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Empire of Ruthenia
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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Ruthenia


The primary and fundamental statement of laws in the Ruthenian Empire is the Imperial Law of Ruthenia.

Type of Legal system

During the Parsian period, the Parsians used a mixed system of civil and common law based in religious principles, Since the fall of Parsian Empire that is no longer the case, and most scholars have classified the Ruthene legal system as a civil law system. However, there are problems with this new classification, because the mixed system between the courts is difficult to explain and the unwritten constitution based in the church and the monarchy makes the clarification of the legal system a matter of study between the foreign scholars.

Hierarchy

Domestic Sources

Since its adoption in 3250, the Imperial constitution or the Imperial law is considered to be the supreme law of the land. Courts are guided by the Imperial law and it trumps provincial and local laws.

Imperial laws

Imperial laws cannot become part of the constitution or amend parts of it absent a special legal act on constitutional amendment. They are typically enacted in important areas of imperial law

Statutes

Statutes are the predominant legal source of Ruthene law, and may only be enacted through the legislative process. Codes are the basis for law on a matter, and they are usually supplemented with legislation to develop certain provisions. There are gaps in some of the codes, but even still the judges will find a basis for deciding the case in a given code. Codes are interpreted flexibly, and interpretation may be based on enumeration of “general principles” of the codes. General principles are usually articulated at the beginning of the codes in the first chapter to outline the reason for the legislation. Reasoning by analogy is also allowed.

The Ruthene Civil Code is the “constitution” of the market economy, and is special in the hierarchy of codes, since it will supplant contradictory text in other codes. New codes and laws supersede old ones, unless a statute expressly preserves the old law.

Imperial decrees

The Basileus has power to issue normative and non-normative decrees, provided they do not contravene the constitution and imperial laws. "On the basis and for the sake of implementation of the Constitution of the Ruthenia, imperial laws, normative decrees of the Basileus" Government may also issue directives having “normative” character.

Agency regulations

Agencies may enact regulations through their general competency, but these are limited to the extent of the constitution and relevant codes. If these limits are not strictly defined, then the basileus may use agencies to get around the legislative process. Consequently, agencies may have their powers limited by statutes. The Civil Code purposely authorizes supplementary rules by “statute” rather than the broader term “legislation” which could encompass other secondary law.

Jurisprudence and explanations of the Supreme court

Ruthenia is a civil law country; and, strictly speaking, decisions rendered by courts are not binding on other courts. However, the lower courts generally follow the principles established by the supreme courts. In practice, but not in theory, precedents of the higher courts are becoming an important Ruthene law.

Judicial explanations of law

The Ruthenian Supreme Court and Supreme Commercial Court have no authority to issue general “explanations” of the substantive law and procedural issues, absent a relevant "case or controversy" in front of them. Legal scholars also take part in these discussions, and the opinions of the judges and commentators are published and used as persuasive authority. This process is somewhat analogous to the discussion that scholars take in Ruthene Law Reports or in law reviews. The judges and scholars may codify what is practice, or more importantly address new issues of law to the lower courts and instruct them how to interpret these issues. The texts of the explanations of the law are published, and cited by many courts. In contrast, only selected judicial opinions are published. It is not clear which explanations are binding to lower courts, as there is a tension between the Constitution and imperial law versus guiding explanatory principles. Still, lower courts that ignore relevant explanations will probably get reversed.

Other Sources

Parsian Legislation

Parsian legislation fills gaps as the new system is being put in place, and is purely transitional until the parliament can add new laws. It cannot contradict legislative acts of Ruthenian Empire.

Analogy

Judges often reason by analogy, using the general principles of the law the codes to interpret provisions broadly

Legal consciousness, natural law, good faith and general principles

Judges don’t rely on natural law, but rather legal positivism combined with general principles of law. They may rely on “the requirements of good faith, reasonableness, and justice since Civil Code and other codes tell specific principles within the code. Other principles are equity and fairness, general principles of law, etc.

Custom

The Ruthene Civil Code explicitly mentions custom as a separate source of law. Traditions may establish rules of decision where there is no dispositive language in statute or other written law.

Academic Commentary

Individual scholars may be influential by drafting legislation or debating proposed legislation. Unlike in some civil-law systems, academic treatises or learned commentary is not considered a separate source of law or cited by judges, but judges and attorney rely on it for their arguments.

international law

All international law and the international treaties of the empire are part of Ruthene domestic legal system. Domestic law gives way to international law according to the Imperial law. The Imperial Court has the greatest expertise in applying international law.

Codes

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