Revised draft proposal for a policy on the Judiciary

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Diderot Mirabeau
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Revised draft proposal for a policy on the Judiciary

Post by Diderot Mirabeau »

As a general result of the ongoing 'debate' over the Judiciary I think it is timely to produce a revised draft of what our policy might be regarding the Judiciary. Specifically, the revised proposal incorporates input from what Fernando and Gxeremio have uncovered about the potential problems in allowing citizens of the CDS to draw the Judiciary and by extension the government and all of the CDS into whatever disputes they may have with mainland parties.

This is just a rough draft and I would very much like to hear your opinion on whether it might be too demanding or not sufficiently ambitious in the extent to which it imposes a Simplicity agenda on the Judiciary:

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[b:35xa870m]A. CITIZEN COMMISSION[/b:35xa870m]

1) The commission - which was open for any citizen to attend and participate in - has uncovered substantial concern among the population regarding the proposed judiciary.

2) Accordingly, there is no need for any further ponderance, discussion or issuance of a fourth survey on the matter. The people have spoken and it is now up to the parties to submit their proposal for a reform of the Judiciary for electoral scrutiny and approval/rejection.

3) The operations of the Judiciary should be suspended until such a time as the new RA has agreed on its future form and mandate.

[b:35xa870m]B. PARALLEL PROCEDURES - FREEDOM OF CHOICE
[/b:35xa870m]
1) We should establish as quickly as possible a conceptually simple, parallel procedure, which citizens could choose to use instead to arbitrate their disputes.

2) The Soothsayer procedure and the arbitration bills fit these roles and are supported by the Simplicity party.

3) The simple procedure would be supported by a collaboratively maintained wiki listing case precedent like a FAQ - organised thematically.

[b:35xa870m]C. UNFOLDING THE JUDICIARY CAUTIOUSLY - ONE STEP AT A TIME[/b:35xa870m]

1) The Judiciary should not start with all out jurisdictional competence but rather start with a very limited scope, which could be extended gradually along the way as we gain experience with its merits and in line with recommendations from the PJSP and SC.

2) Specifically, the Judiciary should in the beginning only have the power to pass verdict in the following types of cases:
- Appeals of non-citizens banished by Marshalls of the Peace for alleged griefing
- Appeals by citizens or companies of a decision taken by a government official representing the executive, which affects him/her personally
- Disputes between parties (citizen or not) over an agreement between them, which has been previously signed and notarised with the explicit provision that arbitration will be performed by the court
- Pre-emptive review of any decision by a government official taken against a citizen / company involving banishment and/or forfeiture of assets

3) The judiciary should not deal with cases where a sanction for the claimed offense can be better obtained through a parallel channel such as the LL abuse reporting procedure, DMCA procedure or through RL courts except in so far as to rule that a sanction imposed by the executive is improper to the extent that it has not followed this principle.

4) If over a period of six months from its first case it is found that the judiciary goes unused the matter should be placed on the agenda of the RA to discuss if the CDS should continue to incur expenses to maintain such a costly machinery or replace it permanently with something simpler.

[b:35xa870m]D. JUDGES[/b:35xa870m]

1) There should at any time be no less than three judges serving. The PJSP may at its discretion require a higher number of judges.

2) The PJSP should take into account when confirming a persons suitability for the position as judge the following:
- The length of time in which a person has been a citizen of the CDS
- The extent to which the individual has involved him/herself in CDS activities other than the judiciary
- The extent to which the person has expressed publicly strong convictions on the interpretation of law or the moral standing of other citizens in so far as it would have a severe impact on
(a) his ability to function as an impartial judge for the majority of the community
(b) his ability to elicit trust and goodwill for his office and the institution of the judiciary in general among the community
- The ideal of having the college of judges represent sufficiently the diversity of CDS citizens in terms of RL nationalities, outlook, gender and professional experience

3) All sitting judges should be subjected to the same qualification and confirmation procedure in order that they may be truly considered as each others peers.

[b:35xa870m]E. MISCELLANEOUS[/b:35xa870m]

1) The power of the judiciary to compel citizens to serve as jurors should be abolished since we already have citizen involvement through the simple arbitration procedure. We have already allocated funds to pay three judges a monthly salary.

2) The judiciary should not be able to force anyone to don silly robes or to call the persons serving in the capacity as judges or similar by particular names.

3) The judiciary should be obliged to produce more accessible versions of its essential documents utilising wiki-technology and people skilled in communication. A full record of all cases containing summaries, transcripts and verdicts should also be made available online.

4) The provisions of the judiciary act should be taken out of the constitution except for an article referring to the fact that there exists independent courts and that their circumstances are governed by law. The remainder of the provisions should be in a seperate act so as to restore our constitution to the readability of former days and to enable easier working conditions for the RA in continually heeding the recommendations of the PJSP.
Diderot Mirabeau
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Re: Revised draft proposal for a policy on the Judiciary

Post by Diderot Mirabeau »

I'd really appreciate your feedback on this one, guys. We need to present a shared alternative as a platform if we are to have any sort of credibility in the elections. Which parts of it are feasible and is anything too radical or accommodating?
Gxeremio Dimsum
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Good job

Post by Gxeremio Dimsum »

On a cursory reading of the suggestions, I support them, particularly the restrictions on what the court deals with (at least for the time being).
Publius Crabgrass
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Post by Publius Crabgrass »

A couple of other matters to consider:

* Simplifying administration of the Judiciary - the current structure of a Board of the Judiciary, a Chief Judge, and a Chair of the Judiciary Commission reflects a compromise trying to split power among several, but makes the situation too complex.

* The PJSP - should we simplify it out of existence, letting the RA do its jobs? should Simplicity party members run for it?

* Lifetime tenure of judges - eliminate for lots of reasons discussed elsewhere.
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Post by Diderot Mirabeau »

[quote="Publius Crabgrass":3eeg77zl]A couple of other matters to consider:

* Simplifying administration of the Judiciary - the current structure of a Board of the Judiciary, a Chief Judge, and a Chair of the Judiciary Commission reflects a compromise trying to split power among several, but makes the situation too complex.

* The PJSP - should we simplify it out of existence, letting the RA do its jobs? should Simplicity party members run for it?

* Lifetime tenure of judges - eliminate for lots of reasons discussed elsewhere.[/quote:3eeg77zl]

Publius thanks for your feedback! I have a few questions in extension of it:

I'm all for letting another body do the job of the PJSP. In my view it would be better if the SC did it, though. They need something to do anyway and we want the RA to be able to consider all our progressive proposals in the coming term so let's not bog them down in too many operational matters and get them further blocked by the judiciary debate than they already are.

How do you propose concretely that we simplify the complex of "board of judiciary", "chief judge" and "judiciary commission"?

Lifetime tenure has its advantages and disadvantages. What is the main response to the argument that
(1) you risk getting worse judges if constantly renewing the pool
(2) you may even run out of talent at one time
(3) it might burden the recruiting organs unnecessarily if they have to do the paperwork of judicial qualification and confirmation on an ongoing basis?

And finally what do you propose that the term length should be for our judges?
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Post by Gxeremio Dimsum »

Thanks for your feedback Gxeremio. I have a few further questions in extension of them. Excuse me if I am a bit brief in the below but I'm about to leave for an appointment:

[quote="Gxeremio Dimsum":30robxp3]We should avoid getting confused about terms of office, and term limits. I don't know that anyone has seriously proposed term limits for judges, but terms of office are a good idea, say 6 months at a time, staggered into the 3rd month of each RA term, and terms of office that are renewable. [/quote:30robxp3]
But what mechanism would you recommend for re-nomination that does not carry the risk of becoming a vessel for suppressing judicial independence?

[quote="Gxeremio Dimsum":30robxp3]What if the judiciary oversight organ, whatever it be, consisted of all the judges, a chosen rep (or two) from among the RA, and a chosen rep (or two) from among the SC?[/quote:30robxp3]
Why not just let it be under the supervision of the SC?


[quote:30robxp3]Here's how I get that count, by the way:
RA - 6 or 7
Chancellor - 1
Judiciary - 3 or more
SC - 2 or more[/quote:30robxp3]
There are 5 members of the SC and 5 (or 7) in the RA
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Post by Flyingroc Chung »

[quote="Diderot Mirabeau":1q7vwfpo]
Lifetime tenure has its advantages and disadvantages. What is the main response to the argument that
(1) you risk getting worse judges if constantly renewing the pool
(2) you may even run out of talent at one time
(3) it might burden the recruiting organs unnecessarily if they have to do the paperwork of judicial qualification and confirmation on an ongoing basis?
[/quote:1q7vwfpo]

Hi, I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes, not being in the Simplicity party, but...

(1) and (2) can be addressed by not having fixed term limits, but rather a process of reevaluation and recertification. (3) can be addressed by having the period needed before recertification long enough (say 18 or 24 months -- or longer, once cds is more stable).

Another, perhaps more palatable alternative is required sabbaticals. My main concern with lifetime terms is that it could give rise to insularism, and stagnation of thought. A sabbatical (say 3 months out of every 12) will help the judge step out of the day to day business of running the judiciary and help him reevaluate his own role in it. The hope is that by taking a break, the person will find a fresh perspective.

If you stagger the appointment of judges correctly, you can ensure that there are competent judges in the judiciary at all times. Sabbaticals also do not give rise to the problems (1) (2) and (3) raised above.

I'd still really rather see some sort reevaluation process; but required vacations might be something that is palatable to everyone.
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Post by Publius Crabgrass »

Simplifying judicial administration - let the judges pick one of their number as being in charge for a set term, maybe overlapping the RA.

Judicial terms - 6 months or even one year renewable -- and not tied to the RA terms. There are enough talented people to take on this role, and lifetime tenure leads to arrogance. Simpler judicial qualification procedures (don't need the complex ones if we do away with lifetime tenure) won't be a burden.
Diderot Mirabeau
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Post by Diderot Mirabeau »

Okay what do you all say to the following:

PJSP is disbanded.

Max term length for any judge is 9 months followed by a mandatory 3 months "cooling off" period after which a potential re-nomination has to be supported by a majority of the present judges?

Number of judges and judicial code determined by RA after proposal from the judiciary. In the judiciary the code and number will be proposed by the Chief Judge but must be approved by a majority of the judges.

The Chief Judge is elected for six months by a majority of the present judges.

Qualification requirements for first time applicants set by the Chief Judge and approved by the RA. First time applicants need furthermore be confirmed by the SC.

I am not sure that this will be workable in practice but I'm sure you can give me the reasons why/who not :-)
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Post by Diderot Mirabeau »

I just noticed that I have by mistake pressed the wrong button when replying to your contribution, Gxeremio. It seems that by mistake I pressed the "edit" button (a button available to moderators .. that I generally oppose on principle since nobody should be allowed to edit other people's posts) instead of the "quote" button and that I did not notice this - probably because I was in a hurry as indicated in the text.

I offer my sincere apologies for this regrettable mistake. If you wish to demand my resignation as an SC member on the grounds of abuse of power I will step down without any contest.

[quote="Gxeremio Dimsum":3q2giwwm]Thanks for your feedback Gxeremio. I have a few further questions in extension of them. Excuse me if I am a bit brief in the below but I'm about to leave for an appointment:

[quote="Gxeremio Dimsum":3q2giwwm]We should avoid getting confused about terms of office, and term limits. I don't know that anyone has seriously proposed term limits for judges, but terms of office are a good idea, say 6 months at a time, staggered into the 3rd month of each RA term, and terms of office that are renewable. [/quote:3q2giwwm]
But what mechanism would you recommend for re-nomination that does not carry the risk of becoming a vessel for suppressing judicial independence?

[quote="Gxeremio Dimsum":3q2giwwm]What if the judiciary oversight organ, whatever it be, consisted of all the judges, a chosen rep (or two) from among the RA, and a chosen rep (or two) from among the SC?[/quote:3q2giwwm]
Why not just let it be under the supervision of the SC?


[quote:3q2giwwm]Here's how I get that count, by the way:
RA - 6 or 7
Chancellor - 1
Judiciary - 3 or more
SC - 2 or more[/quote:3q2giwwm]
There are 5 members of the SC and 5 (or 7) in the RA[/quote:3q2giwwm]
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