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Denayi Law and Administraton

"Law separates man from beasts. No kine ever accepted the fang of wolf, and called it justice."

--- Jibbon nar Flark




Formally speaking, Circle holds absolute power over the Republic. However, the Circle has developed or co-opted various institutions, which it consults on issues of import, such as parliaments representing the interests of the home world and the provinces. It also regularly hears its senior servants, the governors, the nobility, and the military on issues affecting their domains. So long as its servants govern well, the Circle tends to leave them alone, paying close attention to the military, but allowing most issues of day to day administration and law to devolve to the governors and local custom.

The nobility forms one of the mainstays of the administration. The Denayi Republic recognizes many different types and degrees of nobility: from the petty nobles whose power and influence is confined to a single city on a single world, to the intra-mundal nobility who frequent the courts of their World’s governor, to the mighty Republican High nobility, whose reach extends across many worlds, and whose feuding decides who will sit on the Circle itself.

The High Nobility provides most of the candidates for governors, judges, generals and other high officials. Their sons also bolster the ranks of the Uukaptai or the local officer corps. With their immense wealth (sometimes their estates cover entire continents), they form a counter-balance to the power of governors – when they are not governors themselves. So long as the Circle controls the High Nobility, whether by fear or favor, a successful revolt on any World is nearly impossible.

The Lesser Nobility, although more limited in its influence, also serves its purpose, and indeed forms main conduit by which the Republic governs its provinces. Governors prefer to co-opt local holders of power into their system, acculturating the greatest of them to Denayi ways, even increasing their power relative to the common people. In return, the governors hold the local elites responsible for collecting taxes, maintaining order, and quelling the seditious. Should they fail to do so, the governors may call upon the Uukaptai to replace the elites with someone more pliant.

The Denayi law-codes are quite varied, and each World experiences overlap of jurisdiction. At the most local level, each region of the Republic has its own laws and customs, which the administration respects when it does not conflict with Republican interests. Thus in provinces, the people follow their traditional religions, speak their own languages, and settle their differences in their own courts. Thus regional codes of law vary enormously from place to place.

Denayi’s own civil and criminal codes (often called Republican law) applies only in those cases where regional laws conflict, that involves servants of the Republic, the military or members of the High nobility. Denayi law also serves as the law of appeal. In areas where Denayi rule has been long established, Denayi law (or its derivatives) is often the local law as well, as centuries of contact have created legal conformity.

Denayi civil and criminal law has been shaped by years of rational systemization, and is surprisingly humane, given the constraints under which it must operate. It grants wide latitude to the legislative power of the Circle and its agents, and permits judges to initiate and research cases. Thus it most resembles the Roman law of our own world.

Personal privileges vary widely under Republican law. Slavery and serfdom are almost unknown, but the law recognizes many forms of temporary indenture – for soldiers, for civil servants, even for concubines. All of these persons are formally free, but must temporarily serve their designated master, who often possesses the right of usufruct over their bodies and property. Noble status also grants certain privileges, depending on its degree – usually exemption from taxes, fines or military duties, and a right to "noble" forms of punishment and execution, such as beheading, rather than hanging.

Criminal law provides for swift punishment, usually corporal, as the Republic has no extensive prison system. Lashes, mutilations and branding are common; execution most often takes the form of hanging. Despite the system’s brutality, it nevertheless is less cruel and inventive than those of, say, the European ancien regime of our own world. Torture is sometimes used for interrogation, but is rarely an end in itself. Execution is usually by hanging.

Even in peacetime, however, banditry, inefficiency and corruption often hamper the exercise of justice. The Denayi Republic’s reach and aims more closely resemble early modern states of our own world than they do modern bureaucratic societies. The military usually serves as a police force, and the rich double as officials; neither may be especially interested in protecting the rights of the weak. The cure for such corruption is often worse than the corruption itself – for the Uukaptai themselves are often unleashed upon corrupt governors and revolts alike, and during direct military rule, normal legal procedures are suspended in favor of naked force.



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