The right to act as a judge in the Royal Basin is one that is reserved for those that have proven to be both morally sound and with little to tie them to outside influences. The infrastructure of the Royal Basin has led to there being serious class divides that extend from the political, into the social and economic and most certainly into the areas of the Law. Those of higher station do not want to be judged by those of a lower rank and status and equally due to intimidation and the way things are the majority of those of lower rank would rather not stand in judgment of those that are of a higher status. When promotion to Judge comes it is always a difficult choice to accept as it will, without reservation, distance you from your comrades and indeed your family. A Low Judge is chosen by their peers to stand as a representative for the law and to be able to dispense judgment instantaneously; whether that sentence be death or a fine they have the right to do so.
Beyond that a low judge may take temporary control of local militia forces and has the right to investigate and operate with impunity when a case that they have been assigned to leads them to such an opportunity. However a low judge only has the right to preside over the cases that involve those of low rank; the commonfolk, unranked soldiers, farm and small shop owners and very low ranking government officials are among those that stand in such ranks. The Judges are the responsibility of the Cinereous Table who give them not only their direction and orders but also their training. The Judges in potential are extracted from their guilds and given guidance at the various Universities as they study the verisimilitudes of the law. Equally they take time to walk the various “beats” of Militia from city to city so that they can understand the direct influence that they will have over the lives of the small folk. In this way all aspects of Justice are applied.
The principal of Judgement as a Low Judge is fundamentally very different to that of a Judge who will have made the title stand for a different thing with a clear set of skills and role in society. Where a Low Judge is a very sedentary individual nothing could be further from the truth regarding the position of an actual Judge and their later counterparts High Judges. True they gain the right to lay Judgement on more powerful folk and have to deal with the paperwork that is generally associated with that but their power and jurisdiction is also increased. A Judge is expected to wander the lands, roadways and seas; territories owned by the Royal Basin but territories that are less than hospitable to Lawmen and often populated by folk that hold grudges against the inevitable outcome of their actions. To that end the Judges existing skills and powers are married with blessings and skills from those organisations that have a vested interest in the law such as the Clergy and the Colleges. It is here that the real differences become apparent.
A Judge in any group is usually being escorted and less likely to be a leading or prominent figure; they do not enter the field in the hope of adventure or to gain wealth. They enter the field in the interests of Justice, Law and Order and keeping the peace. They are expected to have taken an Oath to Ekimelahw and to the Courts and Nobility of the Land to keep the peace and are supplemented in case of it. They often work in tandem with Ekimelahwian agents, militiamen and Vormearn awaiting the call of these worthies to towns or cities so that they can preside over the court that tries them. During these times a Judge is not expected to use the power that has been vested in them instead relying on the authorities that already exist (Inquisitors and Ele Strom for example) to apprehend and bring home the villains.
“The Judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the government of the Royal Basin as dictated by the elected authorities under the rulership of the lawful leadership. The Judiciary allows for a mechanism for the resolution of disputes and is governed by a system of Judges that are appointed by aforementioned authorities and are required to interpret law and apply it to the fact of each case. The Judiciary is funded, in the Royal Basin, directly by the Golden Table and applies itself via the Mastery of the Cinereous Table. The Judiciary is responsible for making law and for setting precedent that the Judges that serve the Judiciary, or Cinereous Table, can follow. The Judiciary is also responsible for the maintenance of the two direct branches of law enforcement that follow serve the public interest in the shape of the Militia and the members of the Church of Ekimelahw that are responsible for criminal investigation and law enforcement. These two organisations are responsible for promoting their own seniors who in turn are responsible for the dispensing of Justice. All of this occurs, as stated, under the remit of the Cinereous Table and those that make the decisions for this table, who have the right to sit upon that table are High Judges.
All appointments made are by the hand of a High Judge who have the right to make and unmake any rank of Judge below them. Unlike the Low Judge and the Judge the role demands a more active interest in the courts of the land and a service to the Judiciary and its processes. They are the only individuals that are capable of bringing judgment to cases that involve the higher nobility and seniors of guilds and merchant houses and have long been designated to specific houses from position to position. There are many duties outside of the dispensing of Justice that belong to the High Judge: The critical study of cases that pass through the system, extrapolation of current rules and laws via this process and then the creation and implementation of new laws is among their primary concern. However they are also responsible for training judges and other officials, the distribution of militia personnel, advising guilds and merchant houses on current legislation and also for lecturing to those and similar organisations with regard their responsibilities and situations. The role of the High Judge is a long and difficult one but to serve Justice is reward in itself.”
- Damik Rend - High Judge - A summarization of his open speech on the future of law enforcers at Kings College - 1882