The Imperial High Court

The High Court was the judicial arm of the First Terran Empire. The Court itself consisted of a panel of nine High Justices (one from each Province and Special Territory). The High Court also managed several thousand lower courts: a Circuit Court for each Province, Planetary Courts for each planet, and Local Courts for settlements and smaller political divisions. A formally-defined appeals procedure led upward through the various levels of Courts, with the High Court being the ultimate voice.
High Court decisions could only be reversed or altered by the Emperor acting in combination with the Imperial Council.

High Justices were appointed by the Secretary-General/Emperor and confirmed by the the Imperial Council, and served for life (or until removed from office, which took a three-quarters vote of the Council). Once they assumed office, High Justices became completely anonymous. They were seldom seen, even during hearings; when appearing in their official capacity they went hooded, masked, or otherwise obscured. Their voices were altered to preserve anonymity. Decisions from the Court were announced simply by vote totals, i.e. "Six Justices concurring, three dissenting." Published Court opinions and rulings followed a strict written format aimed at reducing the chance of identifying a particular Justice.

Nominees were extended the same anonymity, their identities concealed from even the Imperial Council.

In practice, this system of official anonymity often broke down under the scrutiny of dedicated Court watchers. In most cases, the identities of particular Justices could be determined with a high degree of confidence.

As a result of this official anonymity, High Justices were often able to carry on "normal" lives under a variety of aliases. It was customary (and expected) for Justices to spend time with "regular" people.

Officials of the High Court wore dark red uniforms.

Clerical support for the Courts was often supplied by the Bureaucratic Corps.

copyright (c) 2010, Don Sakers
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