Legal system (Nova Roma)
The Nova Roman legal system includes the legal texts applicable to and inside Nova Roma. It is composed not only of the laws adopted by the comitia, the assemblies of Nova Roma, but also of senatus consulta, pontifical decrees and magisterial edicts.
All leges (laws) of Nova Roma are officially listed through three sources, based on their status:
- Historical list of all laws - Lists all laws ever enacted, in chronological order. A historical list.
- Consolidated library of laws - Lists all active (in-force) laws on a single page to enable keyword or phrase searches (Ctrl-F).
Some complementary information on older Nova Roma laws or proposed laws (rogationes) that were never ratified:
- Old Website Tabularium (deprecated)
- Repealed Leges
- Lapsed Leges
- Failed Rogationes
- Withdrawn Rogationes
- Vetoed Rogationes
A senatus consulta, abbreviated to SC, was an official statement and advice of the Roman senate to the executive magistrates. In Nova Roma, the SC has legal and authoritative precedence as a a decree of the Senate. A chronological summary of all SC can be found through the recorded sessions of the Senate.
Senatus Consulta Ultima
In accordance with article V. D. of the Nova Roma constitution, in times of emergency, through a two-thirds majority vote, the Senate has the power to issue a senatus consultum ultimum (the ultimate decree of the Senate), abbreviated as SCU. An SCU can, with the exception of this Constitution, supersede all other laws, the judiciary, the magistrates and the Comitia, by making decisions in their place, and can authorize the consuls and other officers to use their imperium in the central administration with absolute powers, under the constraints of the Constitution and within the prescribed scope as defined by the Senatus consultum ultimum, to deal with a specific situation. The Senatus consultum ultimum is a type of Senatus consultum, and as such, it is subject to tribunician intercessio and to all rules regarding SC, but magistrates acting under an enacted SCUm are not subject to tribunician intercessio or provocatio. The SCU may not be used in place of a lex to enact a change in the Constitution or in the Articles of Incorporation, or in place of a decretum pontificum to appoint priests. A SCU only remains in-force for three months after its enactment. After which, it ceases to have any special authority other than a regular SC.
Senatus Consulta Archive
Archived records (no longer used but retained for historical purposes) of some past SC and relevant pages may be found here:
Decreta pontificum vel augurum
The collegium pontificum has the right to issue decreta on matters relevant to the Roman religion and its own internal procedures, the collegium augurum has the same power to issue decreta on matters of the ars auguria and its own internal procedures. These priestly decrees may not be overruled by laws passed in the comitia, by senatus consulta, or by edicts of magistrates.
An edictum is a binding authoritative order given by a magistrate empowered to do so. The level or authority of an edict is determined by the rank of the issuing magistrate. All edicts rank below leges and senatus consulta in legislative precedence. They are often used to formally assign tasks and projects, make rulings or interpret the law.
Edicta in Nova Roma are only valid for the duration of office of the issuing magistrate, in accordance with the Lex Arminia de ratione edictorum. Only a dictator's edicta IAW article IV. B. 1. of the constitution remains valid after their term in office. Nova Roma has consolidated edicta on the following page:
Forms, instructions and treaties
Nova Roma will produce various official forms, applications and documents. Below is a list of commonly used forms and applications used in Nova Roma:
Instructions and Manuals
Instructions and manuals are often produced by various magistrates or apparitors to present a procedural guide or document repetitive work that is done within the Republic. These documents are generally not authoritative or hold legislative precedence in their own right but may often be issued under the imperium or potestas of a responsible magistrates. Current versions on various subjects are provided here:
Official Treaties and Agreements
One of the primary objectives of Nova Roma is to work and collaborate with various individuals, groups and institutions around the world that foster the study of ancient Rome. Written memorandums of understanding (MoU) may also be produced with reenactment groups as detailed in leges like the Lex Aurelia de legionibus. Below is a list of known agreements or treaties with other entities:
- Memorandum of Understanding with Ancient Roman Reenactors Victoria (ARRV), Australia
- Memorandum of Understanding with Legio XII Fulminata (S.A.), Australia
Encyclopedia of Nova Roma legislation
The amount and length of Nova Roma legislation can be complex, as it was in ancient Rome and as it is in the modern era. Below is an encyclopedia of legislation, formatted into categories, to easily show relevant laws to various activities or individuals.
The Nova Roman Law Handbook. An unofficial but useful tool for studying the law and identifying the relationship between various policy:
- It also contains a Glossary to search through legislation via topic, keyword or phrase.
The assemblies and courts of Nova Roma
Like ancient Rome, Nova Roma has four different comitia which are the supreme assemblies of the Roman people acting as a political body. The comitia have the legislative power of the Roman state where citizens vote on laws and elected magistrates.They are convened by the magistrates and have the power to make authoritative expressions of the will of the people.
The following pages contain useful information on the purpose of each comitium:
Nova Roma uses a series of court systems to handle disagreements in a more formal, thourough and slower-paced way. While a senior magistrate could impose rules, procedures or decisions on an aedilis or triumvir capitalis to handle matters, the court system provides a lasting, precedential, defensible, and public record of solutions that are likely to be more amenable to more parties than an imposed decision of a superior. The court system provides an alternative to the intercessio, and it gives a possibility for lower magistrates and citizens to question, affect or challenge the decisions of the higher magistrates.
Note: For a brief summary of your options as a citizen to address a grievance or complaint in Nova Roma, see the page of Complaint and Conflict Resolution in Nova Roma.
Purpose of the courts
Judiciary court proceedings serve to allow any citizen to be able to bring an action against another citizen of Nova Roma and have it formally heard by an appointed or elected jury. The court system is based on the Roman republican procedural model, both because it is the model that best suits Nova Roma and because it is the basis for all the procedural systems of modern Western nations. Some concessions to Nova Roma's particular structure have had to be made; but, in spirit, it follows the ancient Roman procedure. Examples include instances where one citizen raises a greivance based on the actions of another citizen, or to settle an unruly debate between two citizens disagreeing on a matter.
Administrative court proceedings serve to decide debates and complaints between magistrates and other officers about correct procedure, and lawfulness of an action or decision, and complaints of citizens against magistrates and other officers about correct procedure and lawfulness of their action or decision. Examples include a complaint of citizen against an action or decision of a magistrate or other officer which the citizen deems illegal, mistaken or unjust, or to to have been made according to an incorrect or unlawful procedure. The administrative court may not be used to decide administrative debates in which one of the parties is the Comitia, the Senate, the Collegium Pontificum or Collegium Augurum.
Constitutional court proceedings serve to decide debates and uncertainties about the interpretation of law between various magistrates and officers or other debates between the comitia, the senate, the priestly colleges, the magistrates and other officers about their jurisdiction, competence, power and authority. Examples include a debate between two magistrates about who has the authority and competence to make a decision or to issue an edict in a specific question, or a debate about which comitia have the right to make a decision about a specific question.
If the involved parties are uncertain about which type of court they should petition with their complaint or case, they shall ask for a general directional ruling from the Praetorian Office, and they shall turn to the jurisdiction of the court as directed.
Challenges made to this form of general directional ruling can be addressed to the praetors who shall handle any controversy about the selection of the appropriate court in a form of an administrative court trial, as the court of first instance, for original jurisdiction. Appeals against the ruling of the praetor shall be made to the comitia (court of second instance). Once a verdict is made by the comitia, it shall be considered final.
Government Public Offices & Committees
Both the senate and the magistrates have the power to not only appoint indivdual staff (apparitores) to serve magistrates and the state, but also to create or establish various public offices and working committees.
These offices and committees alike will vary in function and purpose, determined by the relivant senatus consultum of the senate or the edictum of the magistrate.
Nova Roma law does not presently define offices and committees as legal entities, nor does it define a difference between them. Through practical convention, an office is considered a more permanent division of staff or allocation of public servants to a specific recurring set of duties. A committee is considered more temporary and may include citizens not considered apparitores outside of the committee itself. These delegations or assignments of tasks may not always contain the name of "committee" either and may list under a different construct all together.
As is customary, a list or fasti is kept to record all magistrates who served in the various offices since Nova Roma’s foundation. Also recorded here are current lists of various other forms of officers from around Nova Roma.
See the category page (all associated links) with the legal system of Nova Roma.
The Codex Juris was originally compiled by citizen Domitius Constantinus Fuscus. A significant update to this Tabularium and the Codex Juris was commenced in Q. Arrio (III) A. Tullia cos. ‡ MMDCCLXXIV a.u.c., led by D. Aurelius Ingeniarius, under the authority of the Officum Rei Informaticae, and Praetorial edicta Edictum praetorium c. Artorii de renovatione tabularii (LXXIV - VI).