Amendment 2 to the Legal Fundamentals Act

From The Library of Parliament
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Amendment 2 to the Legal Fundamentals Act
Amendment 1
CitationPAa-2 to A-29
Considered byOpen Parliament
Legislative history
Introduced on26 July 2019
Introduced byRamelia
Required majoritySimple majority
Status: Pending

This Amendment clarifies certain ambiguous provisions of the Act, establishes that provisions of Social Liberal Union law are generally severable, codifies standards of proof and requirements for transmissions to Parliament to prevent abuse, and permits for civil action in cases of perceived criminal conduct.

Section 1. Regional Time

Article 1, Section 2 shall be amended to read as follows:

Coordinated Universal Time shall be the official time standard of the Social Liberal Union for the purposes of regional law. Provided, local times may be used in official records and litigation, except where exact time is a material ingredient.

Section 2. Week, Month, and Year Defined

Article 1, Section 3 shall be retitled to "Week, Month, and Year Defined," and shall be amended to read as follows:

For the purposes of regional law, a week shall be defined as 7 days, a month shall be defined as 28 days, and a year shall be defined as 365 days.

Section 3. Requirements for Transmissions to Parliament

A section, entitled "Requirements for Transmissions to Parliament," shall be appended to Article 1, to read as follows:

For the purposes of regional law, a communication shall be deemed to fulfill requirements of location for general transmission to the Open Parliament if it is made in the form of:
Clause 1. A posting in a new thread in the section of the regional forum reserved for discussion of bills and other matters of the Open Parliament; or
Clause 2. A posting on the Regional Message Board, where the content contained may be made entirely public.

Section 4. Standards of Proof

A section, entitled "Standards of Proof," shall be inserted after the section inserted by Section 3 of this Amendment, to read as follows:

For the purposes of regional law, standards of proof in cases before any court or tribunal of the Social Liberal Union shall be as follows, subject to elaboration by Standing Orders of the Court of Justice:
Clause 1. Beyond Reasonable Doubt means there is no reasonable, plausible reason to believe otherwise. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, in accordance with requirements for due process, this standard of proof shall be used in all criminal final determinations of guilt, and must be met for each individual element of an offense. In civil matters, it shall be used only when determining whether a law is in part or in whole facially unconstitutional, and otherwise only shall be used when required by law.
Clause 2. Clear and Convincing Evidence means that evidence presented is very substantially more likely to be true than not. In civil matters, it shall be used when determining whether an application of a law is unconstitutional, where clear and convincing evidence is otherwise required by law, and may be used pursuant to a Standing Order of the Court where another standard of proof is not required.
Clause 3. Balance of Probabilities, or Preponderance of Evidence, means that evidence presented is more likely than not to be true. It shall be used where required by law and in any other civil matter where another standard of proof is neither required by law nor employed pursuant to a Standing Order of the Court.
Clause 4. Probable Cause means that the evidence presented has a considerable probability of being true. It shall be used wherever required by law or when determining whether sufficient cause exists to issue a warrant or subpoena for evidence or testimony in any proceeding.

Section 5. Provisions of Law Severable

A section, entitled "Provisions of Law Severable," shall be inserted after the section inserted by Section 4 of this Amendment, to read as follows:

The provisions of Social Liberal Union Acts, Resolutions, and treaties and interregional agreements are severable. If any provisions of such laws or the application thereof to any State(s) or circumstance(s) are held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of such laws which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

Section 6. Separate Votes on Conviction

Article 4, Section 5, Clause 6 shall be amended to read as follows:

Except in bench trials, the Court may then require the assistance of the Speaker of the Union to conduct a vote in the Open Parliament on conviction or acquittal for each charge to last 5 days, and to ensure parties to the case (as identified by the Court) are excluded from voting. Conviction with regard to neither separate charges nor separate states shall be jointly voted upon. In bench trials, the Court must render verdicts within 5 days, or more with the consent of the defense.

Section 7. Civil Remedy Clarifications

Article 5, Section 2 shall be amended to read as follows:

In civil matters, legal remedies the Court may grant are declaratory relief and injunctive relief.
Clause 1. A declaratory judgements is a legal determination of the Court resolving legal uncertainty for the parties. It is a form of legally binding preventive adjudication by which a party involved in an actual or possible legal matter can ask the Court to conclusively rule on and affirm the rights, duties, or obligations of one or more parties in a case.
Clause 2. Injunctions order States or entities to perform and/or refrain from certain acts. Injunctions must be consistent with the Constitution and any other pertinent laws, and should only be granted when doing so would not disserve the public interest and when there is no other adequate remedy at law. Failure to comply, upon application of the Minister of Domestic Affairs, Attorney General, or an adverse party, may be considered a contempt against the Court.

Section 8. Judicial Review and Restraint Clarification

Article 5, Section 3 shall be amended to read as follows:

In granting remedies, the Court should exercise judicial review to the extent permitted by the Constitution. Clear and irreconcilable unconstitutionality shall be the only ground for the Court to strike down an Act or Resolution of Parliament, in part or in whole, as unconstitutional. The Court should endeavor to avoid reviewing the constitutionality of an Act or Resolution of Parliament when the case before it could be decided on other grounds, unless the public interest requires otherwise.

Section 9. Civil Action Related to Criminal Infractions

A section, entitled "Civil Action Related to Criminal Infractions," shall be appended to Article 5, to read as follows:

Except as may be provided for by law with regard to specific offenses, conduct that would constitute a criminal offense shall be legal grounds for civil action. The same requirements for civil action standing shall apply in cases of lawsuits commenced under this Section; provided, states commencing civil cases on grounds of alleged conduct that would constitute a class 5 or class 6 offense shall always have standing to do so in the public interest.
Clause 1. As with other civil proceedings, unless otherwise required by law, a standard of proof of balance of probabilities shall be used for proceedings commenced under this Section.
Clause 2. Generally, any relief permitted for civil actions may be granted for proceedings commenced under this Section.
Clause 3. Neither the lack of a criminal charge for the offense or offenses in question nor conviction of that offense or those offenses shall preclude the initiation of a civil case under this Section, but acquittal of the offense or offenses in question shall bar such a civil case, and a civil case may not be initiated or adjudicated during criminal proceedings with regard to the alleged offense or offenses the civil case would concern. Additionally, a previous civil case shall not bar criminal proceedings with regard to the same offense(s).
Clause 4. No judge issuing a ruling in a civil proceeding initiated in part or in whole on grounds of infraction of criminal offense statutes under this Section shall be eligible to preside over a criminal proceeding arising from the same offense(s) with regard to at least one of the same defendents.
Clause 5. No civil relief granted on grounds of the infraction of criminal offense statute(s) shall be valid after acquittal of the offenses defined under the same statute(s). The Court shall act judiciously to ensure the enforcement of this Clause.
Clause 6. Where damage to the plaintiff(s) is demonstrated, a case initiated under this Section shall not be deemed inadmissible on basis of mootness.
Clause 7. No part of a civil case that is not initiated on grounds of the infraction of criminal offense statute(s) shall be subject to the provisions of this Section, except that a civil case in any part founded on such grounds should be wholly stayed until after criminal proceedings for the same infractions.
Clause 8. In such matters where prosecution for an offense is necessarily contingent on the judgement of a government official, such as offenses for inappropriate content, such an official's judgement need not have been made, and may even have been made in a manner that bars prosecution, for a civil suit for infraction on criminal offense statute(s) to proceed. In such civil matters, judgement reserved to certain officials may be exercised by the Court, where necessary.

Section 10. Judicial Review Consistency with Severable Nature of Law

Article 7, Section 5 shall be amended to read as follows:

In granting remedies, the Court should exercise judicial review to the extent permitted by the Constitution. Clear and irreconcilable unconstitutionality beyond reasonable doubt shall be the only ground for the Court to strike down an Act or Resolution of Parliament or any other law or application thereof as unconstitutional, in part or in whole. The Court should endeavor to avoid reviewing the constitutionality of an Act or Resolution of Parliament when the case before it could be decided on other grounds.

Section 11. Vexatious Litigant Revision

Article 8, Section 5 shall be amended to read as follows:

Upon petition of the Minister of Domestic Affairs, the Attorney General, or a party allegedly aggrieved by vexatious litigation, the Court of Justice shall order an evidentiary hearing on the merits of the allegations. If the allegations in the petition are proven by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent initiated a pattern of several frivolous or meritless civil legal actions, the Court shall designate them a vexatious litigant for up to four months at a time. A State actively designated as a vexatious litigant cannot request an advisory opinion nor initiate any civil proceedings in any court or tribunal of the Social Liberal Union, without prior leave of the Court.

Section 12. Typo Corrections and Clarifications

Clause 1. Article 2, Section 2 shall be amended to read as follows:
Civil cases include constitutionality challenges to Acts or Resolutions of Parliament, initiated under Article 9, Section 6 of the Constitution, and challenges to the legality or constitutionality of treaties, interregional agreements, executive orders, policies, or official actions or omissions, initiated under Article 9, Section 5 of the Constitution. Civil cases also include disputes between individual States in the region arising from the Constitution, Acts of Parliament, Resolutions of Parliament, executive orders, and treaties and other agreements, initiated under Article 9, Section 3 of the Constitution. Civil cases also include appeals to modify or vacate past verdicts or decisions of a previous civil or criminal case, initiated under Article 9, Section 7 of the Constitution.
Clause 2. Article 4, Section 6, Clause 1 shall be amended to read as follows:
When two or more defendants are jointly charged with any offence, they must be tried jointly, unless the Court orders separate trials. In ordering separate trials, the Court may, in its discretion, order a separate trial for one or more defendants, and a joint trial for the others, or may order any number of the defendants to be tried at one trial, and any number of the others at different trials, or may order a separate trial for each defendant. Provided, when two or more States can be jointly tried, the fact that separate indictments were filed shall not prevent their joint trial.
Clause 3. Article 4, Section 6, Clause 5 shall be amended to read as follows:
If several defendants have separate defenses or appear with different counsel, the Court must determine their relative order in the evidence and argument.
Clause 4. Article 7, Section 5 shall be amended to read as follows:
A witness may cite their constitutional protection against self-incrimination in any proceeding of a judicial entity, with regard to a duly authorized prosecutorial request, or with regard to any other order for testimony wherein the requestor is authorized by law to order accurate testimony and hear evidence. Provided, as approved in a proceeding of the Court of Justice or as authorized by it or a legally entitled judicial subordinate body in an outside proceeding, accurate testimony and evidence may be compelled given that the submitted testimony or evidence is made inadmissible in any subsequent civil or criminal suit against the witness. This Section shall not be construed to prevent prosecution on basis of perjury, false statements, or failure to comply with properly served orders.
Clause 5. Article 8, Section 4, Clause 3 shall be amended to read as follows:
Complete or partial ban, under penalty of suppression or deletion, on posting on the forum, official regional chat, or the regional message board; provided, such sanction shall not preclude a State from posting in the appropriate judicial section in matters related to their case.
Clause 6. Article 8, Section 6 shall be amended to read as follows, without modification to the clause thereof:
The Chancellor is empowered to maintain order and proper decorum within the venue(s) of the Court and in all proceedings, to ensure the fair and expeditious dispensation of justice, and to issue, revise, or revoke Standing Orders to that effect. Provided, a necessary alternative presiding officer of the Court of Justice shall have such limited power as is necessary to keep decorum and dispense justice under existing Standing Orders.