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[ Class Logs ] Treatise on Pernise Law ] Basic Law ] Letter vs. Spirit ] [ Advanced Law ]



Fletcher smiles as he peers around at everyone. "Well! Quite a few people...advanced law!"

Caramak glances up at Fletcher..."What, did I stumble my way into a lesson...? Oh, goody..." He sits up and rubs his hands gleefully at the prospect of whupping some Apps ;)

Fletcher chuckles to Caramak and bows respectfully to Lady Efette. "Ah! Glad you could join us, Lady!"

Caramak stops rubbing gleefully long enough to wave hello to Efette. 

Efette laughs. She smiles at Caramak, waving as she walks over to the group

Jayla smiles and nods to Efette then looks askance at Caramak remembering the last time he thought he was going to teach her something she didn't know.

Fletcher waves everyone into a seat as he sinks into his plush comfychair by the fireplace. "Have a seat, all. We might be here a while."

Caramak can't read Jayla's mind, but if he could he would stick his fingers in his ears, waggle them, and give a big raspberry, dignity be sharded ;)

Keersa leans back against the end of the couch. She grins over to Efette in greeting.

Efette grins at Keersa, waving as she takes a seat 


Jayla sits back and innocently looks at the ceiling, a slight smile on her lips.

Caramak remains, fortunately, completely oblivious to Jayla's thoughts, and waits for Fletcher's opening...His brain needs a good run through the ringer.

Fletcher folds his hands neatly in his lap and seems to think for a moment. "Now, I'll assume you've all had the basics of law. These are, of course, essential for understanding the more advanced concepts of our system of law. The Pernese legal system, as you all know, is far from formal. It consists rather of the ideals of each of the Lords, Craftmasters, and Weyrleaders
combined with what the Ancients set forth in our culture. Most of our 'law' is merely enforced social norms. If, for example, killing was socially acceptable on Pern, it would probably be legal. But it's not so it isn't. In fact, I can think of no written documentation on Pernese law in general except for my own treatise on the subject. So, law is subjective rather than

Efette's brain, UN fortunately, stopped working a few hours ago. She simply sits and stares with a blank look on her face.

Caramak considers this statement, and doesn't call it into question.

Jayla nods. "So, in some cases, the law can actually change with a change of leadership."

Fletcher sits forward a bit in his chair and glances once in each of the student's eyes. "The problems arise, therefore, when areas with different social values clash. Or, more importantly, when areas with leaders who have different perceptions about law come into conflict. The hardest parts of dealing with Pernese law is the crossover between Hold, Hall, and Weyr. The reason for this is, of course, that every area is sovereign and the leader have absolute jurisdiction in that area. So what happens when someone not normally in the leader's area enters it? They're subject to that leader's jurisdiction, of course. Yes, very true, Jayla. Lord Trew, for example, based his law larger on justice whereas I based my law on honour." 

Caramak frowns. "Can you clarify what you mean, by that distinction between yourself and Trew?"

Keersa slips into a daydream. Keersa has disconnected.

Fletcher nods to Caramak. "Certainly. Lord Trew was very largely concerned with an eye for an eye sort of law. He believed that if you harmed someone, you yourself should be harmed the same way. My belief was more that if you harmed someone in an honourable way, you shouldn't be punished. So if a duel was fought and you killed the other person, it wasn't murder. It was an honourable duel. See the difference? Lord Trew never really had to deal with such a situation, but I did when Seamus was brought to trial."

Caramak nods, "Gotcha. Don't think Trew would've convicted Seamus either, but I see what you're saying."

Fletcher grins and opines, "True, but it would have been for different reasons. Any other questions thusfar?"

Jayla looks thoughtful for a minute and then shakes her head no.

Caramak nods, but means the same as Jayla, as indicated by his lack of question to follow gesture.

Fletcher nods to the group and sinks back into the plushness of his chair. "Good then. So, the problem arises when areas conflict. What should you do if you're the Lady of a Hold and a Harper commits a crime in it? Legally, that Harper is under your jurisdiction. POLITICALLY, the Lady would consult with the local Harper about any sort of punishment to be meted out."

Caramak considers. "And likewise with a Holder in a CraftHall, such as Malkan, and the flit Hatching."

Jayla listens quietly and nods.

Fletcher smiles and nods to Caramak. "Exactly right. Although, considering Malkan was a Lord, you couldn't REALLY do anything to him. Good example: If another leader is in your area, you really can't DO anything to them except expel them. You can't incarcerate them, arrest them, or anything else. The only bodies which can do that are a Lord's Conclave, a Craft Conclave, or the Weyrwoman for a Weyrleader acting up. The Weyrs don't have any formal organization, and the Crafts are virtually non-existant as a whole entity. This is because any Craftmaster who should be punished will be by the other Masters in the Craft, normally by being removed as the Craftmaster." 

Caramak nods. No arguments so far.

Jayla smiles. "Three different heirarchies."

Fletcher observes, "In fact, any violence done to a leader by another leader or someone in another leader's area which the leader won't punish can be dealt with by the same body as mentioned above. There was an incident a bit ago during a Lord's Conclave where a Lord and some Rider fought it out at Fort Sea Hold. You remember, Caramak? You wrote a song about it. I can't believe nothing was done to that Rider. I think Lady Aislyn was very much in the wrong for letting the duel continue, and I can't understand why Master Oriana was stopped from breaking it up.

Caramak shakes his head. "Wish I'd been there. Don't think it would have continued...I'm a little harder to restrain in situations like that." 

Jayla listens with interest. This is one story she's unfamiliar with.

Fletcher observes, "The Lord's Conclave SHOULD have done something about the Rider, but they didn't. Well, I was there obstensibly as my father's bodyguard... I would have jumped in had the Harper given me some signal, but she motioned me back, which was too bad... Anyways, that was an incident of the whole system just breaking down. Law is only persued so far as the people involved wish to. If no one wishes vengence or justice, the law is forgotten. Since that Lord was universally disliked, no one raised much of an outcry except for Caramak's poignant song."

Caramak considers, "You heard this, Jayla...? There's not much more than you've just heard to it, really."

Jayla shakes her head. "No, I've never heard this before....but I see the point Fletcher is trying to make...basically there is no /formal/ law on Pern...that most of what exists is whatever the particular leadership puts in place."

Fletcher nods enthusiastically. "That's it exactly. Now, what if two leaders have a difference of opinion? Or, say, a crime is committed in Ista Hold and the criminal runs into the Harper Hall? This is where law meshes with politics to a high degree. Legally, the Harpers have jurisdiction over the criminal. Practically, they'd better work with the Lady Holder and anyone
else involved if they expect to stay on good terms with the Hold!" 


Caramak nods, "Although that could be a big if," he adds, then quiets again. 

Fletcher grins. "And then it just becomes the case of Caramak's Law Quandry as the parties try to reconcile any differences between them. Oh, also, some other laws tend to be universal, but largely because the HarperCraft polices them and we're all over. The chief among these is marriage. For a marriage to be legal, it must be witnessed and recorded by a Harper Journeyman, though to the Journeyman need not perform the ceremony."

Fletcher peers at the students. "So why make marriage a legal institution?" he poses to the group.

Caramak has a simple answer, but that would lead them back to the discussion of whether humans are basically good or not, so he waits to see what the others come up with...

Jayla frowns slightly. "Hmmm....that's an interesting question...never really thought about it before. When I think about marriage, I don't think about it from a /legal/ standpoint, but more from a complete and total committment between two people."

Fletcher nods slowly. "So why legalize it at all? Why require a Harper to be there to make it official? Couldn't two people just vow to devote themselves to eachother infront of a witness or some friends, or even just together?" 

Efette blinks a little :P

Jayla shakes her head. "I guess if two people decide to share their lives together to the extent that the build a home, furnish it and have children that some system would need to be in place to protect one if something happened to the other. I guess it  could be looked at from a property standpoint that way."

Efette says, "Because it is binding in more ways than in just one man to one woman..."

Caramak adds, "I'd say the legal part arrises because some people have broken said commitment. There's more in a legal bind, for some people, than an emotional one. /I/ don't see it that way, but hey. Not everyone's alike. With the legal implications associated with breaking out of a marriage, people are more careful about going in, and have commitment to children, even after a marriage ends..."

Fletcher nods to this slowly. "So, basically, when you get married, everything is communal property and if anything happens to one partner, the other inherits. But, recall, there's very little tha people OWN. We don't have many THINGS or possessions. Well, Lady Efette, all two people have to do is go to a Harper and say, "We want to nullify our marriage." and it's done."

Jayla laughs softly. "Of course, there are marriages that are arranged more for convenience or for political reasons also."

Efette meant it in a sense as of questions of lineage :)

Fletcher ahhhs to Caramak! "Children! Something I always forget because I rather dislike the rugwherries. Yes, who will take care of the children if there is a split? The two could agree to it, but that may not occur, particularly if one partner is going far away. In such a case, who'se to say who gets the child, then? Any ideas?"

Caramak shakes his head. "Case by case, on that one, Fletcher. I wouldn't make that decision without /all/ the information."

Fletcher nods to Caramak. "But there's someone who always has ultimate say and has to make the Decision. Who?"

Jayla nods at Caramak. "But in most cases, the mother usually winds up with them, if nothing more but from a nurturing standpoint."

Fletcher points out to Jayla, "A bad principle to follow. Note Jueann's madness and Seamus getting the children for a time."

Jayla grins. "Ahh...but I said usually....there are exceptions to everything in life."

Efette goes home.

Fletcher smirks and nods. "So, in answer to my own question, it's the area leader. If a Harper is posted to a Hold, the Lady Holder gets to decide to whom the children go to."

Fletcher directs to Jayla, "So if they make the decision, why am I bothering with telling you all of this, since YOU won't have to decide!"

Jayla smiles slightly. "Because as a Harper, I should be able to /advise/ the Lady Holder as to her duties in the matter."

Fletcher grins and nods. "Which is which number stricture in the Basic Law Strictures?"

Caramak looks askance at Fletcher...Heck, he's a Master, /he/ doesn't need to know that... ;) Although he does (he hopes ;)
Jayla shrugs. "Sorry....couldn't tell ya...I haven't had any Basic Law Strictures."

Fletcher nods and answers, "Number three. Harpers serve solely as advisors except when specifically called upon to give judgement in one case or when in their own area. Okay then... Hmm, I lost my train of thought."

Jayla smiles slightly. "Oh that! I just never heard you call it a 'stricture' before...sorry, my fault."

Fletcher grins and nods. "All right. So, now, who controls the dissemination of information, especially legal, on Pern? We do- the Harpers. So why, do you think, we haven't taken over jurisdiction of judging legal cases. I think a majority of the leaders would grant us that because we're known as being fair. So... why don't we?"

Caramak thinks he's been over this before with Fletcher, so doesn't respond himself. Let new blood speak, or something like that. 

Jayla thinks a minute. "Could be because if we started making judgments we could no longer be fair and objective but would start deciding issues in our own favor...shaping Pern to what the Harpers thought it should be." 

Fletcher hmms and nods. "Many people would say that isn't a bad thing, though. But, more importantly, Harpers reflect the state of the society. As society changes, the Harpers change. So, really, we wouldn't be changing anything in
a radical way. For example, during the Eight Pass, it was accepted for a dragonrider to go and take whatever he wanted from the Holds or Craft and they were happy to give it. In our Pass, if a Rider did that, you can bet he'd be considered a criminal! And the Harpers help to regulate that and transform it across Pern. So I can't agree with that. Why else?" 

Caramak considers deeply. "Well. We're a different society unto ourselves, to a certain extent. But that doesn't seem to be the major reason. Perhaps the real reason would be that that would make Harpers, to a large extent into Lord Holders, which we already have. Our education prepares us for a certain mode of thinking, which I think is right, but the Lord's prepare them for another, which, while it doesn't always seem to confer morals, does confer more political savvy than your average Harper needs to possess. The Lord is, thus, more specialized in his field of expertise, which is why we haven't done away with the system...Although, I think it might use a bit of adjustment, from time to time."

Jayla frowns slightly. "But how can we be objective advisors and stand in judgment at the same time? Not only that, if the Harpers are given the power of jurisdiction in legal matters, then the power belonging to the Lord Holders would be diminished."


Caramak nods, "And that might not be a /bad/ thing, just one the LH's wouldn't like. And one that would disrupt the power balance on Pern." 


Caramak considers. "But if we can truly stay objective as advisors, sitting in judgement should be equal objective, ie, fair."

Fletcher observes, "But if Harpers began teaching that the Harpers are the ones who make judgements... I see your point, Caramak, and it's an astute observation. Now, consider. Say we, as Harpers, could control people actions or thoughts if we wanted to. How would people perceive us if we used this awesome power very much?"

Caramak says, "Tyrants. Oppressors."

Jayla shakes her head. "But I don't agree with the point that we could be both advisors and judges. It's one thing to know the letter of the law and relay to someone else, but a judge, especially on Pern, doesn't necessarily have to follow the letter of that law."

Fletcher nods slowly to Caramak. "A little harsher words than I would use, but yes. Why?" Fletcher grins to Jayla. "I agree. Though I think that's a secondary issue to the one which I'm persuing..."

Caramak shakes his head, "I'll argue /that/ later. As for the tyranny, what could be a more oppresive form of control than thought control? /Nothing/ would be safe, then. Not even the inner confines of the mind." 


Fletcher nods very slowly. "And what if we used those powers in such moderation so that they weren't often used, but when they were it was for a noble and important purpose?" 

Jayla thinks a minute. "Well, I think most people see the need for boundaries and structure as much for the protection of themselves and their property and for the protection of others. But other than that, they usually resist any type of control or interference."

Caramak considers. "That's a tougher question. I would say /direct/ thought control would be a violation of the person controlled, so I wouldn't use it, /even then/. The ends don't justify the means. Thought /influence/, through arguments or speach are another matter altogether." 

Fletcher hmmms softly to this, thinking for a long moment. "Here's what I'm getting at. If we decided things on Pern, we wouldn't be viewed as benevolent Harpers who were always unbiased anymore, EVEN IF WE WERE. Because we have
this immense power, people would naturally fear us and defeat the entire purpose of our existance."

Caramak nods, "I can agree with that..."

Jayla nods in agreement.

Fletcher grins and observes, "People fear power, particularly immense power. Power attracts the corruptible. Absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptible. Before we go off on that tangent, though... any questions on law?"

Jayla shakes her head no.

Caramak shakes his head in agreement.

Logfile from ?





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