General Legal ProcedureEdit
The rule of thumb in Sigil is that the Harmonium arrest, the Guvners try, and the Mercykillers sentence and punish the guilty. Of course, it often turns out that the 'guilty' is just the person who wasn't smart enough to properly evade the whole legal process. Nevertheless, the procedure is near and dear to the Triad's collective heart.
• Warrants are required for all arrests, searches, and seizures.
• In the event that a warrant has not been issued, the Harmonium may still investigate any property with the permission of the owner. Note: what constitutes "permission" is often decided by the investigating Harmonium officer. Sometimes all it takes is an unlocked door!
• Exception: Even with a warrant, the Harmonium (or any faction's appointed representative) may not enter the grounds of another faction on faction business without express permission from the owning faction's Factol or officially appointed liaison. Note: This is a recent addition to the laws of Sigil, and patient readers may look up the transcript of the debate at the Hall of Speakers.
• Warrants are to be issued by the Harmonium by one of at least Measure rank.
• Arrests, searches, and seizures are only to be carried out by authorized members of the Harmonium. Note: Despite this, there are private investigators in the Cage. There’s even a permit for it, but such investigators have to be a little more ‘inventive’ to get results.
• The Harmonium may take persons accused of crimes, but for whom an arrest warrant has not been issued, into custody and hold them for not more than two (2) days in the barracks pending investigation.
• Bail is to be posted for any offender deemed reasonably safe to release on the streets no later than two (2) days after arrest. Determination of safety for release is to be made by the Harmonium official with jurisdiction.
• Every resident of Sigil has the right to a fair trial in the Fraternity of Order’s Courts. Note: for more information on courtroom procedure, please see The Fraternity's Guide to Courtroom Procedure.
• The Harmonium and Fraternity are not permitted to directly issue any punishment consisting of more than a minor fine, not exceedingly 100 gold pieces, without the signature of a Mercykiller of at least the rank of Justice.
• The Fated are authorized to collect any single tax or fine not exceeding 50 gold pieces in one day. Taxes exceeding 50 gold pieces are considered fines, which require the standard legal proceedings.
Permits are required for many public activities in Sigil. Not having the correct and timely permit is a fineable offense, usually collected by the Fated during their twice-monthly tax collection rounds. Any resident of Sigil may apply for any permit at the Hall of Records (with the exception of brandishing weapons). The duration of a given permit may vary depending on the class and type of permit issued.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of activities requiring a permit:
- Owning slaves
- Selling slaves
- Brandishing weapons in the city
- Risqué garb
- Parking a vehicle
- Opening and/or running a merchant’s stall
- Public performance (in certain areas of the city)
- House ownership
- Public speaking (in certain areas of the city)
- Offering the services of a private investigator
- Owning or operating a business
Interested readers may also find the Harmonium's Quick Excerpt Interpretation of Sigil's Laws of use on this topic.
Note: The number and types of permits is always increasing in the Cage. So, when considering what sort of permit(s) you may need, I always tell my law-conscious clients to make a list of all their property and public daily activities, and then enquire as to the possibility of getting a permit for everything on their list. If there is something on the list which does not yet require a permit, I advise checking back at the City Courts at least monthly. Most people don’t have time for such an intensive regimen, however, and it has been pointed out to me that it’s cheaper to simply hope your local tax collector won’t notice your lack of a permit. Enforcement is very irregular, after all.
Also note: permits for brandishing weapons are ONLY granted by the Fraternity. Applications are to be forwarded to the City Courts.
- Yours Truly, Snorri the Brave