Edictum Praetoricium de Iurisdictio Praetoris

After consultation in the Nova Roma Law Committee, the following edictum is hereby enacted:

I. Item of this Edictum

A. This Edictum covers procedures for civil suits at the Court of the issuing Praetor.

B. Civil suits in the sense of this Edictum have as their object solely legal relations between citizens of Nova Roma (contracts, torts and other civil matters).

C. Claims against Nova Roma, Magistrates in their official function, the Nova Roma Senate, the Nova Roma provinces or those Sodalitates that have been approved by the Senate are not regulated by this edictum.

Furthermore, the iurisdiction of the Praetor does not cover claims between citizens of Nova Roma and members of the Ordo Equester, if the claim relates to merchant trades.

II. Entitlement to action, formal requirements, scope of a civil suit

A. Opposing Parties

1. Each citizen of Nova Roma has the right, without discrimination as regards status, reputation or duration of citizenship, to seek a remedy at the Praetorīs court as plaintiff in civil suits.

2. Plaintiff and Defendant may be represented by another citizen (advocate). To appoint an advocate a party has to submit a written notice to the Praetor. This notice may be part of the statement of claim. The notice has to relate to all hearings and procedures.

B. The written statement of claim has to be transmitted to the Praetor directly, via e-mail or other suitable ways, with the following formal requirements:

1. The reference line of the statement of claim has to start with "ATTN: Claim".

2. Plaintiff, Defendant, advocates and witnesses have to be identified with full legal roman name.

3. The statement of claim must consist of the facts of the case, the offering of available proof, the applicable law, supporting arguments for the application of law on the facts of the case.

C. The plaintiff may rely on written law (lex) or legally binding Nova Roman custom (mos) for his claim. He may sue the defendant for the fulfillment of an obligation, for the confirmation of a legal right against the defendant or for the confirmation of a legal relation with the defendant.

III. Admissibility of claim

A. The Praetor acknowledges the receipt of the claim to the plaintiff.

B. The Praetor rules by public edict on the admissibility of the claim, taking into account the applicable law, the facts of the case and the proofs presented. A claim may only be rejected for obvious lack of a judicial basis for the claim. Formal errors may be corrected by the plaintiff within a time limit set by the Praetor. If this time limit is neglected or if the corrections are insufficient, the claim may be rejected by the Praetor due to formal errors. A rejected claim cannot be filed again, unless substantial new evidence is presented which is material to the claim itself.

C. If the Praetor approves the claim he forwards it to the defendant. The defendant is then obliged to "make an appearance". To comply with this obligation the defendant has to transmit an answering statement with the same formal requirements as for the plaintiff's statement to the Praetor within two weeks after its receipt. If the defendant so applies, the Praetor may prolong the time limit for the transmission of the statement. By failing to transmit a statement within the prescribed time limit the defendant automatically loses the case. The Praetor will then render a judgement confirming the claim of the plaintiff without first appointing a Iudex.

D. The defendant may acknowledge the claim. In this case the Praetor confirms it by a publically certified settlement. The settlement has to be announced to the parties and both parties then have to swear a written oath on the settlement. The publically certified settlement and the written oath will be entered into a public record.

E. If the plaintiff withdraws his claim before judgement, he or she loses the right to address the Praetor's Court with the same case in perpetuity. If the plaintiff presents new evidence, which is material to the claim itself, the Praetor decides, by his discretion, if the presented evidence are sufficient enough to approve the claim again.

IV. The Iudex

A. If the claim is admitted, the Praetor appoints an Iudex for the trial by edict, during a period of two weeks after the statement of the defendant is submitted. The iudex may decline to serve by notifying the praetor of his desire.

B. The Iudex has to be citizen of Nova Roma. He or she has to be qualified for the task of iurisdiction by his or her education or experience. He or she is not allowed to hold the office of Tribunus Plebis, Aedile Curule, Aedile Plebeian, Praetor, Consul or Censor at the time of his appointment. He or she is further not allowed to be a member of the same gens as one of the opposing parties. If plaintiff and defendant agree on a certain Iudex in a common application, the Praetor shall appoint this Iudex, even if he is a member of the same gens as one of the opposing parties.

The appointment of the Iudex by edict is final and ends only by resignation or with judgement about the claim.

C. The Iudex investigates the case "ex officio" and in a unbiased way, based on the statements of the plaintiff and the defendant. He or she shall obtain statements from the plaintiff and the defendant, and may obtain statements relevant to the facts of the case from the nominated witnesses.

He or she may also inquire for and accept all legalevidence for the trial that seems suitable for the investigation of the case. Citizens of Nova Roma are obliged to testify truthfully in a trial. If plaintiff and defendant agree on a certain fact of the case, the investigation is restricted to the controversial facts of the case.

D. The Iudex reports to the Praetor on request about the progress of the investigation. He or she finishes the investigation about the facts of the case and the applicable law by a written final report to the Praetor. The Iudex therein makes a proposal for the judgement. If the Praetor deems the report incomplete or inconsistent he or she may return the final report to the Iudex and oblige him or her to continue with the investigation or to complete the legal opinion.

V. Judgement

A. Based on the proposal by the Iudex, the Praetor formulates the judgement. The judgement shall be issued in written form and shall be headed as "Judgement". It has to be announced to all parties.

The Praetor's judgment may deviate from the judgement proposed by the Iudex, but the deviation has to be well-reasoned in writing. The judgment and its legal reasons have to be announced to the public. The establishment of the facts are announced only to the opposing parties. The judgement is incontestable.

Plaintiff and defendant are then obliged to swear a written oath on the observance of the judgement. The written oath will be entered into a public record.

VI. Execution of Judgements

To execute an incontestable judgement or a publicly certified settlement, the Praetor may, on application of a party, call on all legal expedients available to him. He may also call on the help of all Magistrates of Nova Roma, who shall render such assistance as they are reasonably able to do so. The violation of an oath falls under the jusrisdiction of the collegia of the priesthood.

VII. Other Regulations of Procedures

A. Groups of Persons

Groups of persons may act as plaintiff and defendant. The admission of groups as plaintiff and defendant lies in the discretion of the Praetor, by observation of the following regulations:

1. Plaintiffs may unite in a group if they the pursue the same case, i.e. assert the same claim or sue the defendant for the confirmation of the same right or the same legal relation.
2. The group shall be notified to the Praetor by separate written statement. It may also be part of the statement of claim.

VIII. Effective Date of this Edictum

This Edictum becomes effective immediately and will be in effect until formal legislation, as is currently being put together in the civil law committee, is enacted by the Comitia.

April 2nd, in the year of the Consulship of Flavius Vedius
Germanicus and Marcus Cassius Iulianus, 2754 AUC.
Caius Flavius Diocletianus
02 April 2754

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