Atalheim Law

From World of Charun

Atalheim law emerged during the reign of Randvar Leikrson (364-391 IV), the founder of the nation. It was affirmed and repeated in judicial decisions throughout the 4th and the first half of the 5th century. As the nation grew, so did the need for a revised law. The revised Atalheim Law came into force in 462 IV. It was a major work, remarkable in its systematisation and in its qualities of clarity and rigour concerning matters of property. It has remained intact ever since.

Atalheim Law

As issued by King Randvar Leikrson in 364 IV, revised in 462 IV

It falls on the Crown to rule both wisely and vigilantly for the benefit and protection of the people of Atalheim and its lawful visitors. The Crown may issue any punishment they find fitting for an offense within the bonds of customary wisdom, vigilance and tradition. Furthermore, potentially disruptive elements or threats to the people of Atalheim and its visitors may be dealt with before an offense has been committed. The word of the Crown is at the end of the day law and the Crown has the final say in all feuds and differences among its subjects and visitors in the realm.

Deceiving the Crown -
Banishment from the settlement will be the most normal punishment for telling a lie to any official of Atalheim. Severity ranges from being sent to stay outside the town walls for half a ten-day to outlawry. Treason is detailed under Principle 6.

Duels -
A duel must be petitioned for to the Crown. Blood cannot be spilled within the territories over dishonor, property, restitution of debt or revenge without the due process and consent of the Crown.

Outlawry -
This counts as losing one’s honor, meaning that anyone may kill the person with no fear of retribution from the Crown. In some cases there may even be a reward, though it must be proven or accounted for by satisfactory witnesses that the slaying took place within the borders of Atalheim.

Insults -
These come with a fine, and the fine must be paid to the one insulted. People who are of known wealth may find their fines to be higher, especially if the insulted is of clearly lower status, or it is a repeated offense. If proof can be provided, the insult can be used by Atlir as a form of official accusation; the Crown is obligated to look into the accusation and rule on it. Unproven accusations may in this case fall under either the common insult law, or deceiving the Crown. The victim may also request Trial by Combat, which is further detailed under Principle 4. The Skald of Saghalla is authorised to speak his mind, as detailed under Principle 2.

Execution -
In Atalheim these are carried out with block and axe. It is the right of the guilty to have an executioner of at least 3 seasons experience.

Murder -
Killing men or women of honorable standing and/or citizens and soldiers of Atalheim is looked upon with severity. Wergild is an option, but it may well be heavier, just as other forms of penalty may very well be applied.

Women’s rights –
Women hold equal rights to men under Atalheim Law. Exceptions can be found under Principle 7.

Complaints -
For these or any other offense may be petitioned to the Crown. All citizens and honorable visitors can expect the due diligence of the Crown in protecting and serving the people and property and honor of Atalheim.

Principles added at the revision in 462 IV

Principle 1: The law applies to all
The law takes into account customs of the upper classes in order to extend them to the entire population such that in Atalheim law there is no difference in the law between individuals of different social origins: the law is the same for all.

Principle 2: Representatives of the Crown
The Crown may grant representatives the authority to execute Atalheim Law, such as judges, executioners and bailiffs.

Principle 3: Skald of Saghalla
The Skald of Saghalla is authorised to speak his or her mind freely without further consequences, even if the words would cause harm or insult. The Skald is protected by the Crown against any actions of retaliation.

Principle 4: Trial by Combat
In the case of an insult or injury, a victim may resort to the judiciary for a ruling or request a Trial by Combat from the Crown. If the Crown deems the injured party's claim just then the accused is to engage in battle against the victim before a judge. If the accused is defeated before the stars appear in the sky, he is to be exposed publicly in stocks for three days. If he defends himself or wins by that time, he is acquitted. Only children, women or those over 60 can decline Trial by Combat decreed by the Crown. The victim may hire a champion to defend his honour.

The Crown will consider challenges toward government officials in a special enquiry. Members of the Royal Family, the Atalkyrie, and the Skald of Saghalla may not be challenged to a Trial by Combat.

Principle 5: Theft
A person nabbed and convicted of stealing is to be exposed publicly in stocks for three days and then imprisoned for one day per each 5 gold coins of value of the theft.

Principle 6: Treason
Treason towards the Crown carries with it the punishment of being drawn and quartered, alternatively being burned. Women are to be strangled before they are burnt.

Principle 7: Inheritance
The survival of families and generations is important, and lineage is the central pivot of the inheritance system that makes survival less an endeavour. All property descends like a weight down to the most recent branches of the family descending from the male line who can legitimately make a claim; in default of an heir in the lineage, the goods that are compulsorily allocated to such a person, can under no circumstances be collected by relatives who are not part of that lineage. It is understood that the necessary portion of an inheritance will fall to the immediate family and then descend to the family branches accordingly.

Although daughters have the capacity to inherit, they are excluded from inheritance if there is an immediate male family member such as a brother. If there is a brother and the daughter is unmarried then an equitable portion of the inheritance must be set aside for her maritagium.

The elder brother is the sole heir by virtue of the extraordinary institution of birth and commonly receives the necessary portion of the inheritance to ensure a family's perpetuity. However, through the action of compensations, a tendency towards equity between brothers is common practice with a complete prohibition for the father to give any advantage to one of his offspring at the expense of the others.

Homesteads less than a certain king's measure per owner may not be broken up or subordinated in an inheritance. Ventures less than a certain value likewise. Following these guidelines, property or ventures over these measures or values may be disposed of as seen fit by the decedent.

Widows are afforded an honored place under Atalheim law. The eldest son and his brothers are responsible for maintaining and honoring her. Though she can never inherit, upon the death of her husband she becomes the arbitrator of the inheritance with the ability to resort to the Crown to resolve disputes to ensure its just distribution and the care and preparation for her remaining male and female children. Under certain circumstances, and with the acquiescence of the Crown, she even has the power to modify the inheritance. Her role as the arbitrator remains in effect until the last member of the immediate family reaches majority or if she were to marry again, formally or informally.

A daughter only has the right to receive a husband from her father who, if he so wishes, can opt to give her no maritagium (or dowry) or give her just and equitable portion of her property.

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