“Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains.”
That fact has altered little over the centuries. But the chains of oppression over much of our species have been forged through the weapons of violence and ignorance, and they can be undone.
Long before any rulers held sway over humanity, men and women established customs and laws among themselves to ensure their peace and liberties as free, self-governing people. They did so from an inherent recognition of a Natural Law of Equality or Divine Law whereby no one has any right to dominate or rule over others, to seize more of creation than another, or to own any part of a world given equally to all people.
It is the Divine Principle of Creation that every child born is endowed with unalienable liberties that no authority, law, government or religion can diminish or abolish. Any power that attempts to do so is tyrannical and illegitimate, even if it operates according to its own laws – for such tyranny is a denial of the natural order and an attack upon divinity and humanity.
John Stuart Mill articulated this principle in On Liberty where he argued that, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” (1869)
An equivalent idea was earlier stated in France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 as, “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.”
This Natural Law exists to maintain the natural peace and equity between people and is their shield and protector against unjust rule, rather than a force over them. Within the ancient traditions of tribal communities, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, this Law evolved into what became known as the Customary or Common Law, or the Law of the Land. It has strong echoes in the customs of indigenous nations all over the world.
Here is a basic summary of the nature of True or Common Law versus arbitrary law.
Natural Liberty and the Basis of Common Law Courts: First Principles
1. Every man, woman and child is born and is by nature free, equal and sovereign, and possesses an inherent knowledge of what is true and right. Accordingly, no-one can be subordinated to another or to any external authority, since every person’s inherent wisdom and liberty makes them complete and sufficient creations in themselves, within a wider community of equals.
2. This personal sovereignty is a reflection of the wider Natural Law, whereby all life by nature is indivisible and placed in common for the survival and happiness of all. In any just society, this commonality endows all people with the unalienable right to establish among themselves their own governance, and defend themselves against any tyranny or violence, including that inflicted by external authorities. Any authority that rules unjustly and arbitrarily, without the free and uncoerced consent of the people, has lost its right to rule and can be lawfully overthrown. “Unjust government is not government but tyranny” – Plato
3. This Natural Law gives rise to customary Common Law whose purpose is to protect the inherent liberties and sovereignty of men and women in a community by maintaining equity and peace among them. The Common Law derives its authority from the people themselves, and from the capacity of the people to know what is just and to judge right and wrong for themselves. This capacity is expressed in a jury system of twelve freely chosen people who are the ultimate judge and authority under Common Law and its courts.
4. Historically, Common Law arose in England after the 11th century Norman Conquest as a bulwark in defense of the people against the arbitrary rule of self-appointed elites, especially monarchs and popes. The authority of these elites was derived unnaturally, from warfare, violent conquest and the theft of the earth, rather than from the consent of the community and its basis, the divine law of peace and equality. This elite rule arose most strongly in the Roman Empire and its descendent, the Church of Rome, under whose beliefs “god” is a dominator and conqueror (“domine“), and all people are “subjects” of the Pope.
5. Such a conquest-based rule of papal and kingly elites gave rise to a legal system known as Civil or Roman Law, and the belief that men and women are not endowed with the capacity for self-rule and wisdom. All law and authority is therefore derived externally, from statutes devised and imposed by a ruler, whether a pope, a monarch or a government. This system developed from Aristotelian philosophy and Roman property law in which creation is divided and human beings are treated as chattels and the possessions of others, and are thereby devoid of inherent liberties. The people are thus in every sense enslaved, cut off from the world given freely and in common to all. This slave system ranks and categorizes all people, and grants restricted “freedoms” (freithoms, or slave privileges) that are defined and limited through statutes issued by rulers.
6. Common and Civil (Roman) Law are therefore fundamentally opposed and are at war with each other. They cannot be reconciled, since they arise from two completely different notions of humanity and justice: Common Law knows life as a free gift given equally to all, while under Civil Law, life is a conditional privilege, and humanity is a managed slave populace. Accordingly, governments operate in practice according to Civil (statute) law and denigrate or ignore Common Law altogether through the rule of unaccountable judge-dominated courts.
7. The most extreme form of elite-based Civil/Roman Law is what is called Papal or Canon Law, which defines the Church of Rome as the only legitimate authority on earth to which all other laws, people and governments are subordinate. Canon law is self-governing and completely unaccountable to anything but itself. Behind its front of Christian rhetoric, Roman Catholicism is a neo-pagan cult based upon the late 3rd century Roman Emperor-worship system known as Sol Invictus, in which one sovereign entitled “God and Master” (Deus et Dominus) rules heaven and earth: specifically, the Pope. This tyrannical cult has not surprisingly caused more warfare, genocide, conquest and murder than any power in human history, and continues to constitute the single greatest threat to Common Law and human liberty.
8. The Church of Rome was the first and is the oldest corporation on our planet: a legal entity designed for the protection of tyrants, which nullifies the individual liability and responsibility of the elites for any crime or conquest they perpetrate. From Rome and the Vatican Incorporated has spread the contagion that now threatens to destroy our planet and our lives, as unaccountable corporate oligarchy everywhere subverts liberty and the health of our planet by subordinating all of life to profit and power.
9. At this very moment of corporate conquest and its subjugation of humanity, a counter-movement is arising to reassert the divine purpose and its operation through the Common Law, and to restore the earth and humanity to their natural being as a common body. This movement is foretold Biblically and in prophecy as the time when all people are returned to their natural equality, devoid of all divisions, privileges and oppression, in order live in harmony with creation and one another.
10. This restoration of humanity is a divine purpose, and begins by actively dis-establishing all existing authority and institutions derived from Roman civil law, and replacing them with a new governance under Common Law jurisdiction. The creation of that new Natural Law authority among a liberated humanity is the fundamental purpose of the Common Law Courts.
How Do We Use the Common Law?
The truth is that throughout everyday life, people everywhere use and rely on Common Law to live and work together. It is simply the inherent way that people conduct their affairs together. Liken it to the roots that bind together human communities by unconditionally upholding the life, dignity and wellbeing of every man, woman and child. These roots are especially necessary and foundational in the face of tyrannical powers that seek to subvert such natural freedom.
The Common Law’s firm horizontal guarantees of mutual respect and protection are a permanent threat to the efforts by arbitrary rulers to harness men and women into the unnatural and vertical arrangement known as the State. That is why every government and religion seeks to annul the Common Law with their own authority and statutes, in order to reduce free peoples everywhere to the status of regimented, obedient tax paying wage slaves who serve a ruling clique.
To extend our everyday reign of Common Law into all areas of life means to challenge the arbitrary rule of those cliques, and of all State level regimes. But the very fact that it is the Law of we, the vast majority of humanity, means that it only needs to be consistently practiced by enough of us for arbitrary authority and dangers to crumble.
We use the Common Law by simply employing and relying on it, in all spheres of life. And that means, first, by establishing functioning Common Law Courts with absolute and ultimate jurisdiction over every aspect of our lives and communities.
Matters before a Common Law Court
Traditionally, law in the European tradition falls into two general categories: civil and criminal law. The former deals with disputes between individuals – often called “Tort” offenses – or issues of negligence which cause harm. Criminal law deals with acts of intentional harm to individuals but which, in a larger sense, are offences against all people because they somehow threaten the community.
Arising as a defense against absolutism and state or church tyranny, the Common Law traditionally has dealt with Criminal Law matters that “crown” or “canon law” courts refuse either to address, or do so in a restricted manner, including murder, rape, warfare and other crimes against the community. But civil matters of personal disputes may also be brought into a Common Law Court, which after all claims universal jurisdiction over all legal matters within a community.
Indeed, because Common Law is rooted in the jury system, what better forum can there be for the settling of civil matters between individuals than a trial before one’s own neighbors?
For our purposes, however, the major focus of litigation before our Common Law Courts will be on Criminal Law and matters involving serious threats or crimes made against people, animals, communities, and the environment.
As in any lawful system, the burden of proof in any such litigation brought before the Common Law Court will be on the plaintiffs – those bringing the lawsuit – and normal Rules of Evidence will apply. For example, allegations against a party cannot be made in court without there being a basis in provable facts, such as primary documentation that is certified by an independent party, or by producing eyewitnesses to the alleged crime.
Another crucial Rule of Evidence is the inadmissibility of hearsay evidence, as in “No, I wasn’t there, but I heard about what happened”. This is an especially relevant rule when it comes to the commission of serious crimes, such as murder, genocide or rape.
In short, any allegation must be backed up with provable facts, and must be made by one who was a direct participant in or an eyewitness to the event.
For our purposes, it must be noted that in the case of especially monstrous, corporate crimes committed by governments or other powers, such as wars of aggression, genocide or human trafficking, normal rules of evidence are less stringently applied. This is because of a realistic understanding that crimes committed by entire societies or regimes are of a different nature than crimes by isolated individuals. A different set of norms regarding intent and provable evidence applies.
In the words of the chief American prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, Robert Jackson,
“No regime that seeks the extermination of entire groups of people generally retains written proof of their intent to commit this crime. Considering the murderous nature of their regime, there is no need, since such extermination is not considered a crime. Nevertheless, even such a system seeks to fog and dissimulate the evidence, especially during wartime … The proof of crimes against humanity generally lies not in documents but in the witness of survivors, in mass graves, and in the implied proof of the intent to commit these crimes contained in the everyday and institutionalized laws, attitudes and norms of the murderous regime.” (our emphasis)
Implied intent is a legal concept especially relevant and specific to litigation involving genocidal regimes, including governments and churches whose world view and laws consider other groups to be unworthy of life or equal rights, such as the groups that were tried and sentenced in the first case of the International Common Law Court of Justice concerning the genocide of indigenous peoples in Canada by church and state. (www.itccs.org)
Laws such as the Indian Act of Canada, which impose a different set of laws on a racially targeted group, or the Roman Catholic “canon law” called Crimen Sollicitationas, which condones and facilitates the concealment of child rape within the church, indicate a clear implied intent to commit and abet criminal acts.
That is, it is unnecessary to prove the individual intent to harm children by Catholic priests, since under their own self-governing rules called “canon law”, every priest is systematically required to harm children by aiding those who do so if he is to retain his job and ordination. The collective guilt of these clergy as a whole is implied and clear, just as it was concerning all of the servants of the Nazi regime.
Thus, while normal due process requires that the prosecution prove that the accused committed an act and did so with deliberate intent, such an intent may also be assumed to exist by the larger context of a crime, especially when that crime is perpetrated by entire organizations or regimes.
Ascertaining the truth is always laborious, but ultimately the process is best guaranteed by a body of jurors than single adjudicators. Common law juries, and not individual judges, are invariably a better guarantee against the abuse of Rules of Evidence and just procedure in a courtroom.
Self-governing judges are notoriously prone to corruption and political manipulation, and when appointed by the very governments under criminal investigation, are obviously unsuited to the task of rendering a fair judgment. In fact, under legal procedure, such state-appointed judges have no jurisdictional competence to rule on the criminality and guilt of their employers.
Judges routinely waive just procedure and rules of evidence, and are authorized to do so by statute law. In Canada, “crown” appointed judges even have the power to alter or destroy court records, silence one party in a dispute, and ignore due process altogether!
The whole point of establishing a jury-run Common Law Court is to prevent such a manipulation of the law and justice by unaccountable parties or vested interests. It is not accidental that a Founding Father of the American Republic, John Hancock, declared in 1777,
“If we have not Courts that are established and maintained by the People, rather than by bribable Judges, then we will have no Republic … Our Constitution and our Nation will rise or fall according to the independence of our Courts.”
Establishing and Maintaining Common Law Courts
The Common Law’s First Principles establish its general legitimacy and lawfulness. This valid system gives rise to Courts with the power to protect the people as a whole by prosecuting and indicting any persons and institutions that threaten the community.
The mandate to establish such Courts is derived from the sovereignty of the people as a whole, and not from any particular political system or government. Common Law Courts are therefore universal, not constricted by customary borders or laws, and are jurisdictionally competent to adjudicate any issue or grievance. Common Law Courts are not subject to and do not recognize any other legal or moral authority, immunity or privilege, like those routinely claimed by heads of churches and states.
Enjoying universal jurisdiction because of its rootedness in the Natural Law, Common Law Courts can be established in any country or community, and not only within nations with a specifically common law legal tradition, such as England, Canada and America.
Common Law Courts are established when any number of men and women come together to judge a matter of concern to them and to their community. Thus, such Courts are invariably and naturally linked to political movements, “town hall gatherings” and Tribunals of Conscience that unite citizens and give direct voice to their concerns and demands. The Court is thereby the expression of that voice.
The Court itself is established by the direct will and vote of the people as a whole, who elect Citizen Jury of at least twelve people, a Citizen Prosecutor to conduct the case on behalf of the people, a presiding Adjudicator whose job is strictly advisory, and a Sheriff and group of Peace Officers to enforce the summonses, warrants and verdicts of the Court.
Additionally, the community may appoint local magistrates versed in the law known as Justices of the Peace (JP’s), who traditionally have the power to summon juries and issue warrants. The JP may also initiate the formation of a Common Law court.
All of the participants in a Common Law Court must present their own case in all of the Court proceedings, since to allow another to “re-present” them would constitute a surrender of their natural rights and sovereignty. This applies both to the plaintiffs and the defendants involved in any matter before the Court.
There are, accordingly, no professional lawyers or permanent presiding judges in a Common Law Court system.
There is no restriction on the power of a Common Law Court to access any person, place or thing, nor any limitation on the duration or rights of the Court. The Court and its Magistrate can issue Public Summonses that are binding on any person or institution, and enforceable by the Court Sheriff, who has an unrestricted right to detain any person named in the Summons and bring them into Court.
The final verdict of the Common Law Court Jury is final and not subject to appeal, simply because a reasonable and non-coerced group of citizens can come to the truth of any matter on the basis of the evidence alone, possessed as they are of an inherent knowledge of right and wrong. The truth is not mutable. A defendant is either innocent or guilty; the truth is not subject to revision or reconsideration, since then it is not true.
However, if it can be proven beyond any doubt that the Court’s verdict was made unlawfully, was unduly influenced, or occurred on the basis of incomplete or faulty evidence, a Common Law Magistrate can re-open and re-try the case with the normal Jury and Court officers.
In the same way, the sentence of the Court is also final, and is enforced not only by the Court Sheriff but by all citizens. For the Common Law arises from and is the direct responsibility of all people, as are all of its procedures. The verdict really is a declaration of the people that they will govern themselves according to their own democratic law and decisions.
There is no restriction on the power of a Citizen Jury to impose a sentence on any person, group or institution. The Court Adjudicator or Magistrate has no power to alter, influence or direct the original verdict or sentence of the Jury – simply to advise the Jury on legal procedure and points of law.
Finally, upon issuing its final verdict and sentence, the Common Law Court jury is automatically concluded and its members are released from their duty. No Court is maintained without the conscious consent and participation of the people themselves.
Again, there is no professional, permanent caste of either lawyers or judges in a Common Law Court system, but rather elected and temporary Court officers.
Legal Procedure and Court Protocol
Common Law, being derived from Natural Justice, bases its legal procedures on the centrality of Due Process: the three-fold right of anyone to be notified of the charges being brought against him, to see the evidence in such a suit, and to be tried and judged before his own peers.
No legitimate trial can proceed nor can a conviction be rendered if the accused has not been given these rights, and afforded the chance to freely defend himself in a court of law.
Such rights are based on these fundamental doctrines of the Common Law:
1. It is presumed that the accused is innocent, not guilty;
2. The burden of proof of the accused’s guilt rests not upon the defendant but the plaintiff, who must convince a jury of the guilt of the accused beyond any reasonable doubt, and
Both sides in a dispute are given equal time to file their statements and evidence, make motions to the Court, and respond to arguments. But to avoid “vexatious litigation” designed to simply harass or disrupt an adversary – which can drag out and impede justice and due process itself – the Court normally sets a strict time limit on pre-trial proceedings, after which the trial must commence.
The pre-trial period is designed to allow both sides the opportunity to present their evidence and arguments to one another in order to seek a settlement prior to a Court appearance. This presentation is usually referred to as “Examination for Discovery” orVoir Dire (“to see and to say”), where either party can demand any relevant evidence or document from the other.
If Examination does not produce a settlement of differences, then the Court is convened and a trial begins.
– Know your enemy and know yourself
– Subdue the enemy without fighting
– Avoid what is strong. Attack what is weak.
These three great Principles are tied together like braided strands of hair.
There is but one law for all, namely that law which governs all law, the Law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice and equity. That is the law of Nature and of Nations. – Edmund Burke, 1780None found.