Common law courts are natural law courts that emanate from the principles of natural law. The basic principles of common law make it clear that it is legal and legitimate. These courts are universal and beyond the limitations of borders, countries, and local laws. Since natural law is universal, these courts are not restricted to one nation. They can be setup in any country that has a common law tradition (eg: England, USA, Canada).The key feature of these courts is that they are run by the people.
How it works?
A common law court is formed by the public. It is the voice of the people that comes out to express the concerns of the citizens at large. The court is formed on men and women drawn from society. The court would have a citizen jury comprising twelve people elected by the public. There would be a citizen prosecutor for the people and an adjudicator to preside over the court.
Sheriffs and other officers would be appointed to enforce summons and verdicts of the court. The community can appoint JPs or justices of peace who serve the role of local magistrates.
This is how a common law court would work:
- Any person (plaintiff) can make a statement of claim and provide evidence before the common law court.
- A claim of right has to be published to seek the aid of a common law court.
- A common law court can then be formed by the public within 24 hours of publication of the claim of right. The court would comprise the citizen jury members, adjudicator, and other officers. A Justice of the peace can initiate the formation of the common law court.
- The officers should be sworn in so they can start their duties.
- The adjudicator can then summon the two parties to settle the case in a pre-trial conference. If this fails, then an examination of discovery happens where the two sides present their evidences.
- Public summons would then be issued by the common law court informing the defendant of the trial and the date of trial. If the defendant deliberately absents himself, an in-absentia trial can be held.
- The trial would then commence with opening arguments from both sides.
- The main proceedings then take place with the plaintiff and defendant presenting their cases. They or their counsel would offer documents and summon witnesses. The witnesses summoned can be cross-examined by the other side.
- Closing arguments are then presented by both sides.
- The citizen jury then retires and deliberates on the case. Their verdict must be unanimous and consensual.
The verdict by the jury cannot be altered by the adjudicator and is enforced by the officials.
It is not well-known that the principles of natural law allow for setting up of common law courts. These courts are formed by the people and ensure that the voice of the people is heard and natural law is followed. Anyone can establish a common law court by following the guidelines in this blog.