Server law is the rules and regulations set forth by the community and Head Administrator of the server. It has the ability to dictate in entirety, the actions and things you are allowed to do on the server. Server law is divided into a hierarchy of power which grants varying levels of sovereignty to different governing entities on the server. This hierarchy is usually presented like this:
- Server Constitution - This is the supreme law of the land. The constitution's rules are held to be ultimate laws which cannot be violated by any of the inferior entities. The laws set forth by the constitution dictate how the Ultimate Sovereign Power will act, how laws may be set, and how laws may be nullified. It even dictates that this hierarchy exist.
- Ultimate Sovereign Power - The ultimate sovereign power is the entity which controls the Ultimate Sovereign State. This entity, set up by the constitution is the only power able to directly alter the constitution by way of Constitutional Amendment, and is the only power which has complete control over the server other than the constitution. The ultimate sovereign state acts like a super-continent. It has the ability to grant other continents continent-ship and it has the ability to enforce laws called Sovereign Acts which must be followed by all other continents.
- Continental Power - Continental power is the power confided within individual continents to govern their respective land. This power is granted to any continent recognized by the ultimate sovereign power, usually by way of Continental Charter. Continental power, unlike the previous two powers, does not have the ability to govern outside of the boundaries of their governed land. Basically, one continent cannot enact a law which affects any of the entities under the rule of a different continent. Continental power DOES however have the ability to set building or municipal regulations, unlike the ultimate sovereign power.
- Municipal Power - Municipal power is the power confided within individual municipalities to govern their respective land. Unlike continental power, municipal power is granted not by the ultimate sovereign power, but by the continent to which the municipality belongs, usually by way of Municipal Charter. (although this can only be done by an entity which actually HAS continental power) Municipal power, otherwise, is a lot like continental power, in that it can be used to govern and set laws within the land that the municipality in question governs. But like continental power, it is limited to governing only the land in question.
- Proprietor Power - Proprietor power is the power confided within individual property owners to govern their property. Unlike the previous powers, proprietor power is granted AUTOMATICALLY to any lawful structure built within the boundaries of a municipality, or anywhere on the server for that matter. Although it does come from a municipality, that municipality is forced to grant that power by the continent. (which is forced to force the municipality by the ultimate sovereign power, which is forced to force continents to force municipalities to grant that power by the constitution. The hierarchy of power, ladies and gentlemen.) Proprietor power is the most limited of the powers, but this is because only limited power is necessary usually. Property, which is what proprietor power is concerned with, is usually not "governed" by anyone under the municipality, since at that point, it's usually too small to actually govern. This power is usually concerned with buildings and the like, and although you DO have the right to go up to the top of your tower and decree that "IN THIS TOWER IT SHALL BE ILLEGAL TO PLACE SPONGE!" you'll look like a bit of a lunatic doing so. However although it is the most limited, it is also the most protected. Rights guaranteed in the server constitution set forth certain rules which must be followed by a continent or municipality under extreme penalty of the law. (Like, depending on severity, losing continental or municipal power is one of the possible outcomes. Serious stuff.)
How the Law is Applied
Generally speaking, the law is applied in the following manner:
- First and foremost, in order for any law to be applied, it must be determined if the case is actionable. In server law, the government takes a passive approach to governing which means that it will not take action against anyone or anything unless the case is brought before the government. That being said, the government can bring the case before itself, but this is rare, and is only applied to specific laws. For most laws in which disputes can happen, (property disputes, for example) a case will need to be made to the government in order for the dispute to even begin to be resolved.
- Providing that the government determines that there is an actionable case, the case will then be tried. Trails occur through listening to testimony, reviewing server logs, and considering empirical evidence. Based upon the evidence presented, the government will choose from one of three possible outcomes: Verdict for the plaintiff/prosecution, verdict for the defense, or no verdict. These outcomes determine what action the government will take:
- Verdict for the Plaintiff/Prosecution - A verdict for the plaintiff/prosecution, (the title depends on if the case is a civil or criminal case) means that the court has sided with the party who brought the case before the court. If the court rules in this manner, the likely action the government will take is to penalize the defense in some manner.
- Verdict for the Defense - A verdict for the defense means that the court has sided with the party who is being tried. In other words, the person who the plaintiff/prosecution is acting against. If the court sides with the defense, the action the government takes depends on the status quo. If the status quo is fair to the defense, they will likely do nothing. If it is not, they will correct it to make it fair to the defense. In some cases, it is possible for the plaintiff/prosecution to be penalized if the verdict goes to the defense, especially if they committed perjury or if they themselves broke a law in bringing the case before court.
- No Verdict - No verdict means that the court has found no party to be right. This can happen in special situations where the government neither sides with the plaintiff/prosecution or the defense. It is rare for the court to do this, but when it does, the court will either do nothing, or in some cases, penalize both parties.
- After the case has been tried, and the court has made a decision, the government with jurisdiction over the case will implement the changes requested by the court. If the court requests that a building be torn down, the government will have to implement those changes. Furthermore, any action taken by any party undoing the decision of the court is illegal. Undoing the actions handed down by a verdict is called "usurpation of the court" and it can be tried as a criminal offense, resulting in further penalization of the party responsible.
- After the court hands down its verdict, and implements the changes requested, the case is laid to rest. However, a higher court can challenge the verdict by re-trying the case. In order for this to happen however, the court must find that the verdict handed down is in violation of a law under their jurisdiction. If however a higher court does determine that the verdict is in violation, the whole process can start all over. This can happen until the case is tried in the highest court, the Zaffarian Supreme Court. A verdict handed down within the Zaffarian Supreme Court is always final, and can never be retried. It is still however possible for cases to be overturned at this level, but through a legislative process rather than a judicial one. That is to say, cases from the supreme court can be overturned, but only by a sovereign act or a Constitutional Amendment. Since such acts constitute a monumental change to server law, the possibility of any given case being overturned in this manner is extremely low. The possibility does exist though.
The following are a few key points you should know about server law. It is your duty to know and follow the law as a member of the server. "Ignorance of the law is not an excuse." That being said, server law is quite complex, and you're not expected to memorize every part of it. This overview will provide you with a general framework of how the law works, and what type of stuff is legal versus illegal.
- Generally speaking, it is illegal to touch anyone else's stuff without their permission.(S.C. Art. I, § I & § II)
- Exceptions do exist for this rule, but to the general citizen, this is steadfast. Even in the exceptional cases, you need legal backing in order to touch anyone else's creations.
- Likewise, governors of property such as continents and municipalities have the right to have their laws respected and followed. (S.C. Art. I, § III)
- Intent is generally taken in to account when interpreting the law. If someone has good intentions but has made a mistake, the law will generally be easier on them, potentially offering up to a full pardon.
- That being said, common sense is also taken into account. In other words, if you did something wrong that everyone should know is wrong, the law will probably be harsher on you.
- In addition, in cases of repeated offenses, this clause starts to become less and less powerful. The more you break a particular law, even if your intentions are good, the less favorable the law will look on you.
- The concept of "property" in the eyes of server law is generally viewed to be an intrinsic quality which is established by the person who first establishes the physical manifestation of the idea of that property. This is a long way of saying, "if you started building it first, it's yours." It doesn't matter if other people helped you along the way. If you were the first one, it belongs to you. (S.C. Art. V, § I & § V)
- It is expected that all members of the server obey the commands of any member of the server's Cabinet. These elite server members are there to protect not only you, but others as well. You can think of them kind of like police officers.
- That said, if a cabinet member is causing issues, you should tell another cabinet member, or the Head Administrator immediately.
- Members of the server are expected to be cordial toward one another, and respect not just the creations of others, but their rights as well. This server is founded on a huge amount of trust between people, so causing any sort of disharmony is almost universally frowned upon.
Laws by Hierarchical Power Level
The following is a list of links which lead to pages with either more lists, or a page describing the laws and rules set forth by each of the hierarchical levels and subdivisions. As you read through them, remember how the hierarchy of power works: a law passed by a jurisdiction can only effect the jurisdiction in which it has been passed as well as any jurisdictions under it. Basically, if a continent passes a law saying that putting lights down anywhere is not allowed, don't get in a tizzy unless that law effects you. That law will ONLY effect any municipalities or pieces of property under it. If it is your belief that a law passed by a jurisdiction is unjust, voice your opinion! Let the server administrators know! Nothing can be done about it unless you tell someone, so let your voice be heard!