Of Kings and Men
On Common Law
“…Common Law is an essential to understand system that is used by the clanless, the low-born and others who are not part of clans. It is a fairly simple legal methodology to understand, exemplified by respect for life, imprisonment rather than execution, and monetary payments for smaller infractions.
Very often, separate villages form their own manor court, a small court consisting of the village elders, a member of one of The Low Houses and a servant of The High Clans. Then, villagers are divided into tenths – ten villagers who must watch over each other and make sure that those who are part of their tenth and break the law are brought before the manor court.
The manor court also often contains a jury, a gathering of villagers and warriors who will decide whether the accused is guilty by evaluating the evidence. Their decision can be overturned by a unanimous agreement of the judges.
Outsiders are punished by the manor court as well, but they are tried without jury. On occasions where their crimes are serious, they are taken to a castle or city to be tried under Clan Law.
Generally, these examples will be considered breaches of Common Law:
Stealing – this is normally punished by removal of one of the hands when cows are stolen, or a hefty fine and confiscation of stolen property in other cases.
Adultery – this is normally punished by confiscation of property and imprisonment.
Kidnapping – this is punished by a lengthy imprisonment.
Witchcraft – this is punished by a lengthy imprisonment and removal of magical abilities.
Necromancy – this is punished by a lengthy imprisonment and removal of magical abilities.
Rebellion/Treason – this is punished by execution.
Vagrancy – this is punished by a short imprisonment.
Smuggling – this is punished by imprisonment and a hefty fine.
Arson – this is punished by lengthy imprisonment.
Betrayal – this is punished by a hefty fine and short imprisonment.
Rape – a hefty fine and imprisonment until the criminal is sold as a thrall or a servant.
Illegal Murder – a form of murder when a person is killed for reasons that do not justify the action – seeking to acquire wealth, land or other property; revenge of the petty sort and many other reasons. The opposite, where a murder is justified by sufficiently serious reasons is known as Justified Murder. However, either the ring of the village the intended subject of justified murder lives in or a clan court must be informed and judge the murder justified before it will be considered thus.
Punished by banishment or execution, depending on the wishes of the family of the deceased or his village ring.
There are many other ways to breach Common Law, of course, and they all can’t be listed here, therefore you should attempt to maintain the Clan’s peace at all times and act as a guest should – with restraint and politeness."