Below is one post of our discussion for the law and judicial proceeding
system of Esrolia in HW-jp mailing list, I translated without enough
knowledge about international law affairs and accurate terms for lawsuits.
Special thanks for the author of originial post for his permission and great help.
 (Only available for HW-jp members.)

 Below is my opinion and impression for this matter.

From Senndai No Kakyaku
Jurisdiction and Dispute Resolution in Esrolia

 Hello, this is my first post to HW-jp ml list. Though I haven't research
enough about the HW setting and discussion seems close to conclusion, I
cannot help putting my own opinion upon about law and lawsuit system. But
below is not of result of enough research.

<<I think the primal role of ancient kings is judge even long before King
Solomon throughout this World.>>

 I agree in a level to his opinion that is the basic service of a man of
power that he has the right to resolve disputes finally no matter of the
compliance of defeated party (Adjudication). As Nayuta said, if there are no
disputes, it
means that there is no need for judging [as Green Age]. But the premise for
the conception of law school that disputes unavoidably occur in every
society.....and I dare to say that is the realism of Glorantha.....

 I should confirm here that a matter of discussion can be divided into two.
First, the matter that the form of Esrolia System categorized by the
main constituent which grasp jurisdiction. Second, the matter if judge is
the basic service for the man (woman?) of power, concretely how the disputes are
resolved by them. In other words, the form of lawsuits themselves also
should be treated.

 1. Decentralization Law Structure of Esrolia and seats of its Jurisdiction

 In RW, it was very current event in modern time that "states" began to
monopolize "soverignty" including jurisdiction, about this subject of
discussion already the matter nearly seems to conclude that there is
clannish decentralized system in Esrolia. Of course, the system above
mentioned is not systemized / utilized as RW modern "united" States.

 The matter should be considered from the point of view to how the
decentralized form overshadowing the jurisdiction of each lawsuits and how
should be narrated in scenarios.

<<If queen have to do with troubles of low-level subjects, I think I can let
her in scenario without unreasonable situation, can't I?>>

 At the head of my opinion here above, I wrote that adjudication = basic
service of authority, in the other words, judging in lawsuit means that
exercising her right of power jurisdiction, an action to keep / confirm / insist her power.
On contrary, if an authority tried but failed to use its jurisdiction, it
means that it was robbed / lost power. (Our common example, like the affair
treated in RW mass communication a trial about American Soldier that commits crimes
stationed inside Japan,)

<<Extraterritorial rights>>

 In short, you shouldn't take image that "kings who face grave troubles for
subjects bring many lawsuits". I think you should have more image that each
authority tends to aggressively concern lawsuits for keeping / enlarging
their power. And on the background of the clannish society, if there is a
decentralized / overlapped national system in Esrolia, I suppose I can make
an image that each of powers strive to enlarge their own jurisdiction to
cover. (I think most common example for it is that conflict between lay
(secular) law court and church court of Medieval Age Europe.) If you permit
me to say more, although one power terminally concluded a lawsuit, another party
(try to acquire more power) accepts (de facto) appealing.

 Concretely for example, politically / religiously / socially important
affair (e.g., Lunar Merchant assassinated) occurred, it can be a political
dispute about that which party (nearest clan, queens, or the suspects should
be extradited to Empire....?) should treat it. I suppose easy to make a sort
of like a scenario:  PCs want to secure / capture (if no one doesn't capture
him yet, it means competition....) the suspect ( such case, it
is not so important whether he actually do it or not.) / important witnesses
for one party. If PCs work for a queen, it might be a good ED scene that the
lawsuit that she attend.

 2. System of Esrolian Lawsuits and Judicial Proceedings

 Terra (Translator):
<<In Japanese, inevitably we have an image to lawsuit that runs justice
applied from an established Law (like in Dara Happan or Lunar "Yelmic

 I agree that such "Rule Application Model" is a current one and not sole
available form of judicial proceeding.

 Before RW modern age, there is no law a priori and while there is a
resolution of real dispute case by some method, a man of power began to use
that for judgement=lawsuit, and the accumulation of cases of resolve for
disputes has created "law". Even if there is a rule, that is mainly for
procedure of lawsuits rather than resolution itself. (In law school, we are
taught that "the foundation of procedural law preceded that of substantive

 Even if model case of judgement of authority can be aside from sort of
"Rule Application Model",

 Terra (Translator):
<<Among Orlanthi , always lawsuit is done around politic and compromise
based on both side profit and power balance, they don't have much attention
to the difference of "Might makes Right" and "Right makes Might". In other
words, they aren't cautious about "physical righteousness" and "spiritual

a sort of violent resolution (more accurately, acceptance of violent
resolutions of men of power) is not sole another alternative.

 I think from the point that "what kind of dispute authority resolve?" is
the place that feministic Esrolia starts, from the beginning of this

<<"Here is brink frontier of Praxian Waste, from Ancient Gods Age the roles
of law guardians are applied to men, it is not our women's way vulgarly to
stand on the lawstone in a court, but from the side we hint "another way".">>

*ADR = Alternative Dispute Resolution

 I suppose I can analyze that "vulgarly to stand on the lawstone in the
court" can be translated into resolution by distinguish right and wrong
clearly, no matter how it is resolved by "Rule Application Model" or some
kind of debate. In some kind of speculation of feminism, while men tend to
the way of thinking, to clear the matter by the location of right, women
tend to prefer compassion / cooperation / harmony. If I can apply it to a
situation of resolution of disputes, maybe women prefer substitutional
resolution of disputes like mediation /arbitration (ADR = Alternative
Dispute Resolution) to a sort of extreme win / lose resolution.

<<Strictly speaking, stereotyped way of statement like "women is -", "men
is -". aren't prefered by feminists as the shift of substantial point of

 Appendix: Judicial Precedents

 <<But even among Esrolians, they always seek "another way".....? Their
precedents might be very large USA circumstance of law

 Though I don't understand clearly the relationship of "another way", "
"great volume" and "USA circumstance" in your statement.....

 Though it might be over- generalization, as I wrote "ADR" in (2), it is a
problem that it is difficult to make it as a record of precedent. For from
the formal way of procedure, the reason of resolution can be recorded as
judicial precedent, more informal way of ADR is not always in the case, (for
example, can be recorded the process of conciliation?) But for the
resolution of this problem, there is some case that such is intentionally
recorded to public.

 Terra (Translator):

<<For Orlanthi, law is equal to judicial precedents, (for they are almost
in illiterate society) and most of lawyers use them, depends only on their

 The concept of precedents themselves can be the point of discussion, as a
material of record, if mainly memory is used, the lawsuit is controlled by
impressional precedents for memory. From the side of supporting of Precedent
Laws (legal system based on case law), it is said that selection of
precedents is important for modern day lawyers / judges who apply
precedents. (Though more or less such problem is for the side of supporting
Law Codes (Legal system based on codes).) More such trends might appear if
records are less perfect.

 In a sense of any kind of Precedents should be followed, such strict
doctrine of precedent, Precedent Law dogma haven't appeared in RW late until
19th century. We taught that this premise was from the theory that all of
precedents can be recorded, and it has been practiced and records are utilized.

 I apologize you that long text not including any Glorantha matter. I hope
you can refer it for future.

Yours sincerely

Good refutation and explanation from occident, by Donald Oddy (09/Sep/2003)

Orlanthi law is not that easy for the average european to understand
either because the celtic and viking legal systems have largely
disappeared although parts have been included many country's laws.

Probably the first thing that needs explaining is that there is no
state, no government or any other body which exists apart from the
people [1]. Kings and chiefs are just individuals with certain powers
and responsibilities. In consequence there is no conception of crime
as we understand it - where the state punishes an individual for
breaking a law and the person who suffered, if anyone, is ignored.
Laws are therefore concerned almost exclusively with defining the
duties people had to each other and how to compensate the victim
when a duty was breached. In modern european terms this is civil
(or commercial) law rather than criminal law.

Terra Incognita:
<<And Orlanthi Heortlings is those two different groups into one. IMHO.
And in RW Iceland, I know the Collapse of Republic was at the Assassination
of Snorri, isn't it a proof of the history such system doesn't work long
well.....? (Of course, it is Fantasy.....but....)>>

I don't think you can claim that the collapse of one of the last governments
to use Viking law as an indication that the legal system was unworkable.
This is the legal system which was in use across most of Europe for
centuries before the Roman conquest and remained in use in places like
Iceland and Ireland until at least the 10th Century. As a legal system
it died out because of the rise of empires (like Rome) and nation states
which chose to use Roman law as the basis of their legal systems.

For a people like the Orlanthi without a centralised state or government
it makes far more sense than modern criminal law. I would expect this
difference to be a major source of friction between the Lunar empire
and the Orlanthi.

[1] This is additionally complicated by the fact that under Celtic
(Brehon) law the primary legal person was not the individual but the
family - a group that was defined at elaborate length.

Back to English Contents
Q&A Lists of Glorantha