Imperial Law

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Law effective in the Third Imperium and Regency

Description / Specifications[edit]

Definition and enactment[edit]

Imperial Law is defined by the Emperor upon the advice and counsel of the recognized nobles of the Imperium '. (Article III of the Warrant of Restoration)
additionally the Imperium, for the purpose of ensuring its continued safety and stability, reserves to itself the power to unilaterally enact changes in any or all aspects of the relationship between itself and any member world or citizen. (Article VIII of the Warrant of Restoration)

All Imperial Law is derived from the Warrant of Restoration and the statute laws that have been decreed in accordance with that Warrant.
The underlying principles of Imperial Law are the High Law

The laws of the Imperium are promulgated by the Emperor, in the form of proclamations known officially as Imperial Edicts. Most of these laws are actually composed by the Imperial bureaucracy; a few laws are written by the Moot, and a very few laws are written by the Emperor personally. In almost all cases, the laws are written by the nobility, and then presented to the Emperor for his review and signature.

Laws become binding once the Emperor has signed them. They are enforced by the high nobility in the Imperial Courts of Justice, through the various ministries, bureaus, and departments of the Imperial government. The ministries create regulations and protocols, according to their establishing edicts, to enforce their rule over the areas within their jurisdiction. Imperial laws thus represent a complex, interlocking maze of jurisdictions and power bases.

Imperial High Law[edit]

The Third Imperium has defined the following goals of Imperial High Law:

  • 1. Emperor & Nobility: The Imperial High Laws establish the hierarchy of the Nobility with the Emperor, of course, at the peak of the power structure.
  • 2. Imperial Military & Scout Service: The High Laws secondly establish the Imperial Military Forces (Navy, Marines, Army) and the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service and the laws/rules of war/expansion.
  • 3. Imperial Taxes & Tribute: Thirdly the High Laws establish the system of taxes and tribute.

The Warrant of Restoration notes that Planetary Governments may make Local Law that is not contrary to the Imperial High Law.

Please see High Law for more information.

Role of Precedent[edit]

The interpretation of Imperial Law is undertaken by Imperial Judges in various Imperial Courts. Because of the huge time-lag of Imperial communications, and because there is no appeals process to judgements laid down, there can be no binding precedence set by one court on the judgements of another. Every case must be judged, impartially and in accordance with the detail of the statute, on an individual basis given the unique circumstances of that case alone at the time of judgement.

Common Law[edit]

There is no common law.

Example Laws[edit]

Some representative examples of Imperial legislation include:

Legal Interpretation[edit]

For a full understanding of how the Imperial Law affects your circumstances, you are seriously advised to consult with a member of the Imperial Bar Association.

The only place where a final determination of the implication of the Imperial Law may be achieved is in an Imperial Court of Justice before and Imperial Judge. Because of the risks involved in this course, most legal advice will suggest that some other accommodation is reached first.

Branches of Imperial Law[edit]

The Imperial Law is divided into the following major sections:

  1. Criminal Law (Imperial Criminal Courts)
    1. Treason
    2. Evasion of Imperial Taxes and Tributes
    3. Murder, Manslaughter and Injury against the person: These are generally issue in Local Law unless the victim is an officer of the Imperium undertaking their duties, or the offense takes place in imperial territory.
    4. Misuse or appropriation of Imperial Property
    5. Breaches of Interstellar Trading Standards
  2. Civil Law (Imperial Civil Courts)
    1. Corporate Law relates to the formation and running of Imperial Corporations and Institutions.
    2. Contract Law is the basis of the majority of cases in the Imperial Civil Courts
    3. Family Law is NOT dealt with at an Imperial level except where it relates to the inheritance of Patents of Nobility or where the cases is interstellar in scope.[1]
    4. Delict is a very limited concept in Imperial Law and lack of remedy in Imperial Civil Courts is one of the drivers behind the continuance of the Code Duello.
  3. Admiralty Law (Imperial Admiralty Courts)
    1. Space Law
    2. Prize Law
  4. Military Law (Imperial Military Courts)
    1. Imperial Code of Military Justice
    2. Imperial Rules of War

The Imperial Code of Military Justice (ICMJ) is a complex subset of Imperial Law relating to the Imperial Army, Imperial Navy, Imperial Marines, and any others who may be involved in armed conflict. The Imperial Rules of War are related to and derived from this code.


  • No information yet available.

Other Legislation[edit]

  • No information yet available.

Legal Person[edit]

Imperial Law recognises any Sophont present within the boundaries of the Imperium as a Legal Person subject to Imperial Law unless excluded by Treaty with another state. n.b. Robots do not count as Sophont.

Imperial Law recognises any Sophont or Spaceship receiving any remuneration from any Imperial Agency as a Legal Person subject to Imperial Law regardless of location.

Imperial Law recognises a Limited Imperial Company as a Legal Person. Any duly appointed officer of the company may act on its behalf.

Imperial Law recognises any Spaceship as a Legal Person for the purposes of Contract Law only. Any duly appointed officer of the ship may act on its behalf.

History & Background / Dossier[edit]

Law aboard Imperial starports is usually considered the equivalent of law level 1.

See also[edit]

Third Imperium[edit]

References & Contributors / Sources[edit]

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.