our law.
  2. In a trial, every member has the right be heard by impartial and independent judges.
  3. Suppressing, ejecting, banning, banjecting or being reported to NS moderators are punishments, but not the only ones.
  4. No member can be treated poorly or without respect.
  5. Laws can’t be used retroactively.
This article protects a member nation from arbitrary punishment. It goes into detail on this in its sub-articles (A trough E). These sub-articles reference judges and a public trial but do not go deeper into the details of this; there is a separate section dedicated to them. If that section would have an hypothetical article prohibiting reporting a member’s behaviour to the moderators on NS, that article would overrule sub-article ‘C’. If that hypothetical law wasn’t an article, but a sub-article instead, the two would be in conflict and we would have a problem.

So, we’ve touched on the purpose of law, the structure of law in the LCRUA, and an example. That’s it for today. Class dismissed!



Referenced in this lecture
Last edited by Fortvento on Tue May 01, 2018 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post Tue May 01, 2018 9:44 am

Status, rights and duties of a nation in the LCRUA


What constitutes the LCRUA?

We know the structure of law in the LCRUA, but what is the LCRUA? The obvious answer is that it’s a region, but this is only partially right in the legal sense. Regarding the LCRUA’s law and where it applies, we need to be more specific.

Over the course of its history, it has sometimes been difficult to classify the LCRUA as a region. First and foremost, the LCRUA was founded as an alliance. As it did not exist as a region at that time, residence and membership of the alliance could not be associated. They have remained as independent concepts ever since, which today results in the possibility of the LCRUA’s members being located in other regions - while remaining a part of it. Secondly, the LCRUA had two member-regions before it took part in forming FORGE, at which point they became members of FORGE instead. Lastly, the inactivity of the original Founder forced the LCRUA to found a second home region for security reasons.

Due to this history, the LCRUA of today is the collection of its members, and the regions LCRUA and The LCRUA. As laws do not distinguish between these two regions and both regions are de facto part of the same political entity, the LCRUA is legally regarded as a polity instead of a region.

Note that it matters little in day to day conversation if the LCRUA is called a region or a polity; by far the most of what constitutes the LCRUA is the core region. It only matters in specific contexts, for example when talking about membership.



Status

There are two types of status in the LCRUA: residency and membership.

A nation is considered a resident if it is located within the LCRUA and not a member. Residents are subject to all of the LCRUA’s laws, but can not claim any of its rights until they apply for and gain membership. They lack many prominent rights legally. Though residents may have access to some of them in practice, the LCRUA is not legally bound to protect or provide said access. Freedom of speech is a good example of this; residents can speak freely in practice, but their posts may be suppressed at any time for any reason by someone with the authority to do so. This allows the LCRUA’s government to react swiftly to potential annoyances created by residents, spam being the first thing that comes to mind.

Any resident who follows the law has the right to become a member. Members have all of the LCRUA’s rights, and the LCRUA is legally bound to protect and provide them. Members keep their membership and are subject to the LCRUA’s laws regardless of where their nation is located. A member may ask to be relieved from their membership, or it can be revoked as a punitive measure after a trial.

Unless they are members, nations which don’t reside in the LCRUA fall outside of the scope of LCRUA law. For diplomats this means that they are immune to prosecution in the LCRUA as long as they don’t have membership or a nation in it, but also that the LCRUA is not legally bound to give them any rights.



Rights

The rights of a nation in the LCRUA can be found in Section I of its Constitution. They can, in essence, be described as a much simpler version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adapted to the realities of NationStates, and to a lesser extend to the specific needs of the LCRUA. While the actual laws in the Constitution have more words, they boil down to the following:

All nations have the right to:
  • transparency of the LCRUA’s government, and
  • participate in government-related discussion.
Each resident has the right to:
  • become a member if one follows the law.
Each member has the right to:
  • stay in, move to and from the LCRUA¹,
  • be relieved of one’s membership,
  • liberty and security,
  • freedom of opinion and expression,
  • freedom of thought, conscience and religion,
  • freedom of peaceful assembly and association,
  • access to and participation in the LCRUA’s democratic system,
  • access to the LCRUA’s services,
  • engagement in the community,
  • privacy of correspondence, except if there’s a good reason for this to be violated²,
  • protection from false accusations and attacks upon one’s honour or reputation,
  • protection from discrimination based on age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, belief, background and status,
  • a fair trial if accused, in which one is innocent until proven guilty,
  • protection from arbitrary, poor and disrespectful punishment,
  • equality in dignity, rights, and the law’s protection, and
  • help from the Council if one’s rights are violated.
1. In practice nations can only move to The LCRUA as LCRUA is password protected.
2. To gather evidence during a trial would be a good reason, for example.



Duties

Although Section I of the LCRUA’s Constitution is named “Rights”, it also contains the few duties all its members and residents have:

Each resident, and each member, has the duty to:
  • inform the government of any puppets they have in the LCRUA,
  • behave with dignity and respect towards others, and
  • behave with good manners and respect towards others when representing the LCRUA in other regions.
So we’ve defined what the LCRUA is, the status of nations in it, and what their rights and duties are. That was it for today’s lecture, class dismissed.


Referenced in this lecture
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Fortvento
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Unread post Tue May 01, 2018 10:35 am

A quick note on this lecture. When I talk about rights, I say "All nations have the right to", and then give a summary of rights. This was previously contradicted when I said "Unless they are members, nations which don’t reside in the LCRUA fall outside of the scope of LCRUA law".

This is because there is a conflict in the law.

Section I - Rights, Article 15:
15. Each and every nation has the right to government transparency at all times.
Section VII - Justice and Law, Article 8:
8. This Constitution and addenda are the only legal legislation in the LCRUA. It applies within the LCRUA and to its members.
I.15 and VII.8 are both articles and in the same document, meaning they have the same rank in the hierarchy we talked about earlier. Until this conflict is amended, it could be interpreted in different ways. For example, "each and every nation" could be interpreted as only applying to residents and members. Or it could be interpreted as an exception to VII.8, in which case all nations in NS have the right to transparency from the LCRUA's government.

I'm curious how you would interpret it.
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Unread post Fri May 04, 2018 4:34 pm

Separation of powers 1: executive and legislative


As is the case in many democracies, power in the LCRUA is categorised and divided into executive, legislative and judicial power. These powers function relatively separate and independent from one another. Separation of powers may prevent corruption and concentration of power by requiring the approval of all three branches for the making, executing and administering of laws. In this lecture we will address the executive and legislative powers specifically.


The executive power

The executive power is held by the Council and Security Officers.

The Council consists of five Councillors and the President presiding over them. The President is responsible for organising the Council in such a way that the LCRUA’s needs are looked after. Councillors are responsible for fulfilling the tasks assigned to them by the President, but may also take initiative in solving issues.

Each Councillor, including the President, may assign a vice-Councillor to fill their role in case they are unexpectedly incapable of fulfilling it themselves. A vice-Councillor has the exact same authority as the Councillor they are linked to if called, and can be called or dismissed by the original Councillor at will.

The Council leads several departments. A department in the LCRUA isn’t a fixed or legally defined entity and is better compared to a commission; it is a group of members presided over by a Councillor, which tackles issues within one sphere they themselves define. The most prominent example of a department is the Department of Culture which is primarily concerned with roleplay. A department can be freely created by a Councillor as long as it does not have more authority than its leading Councillor, and can be freely destroyed as long as it does not interfere with the needs of the LCRUA. This makes the government adaptable.

The Council and the President are democratically elected. They have separate terms; both have term lengths of two months, but the President is elected one month into a Councillor’s term, and likewise a new Council is elected one month into the President’s term. Members may stand candidate for the position of Councillor, and Councillors may stand candidate for the position of President. This creates a monthly heartbeat-like election cycle, creates a two-step rise to power from a member to a President, and ensures a President has at least one month of experience before becoming the leader of the LCRUA.

Aside from the Council, which is the region’s government, there are the Security Officers. They watch for breaches of regional security and execute punishment determined by the judicial power. In a sense, they can be compared to a police force. Security Officers are appointed by the Council rather than elected, to prevent hostile infiltration through democracy.

The executive power in the LCRUA is easy to spot; the President, Councillors and Security Officers all have appropriate regional officer positions and the necessary authority to fulfill their role in The LCRUA. The WA-Delegate is de facto assigned the role of Security Officer, but the positions are not legally tied as the Delegacy can theoretically be taken by a non-member. The position of the Founder is not defined in law at this time.



The legislative power

All members of the LCRUA combined form its legislative power. Changes in law may be proposed by the Council, or by any member if the Council agrees to poll it. When proposed, these changes are polled publicly and all members may cast their vote on them. The result of that poll is binding; it is impossible for the Council to pass legislation the majority of members reject.

If the Council refuses to poll a proposal, a member may circumvent this by calling for a referendum. Touching on the subject of referenda, the members of the LCRUA have more than the legislative power, as they may use referenda to force officials of the executive and judicial powers to step down. For a referendum to be held and its outcome to be considered legal and binding, one must be able to prove that at least 5 members support it.

We’ve covered the executive and legislative powers today. Next lecture will be about amending law in the LCRUA. Until then, class dismissed!



Referenced in this lecture
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Fortvento
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Unread post Tue May 08, 2018 11:22 am

Test L1 & L2

This test is about "Purpose and structure of the law" and "Status, rights and duties of a nation". Read the description carefully, and good luck!

https://goo.gl/forms/hCYyIic53bM96fiE3
Last edited by Fortvento on Tue May 15, 2018 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post Fri May 11, 2018 9:38 am

Amending and implementing law


Amending law

The full process of amending law in the LCRUA can be divided into three steps. First, those who want to amend the law write a proposal. Any member is legally allowed to write one, and there are no laws governing how it should be written. There is a legislative template to aid members in writing a clear and well-structured proposal, which benefits its chances of passing. Common sense is advisable as well; the author should make sure that the proposal does not conflict with existing laws it does not amend.

The second step is to gain approval of the executive power, as they are responsible for implementing it. For this approval either the President of the LCRUA or more than half of the Councillors need to approve it. The Constitution allows for a way to circumvent a proposal being blocked by the President and Council. For this there need to be at least five supporters of the proposal; it is then legally possible to be polled as a referendum. In a way, this allows the legislature to overrule the Council’s decision not to poll a proposal. The legislature lacks the authority to actually poll the referendum though; all official polls including referenda are required by law to be done by a Councillor, and Councillors can not be forced to poll anything. While legally possible, the Council blocking a referendum using its authority is likely an unpopular course of action.

Once approval is gained, the third step is to poll the proposal. This is done by a Councillor. The region should legally be informed about the poll, and when it ends about its results, although we find that in practice this is sometimes neglected by the Council. If the proposal passed the poll, for which it needs more than 50% of the votes in favour, it is immediately implemented.



Implementing law

Implementation of the law is not always equally strict; some laws are more loosely implemented, whereas others are followed strictly. An example is article V.4.C in the Constitution, which defines the four choices that should always be available in polls. Sometimes one of these choices is left out, or they are differently named, but this has so far very rarely caused a problem. There are also laws which are vague in nature and where a lot of the implementation is subject to interpretation, such as article II.2, which outlines the basic responsibilities of the Council. And then there are laws which are followed strictly, most notably laws governing officials and elections.

Laws in the LCRUA are implemented by the executive power, and the judicial power oversees that they are followed appropriately.



Referenced in this lecture
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Unread post Tue May 15, 2018 3:42 pm

Test L3 & L4

This test is about "Separation of powers 1: executive and legislative" and "Amending and implementing law". Good luck!

https://goo.gl/forms/KfUpcJmaO2X5kbXB2
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