Discworld and the law

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Discworld and the law

Postby ladyramkin » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:16 pm

Re-reading Going Postal, I was wondering about the process by which Moist arrived at the gallows. Presumably he was arrested by the watch and brought before Vetinari, but did he have any kind of trial or was it just on the Patrician's say-so? is there such a thing as trial by jury in AM?
Dickens had a lot of fun with the law, culminating in the great destruction job in Bleak House. I think Terry could have even more fun.
BTW do we meet any other lawyers, apart from Mr. Slant?
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:20 pm

He had a trial, TP talks about trials in Night Watch too, but we have never seen one.
Lawyers.. I know only of Mr Slant, but I'm sure there must be others, because only the rich can afford Slant :roll:
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Postby Lady Vetinari » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:23 pm

Slant seems to be there behind the scenes throughout any book set in Ankh M orpork! V. creepy but ... 8)
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Postby Bouncy Castle » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:04 pm

Lady Vetinari wrote:Slant seems to be there behind the scenes throughout any book set in Ankh M orpork! V. creepy but ... 8)


Creepy, and somewhat dusty to the nostrils! :D
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Postby mystmoon » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:26 pm

Lady Vetinari wrote:Slant seems to be there behind the scenes throughout any book set in Ankh M orpork! V. creepy but ... 8)

Well, he has been alive for god knows how long
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:28 pm

There are definitley other lawyers - the nasty family in Making Money employ approximatley 1 each, don't think any of them are named though
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:48 pm

I'm fairly sure there's no trial by jury in A-M. If it's a crime against the guilds they deal with it otherwise they go up in front of his Lordship (as was the case with Carcer) and he decides what happens. Although they do seem to be more lawyers than Mr Slant - after all, he's the head of the Guild, so presumably there's more.

Great to see you here ladyramkin! :D
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Postby ladyramkin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:16 am

Hi Tony. Dont know why it took me so long
I wish we knew more about the legal system in AM. The law in roundworld is often pretty weird and lays itself open to some brilliant satire by many different writers. If Moist had a trial, who was it in front of? Just a judge or a panel of judges. Just Vetinari? I really wish Terry would tackle the law. It would make a fascinating book.
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Postby swreader » Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:50 am

As far as I can tell, Lady R, the question of the law in Discworld is perhaps best summarized by Terry and Stephen Briggs in The Discworld Companion, where as to Criminal Justice (and Civil)--the explanation is that there really aren't any laws (Carrot threw the only mentioned published copy of the laws of AM at Wonse, and they were picked up by the Librarian and returned (with The Summoning of Dragons) to the safety of the depths of the Unseen University Library. Unfortunately, Terry doesn't seem all that interested in the subject, though I agree that it could be used as subject of satire.

We know there is a Guild of Lawyers who may be hired to represent one in apparently "Guild Courts" (i.e. Thieves Guild), but according to the note, all criminals taken by the Watch may opt to be tried in front of the Patrician. (see p. 248 for the comments on justice for the rich and poor). Apparently one can hire lawyers to represent one in front of the Patrician, since Vimes tells Carcer he'll find a lawyer for him, if any can manage to plead his case with a straight face.

It is generally, however, in Civil Court cases that the lawyers make their money. Apparently there are two court (Magisters for poor people) and a judge appointed by the Patrician for the wealthy.

The only other actual lawyer(s) we meet besides those mentioned by DJ, is the Toad (formerly a lawyer) in Wee Free Men who brought a breach of contract case for his client against her fairy godmother--with devastating results. The Queen, in that book, calls up lawyers (or a dream of lawyers) who are used to terrify the Feegle, but who are outwitted by the Toad.

I agree that it's rather a shame that the only lawyer we see much of is Mr. Slant, the zombie who seems to act for all the groups trying to get rid of the Patrician and or course for quarrels in The Truth between the Printers & Engravers Guild and de Worde's paper. It seems unfair (she said as a retired lawyer) that there isn't a lawyer who crusades for Justice--but since there is no law, justice is pretty much as you find it.
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Postby mspanners » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:23 am

In Making Money Moist had to plead His case in front of Vetinari, the lawyers representing Banking Families were subdued by Mr Slant, He had the final say in any argument as head of the Guild.
But it is Definitely Vetinari who has the final say in any case, but I think Vetinari only takes on interest in certain cases.
I think that the run of the mill cases are taken care of by the Lawyers and the courts and they follow Vetinari's general rules: I.E. Crime should be organised and that unauthorised crime punished.

Now if the actual culprit is punished that is good but so long as someone is tried than that is ok too, thing average out in the end......! :D
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Postby ladyramkin » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:01 pm

Thanks, Sharlene, for the usual excellent summing up. I agree, it's a pity we dont get to meet other lawyers besides Slant, and an honest one would be nice, but they tend to be a bit thin on the ground in fiction :lol:
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