The Law

The law shall be civil law rather than common law and shall be written such that a person with the basic Matchist Credential can understand and use it for their own benefit.

In civil law countries, the law is largely or entirely encoded in the statutes, which were voted on by the citizens of those countries or their representatives. Understanding and using the law is therefore relatively straightforward, and there is relatively little use of appeals courts except in cases where obvious mistakes have been made. Common law, on the other hand, as is used in most English speaking countries, is partly contained in the statutes but large components of which are contained in a long history of court cases where judges attempt to “fix” ambiguities in the law by specifying the reasoning they used in rendering their decisions. This massive hidden trove of information is virtually impenetrable by untrained individuals, and even lawyers’ ability to use it is highly dependent on their level of skill and the amount of resources (i.e., billable hours) that they are able to expend. This is a system virtually designed to be unfair to all but the wealthiest individuals.

As such, a reasonable summary is that civil law is written by The People for the People, whereas common law is written by lawyers and primarily benefits other lawyers and the rich and powerful. This problem is particularly acute in the US, where the most troublesome ambiguities end up being considered by a Supreme Court which is made up of political appointees, some of whom are authoritarian ideologues. These SDAPs then presume to “divine” ridiculous things like the intent of the original authors of the Constitution, nevermind that the framers of the US Constitution had repeatedly admitted in their own supporting documentation (The Federalist Papers) that they were aware that there were serious flaws in their work. Unfortunately the framers made a serious social engineering miscalculation by assuming that future generations would follow the recommendation to fix these errors rather than attempt to enshrine them:

“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” — Thomas Jefferson

The vast majority of the Law (and Building Codes) should be standardized at the Globality level, with small (a few pages) addenda covering Locality preferences in some details of the Laws (e.g., noise enforcement hours, pet regulations, parking regulations, etc.) and Codes (e.g., hurricane and earthquake protection, etc.). Current practice has resulted in a hodge-podge of overlapping and in many cases inconsistent or even incompatible rules at the national/state/county/local levels. Differences in “home rule” administration result in inconsistent enforcement, and in many cases even awareness, of laws depending on exactly on to whom and in what exact location the rule might apply. This leads to injustice and vast amounts of wasted time and resources as paid-by-the-hour lawyers debate the issues.

Worse, due to the scarcity (or indeed complete absence of) qualified social engineers, the clarity and effectiveness of laws vary tremendously between jurisdictions. The fact that the legal code is impenetrable to the average citizen means they would be hard pressed to figure out for themselves what rules apply in a given situation, placing them at the mercy of bureaucrats or law enforcement agents who usually don’t have a good grasp of the law(s) themselves. The end results of all of this are frequent incidences of gross injustice, lawsuits, and insurmountable problems with legitimacy and enforceability.

There shall be a single global court system with three levels, a local level of judges appointed by the local manager, a global appellate level appointed by the global manager, and a Supreme Court of 5 members appointed by The People using a recommendation/approval system parallel to, but independent from, the one used to appoint managers. The Supreme Court members shall have the highest level Credential in both the Law and Matchspec Engineering, and have the authority to overturn decisions that violate terms of the current Matchlist and the authority to strike down laws that violate the terms of the Matchlist or are judged to be ineffective or unnecessarily inefficient by Matchspec engineering standards.

Punishment having been shown to be a relatively ineffective form of behavioral engineering (class 5), there shall be no punitive damages imposed in lawsuits: If a punitive action is deemed necessary, the relevant Credential(s) of the offender will be suspended or revoked.

It is a consistent finding in research that compliance with the law has relatively little to do with the risk of being caught or of any resulting punishment, and yet these findings are not widely known and frequently misunderstood and so are not included in the design of our legal systems. People obey laws primarily as a result of their perceived legitimacy and the procedural justice through which they are enforced (see Tyler 2006 Why People Obey The Law, the afterward (summary) of which can be found as a PDF here).

The granting and maintenance of professional licenses shall be managed by The People.

The connection between the legal system and current practice of managing licenses is weak and inconsistent. For example, there is no guarantee that doctors found to have committed malpractice will even have their licenses reviewed, let alone suspended or revoked, because the two systems are independent. Indeed, even criminal acts are not directly tied to the licensing system in most cases and the victim usually needs to make a special effort to trigger a review. This makes no sense: Efficient regulation of Credentials requires that all three systems be formally interconnected, with well specified consequences to Credentials when civil and/or criminal judgments are entered. If a corporation has committed negligent acts that rise to the level of criminality the business credentials of all of the principals must be revoked. This would require that the corporation be sold and reorganized with the goal of removing all of the people responsible for those acts of negligence.

Together these upgrades should reduce the size (and financial burden on the economy) of the legal system to a small fraction of what it is now, especially in the US, and greatly improve both the justice provided to People and their acceptance of and compliance with the Law.

Next: Standards