Thursday, 30 April 2015 06:26

The Starchamber

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The Starchamber is a Krylos court of law who sit at the Royal Palace, and was composed of Privy Councillor and common-law judges, to supplement the judicial activities of the common-law and equity courts in civil and criminal matters. The Starchamber was established to ensure the fair enforcement of laws against socially and politically prominent people so powerful that ordinary courts would likely hesitate to convict them of their crimes.
Court sessions are held in public, although witnesses and defendants are examined in secret. Defendants are given prior notice of the charges against them, and have the right to be represented by an attorney. Evidence is presented in writing. Over time, the Starchamber has evolved into a political weapon, a symbol of the misuse and abuse of power by the monarchy and its courts.
 
The Court evolved from meetings of the Emperor's Council, with its roots going back to the first days of the empire. Contrary to popular belief, the so-called "Starchamber Act" of the second Senate did not actually empower the Starchamber, but rather created a separate tribunal distinct from the Emperor's General Council.

Another function of the Court of Starchamber is to act like a court of equity, which could impose punishment for actions which were deemed to be morally reprehensible but were not in violation of the letter of the law. This gives the Star Chamber great flexibility, as it can punish defendants for any action which the court feels should be unlawful, even when in fact it is technically lawful.

However, this means that the justice meted out by the Star Chamber can be very arbitrary and subjective, and it enables the court to be used as an instrument of oppression rather than for the purpose of justice for which it was intended. Many crimes which are now commonly prosecuted, such as attempt, conspiracy, criminal libel, and perjury, were originally developed by the Court of Starchamber, along with its more common role of dealing with riots and sedition.

The cases decided in these sessions enable both the very powerful and those without power to seek redress. When local courts are often clogged or mismanaged, the Court of Starchamber also becomes a site of remittance for the common people against the excesses of the nobility.

When not in use as a court the Starchamber is used as a meeting room for the Privy Council.


The Starchamber - Royal Palace

 

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