Logophile on Law

Law is a word that fools us. Since law has serious impact on our lives we need to understand the term and how to use it properly. Importantly, we need to be aware of how it is used against us.

Some people come under the penalty of law, when the “law” used against them was not a “law” at all. You are most likely fooled by the use of “law”. So it is important that you understand the word, how it is used and what implications it has in your life.

Law is a Vague Term

Some words are used in multiple applications, with different meanings. A young woman tells her infant brother that she wishes to marry a man because she ‘loves’ him. The infant then replies that he is going to marry chocolate, because he ‘loves’ chocolate.

Love is used so broadly that its technical meaning varies in different situations. You can love sport while sport is not the love of your life. You can love your spouse, but also love getting away on your own.

The ancient Greeks used several different words for our English word ‘love’, differentiating between: attraction to the appearance of a thing; humanitarian or family concern; sexual attraction; and sacrificial commitment for the good of others.

Law is similarly a vague term. It refers to such unchangeable things as the laws of nature, but also to such changeable things as the rules of a club.

It’s the Law

When someone informs you that something “is the Law!” you can be misled as to their meaning. What type of ‘law’ is it? Who made that law? By what is it enforced? What are the consequences of breaking that law? Who is bound by that law?

Many things are the ‘law’ and have profound consequences for some people, yet can be completely ignored by others. Just because something is “the law” doesn’t mean most of us have to give any credence whatsoever. The trick is to know what is ‘law’ and what is ‘law’. That is, we need to differentiate between one law and another.

Others May but I May Not

A police officer is bound by more laws than the average citizen. Anyone who has sworn an oath of office, taking on special responsibility, is under stricter controls than normal citizens. For example, ordinary citizens are not bound by law to give their name to a police officer, but a police officer must give his name to any citizen who asks for it.

Lawyers and Barristers have sworn special allegiance to the courts, in order to be allowed to deal with the special legal matters of the court. So an ordinary citizen has much greater freedom in a court of law than their legal team does.

It is a case of “others may, but I may not”. Others may ignore the instructions or demands of a judge, but a barrister does not have that privilege. Others may ignore the demands of a police officer (under certain circumstances) but a police officer may not ignore the demands made of him or her.

Categories of Laws

Here are some of the various types of law that impact you in your normal life. There is Divine Law, Natural Law, Common Law, Imperial Law, Constitutional Law, Statute Law, Local By-Laws, Club Rules and House Rules. There are also such laws as the Laws of Nature, Maritime Law, Contract Law and International Law.

Divine Law involves mankind’s moral accountability to the Creator, who is the ultimate moral being and who holds all people accountable against His own moral standards. Such laws as the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ convey man’s moral responsibility to God’s Law.

Natural Law involves the natural rights and responsibilities which attend natural existence. Such things as the right to self-defence and the right to maintain and sustain life are included here.

Human Legality

While Divine and Natural Law seem to be the most basic foundation for law, they are not man-made, but spring from either the nature of our existence or the One who created us. So the next areas of ancient law (Common Law and Imperial Law) represent the early expressions of human law which have passed to many nations.

Common Law is the body of laws which developed in England over centuries, where God’s Law, especially as expressed in the Book of Deuteronomy, was applied to situations and codified into a body of rights and responsibilities. Common Law is principally focussed on limiting people’s impact on others (no murder, injury or theft) and making people accountable for their own actions (bound by their promises).

Imperial Law involves all the laws of English monarchs, which further codified Biblical, Natural and Common Law into principles by which due legal process is to be applied. Such documents as the Magna Carta from over 700 years ago are still upheld as foundations for legal practice and principle followed today. Most English speaking and former British Empire nations have ratified their continued reliance on Imperial Law. Imperial Laws have not decayed with time, but are enduring elements of what is law and lawful today.

Modern Law

While all those laws mentioned so far are perfectly modern in their validity, most unlearned citizens think of them as somehow outmoded and not relevant today. Modern people think of their nation’s constitution and the government-enacted laws (statutes) as modern law.

Constitutional Law involves that body of law which is created to define a nation and how it will operate, politically and legally. Many nations have a constitution: that which constitutes (brings together) the nation itself. All of the parts are the constituents. All legal and political practice within the nation has to be based on the law that “constitutes” (or creates) the nation.

Statute Law involves all those “laws” which are created by governments. Once a nation has been constituted (via its Constitution) its elected or appointed officials may need to create the Rules for the effective operation of the nation. Those “laws” are actually “statutes”. They are rules which are given the force of law, and are generally treated as equal to those higher laws upon which the government has been founded. Statutes are binding upon the members of the club or society which created them.

Local Law involves those rules which are created by local councils, regional administrations, clubs (for their members), social organisations, etc. For example: a student at one school is told that he must wear a particular uniform on certain days. But that localised rule, while effectively the “law” for some students, has absolutely no hold over students attending a different school. One local council may prohibit the lighting of fires in people’s yards, while the neighbouring city might encourage such fires. Local laws only apply to those who are bound by them, by membership of some group or other.

Question The Law

Which laws apply to you? If other people create a rule for them and their club, does that have any hold over you? Is the law being applied to you a Divine moral responsibility, or is it simply a statute made up to facilitate social order?

Is the law that is being pressed upon you really a law at all? If a local or statute law is against the higher laws on which they stand, then can it be a lawful law at all?

Can a government morally uphold a law that rejects or breaks God’s Law? Can a local or state government legally create a law that violates that nation’s Constitution?

When someone tells you “It’s the Law”, what do they really mean? It may be “law” for them, but is it law for you? If two laws contradict each other, which law should you obey?

A Lawful Mind

The information and questions in this lesson are to prompt you to know where you stand before the law and how you should respond to the laws you are told to obey. I want you to have a deeper and richer understanding of the law than many of those around you who say, “It’s the Law!”

Give these matters some serious thought and seek to develop a wise and lawful mind.

Logophile on Jurisdiction

My recent post on the topic of The Right To Speak discussed the word ‘jurisdiction’. I want to explore that word a little more today, making a Logophile posting on this significant term. I pointed out there that the expression “the right to speak” means the same as the word “jurisdiction”.

Morphology of Jurisdiction

I pointed out in my posting on the Right to Speak that “jurisdiction” is the convergence of two powerful thoughts. Juris – comes from the Latin word ‘ius’, which means ‘law’. So we have the juris concept of law in such words as “jurisprudence” and “jury”.

Diction – means “to speak”. It refers to speech, words and commands.

Jurisdiction, then, refers to words that have legal authority. In practice that involves “The authority to apply the law.” But note that the authority is linked to the concepts of words and speech in the morphology of the word jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction means “the right to speak”, “speaking words of authority”, “speaking with legal privilege”, and “making law through the spoken word”.

Decrees and Dictums

Since speech is a key component of rule over a jurisdiction it is only reasonable to expect that many legal and authoritative terms refer to some form of speech or other. So consider the following examples of words relevant to authoritative enactments which refer to something spoken.

A Dictate is a directive or a command which authoritatively prescribes something, issues orders or gives commands.

A Dictator is someone who asserts their authority over others in a unilateral fashion, as an absolute ruler.

A Dictum is an authoritative pronouncement.

An Edict is a decree or proclamation issued by an authority and having the force of law. An edict is also a formal pronouncement or command.

A Pronouncement is something that is ‘pronounced’, ie: spoken.

A Declaration is something spoken out.

A Proclamation is also something that is spoken out.

While a Decree is a judgement it is synonymous in usage with the idea of a spoken announcement. Note that sense of a spoken announcement in the Law Encyclopaedia definition of “decree”: “A judgment of a court that announces the legal consequences of the facts found in a case and orders that the court’s decision be carried out.”

It Is Written

Spoken words end up written down and the written pronouncements of an authority are also important components of their jurisdictional rule. Diction can be in text form.

Therefore we have a range of authoritative terms referring to the written pronouncement. These written documents represent the dictates of the ruler.

A Papal Bull is a written document sealed with the Pope’s seal and expressed in a legal format that authenticates its significance.

An Encyclical was originally a pastoral letter from a bishop of the church, but now refers to a solemn papal letter.

Formal Notice is a legal form of advice from one authority to another within a prescribed format and carrying legal significance.

The word Prescribe has the word ‘scribe’ built into it, referring to the written nature of the legal document.

Every Idle Word

In the context of Jurisdiction every idle word has significance. That is why we are warned that we will have to give account for every word that we speak, even those that are said in jest or thoughtlessly.

“But I say to you, That every idle word that men speak, they will give account for in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36

Thus the Bible warns us that we must mean what we say. Our Yes must mean ‘Yes’ and our No must mean ‘No’.

“But above all things, my brethren, do not swear, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest you fall into condemnation.” James 5:12

Your Jurisdiction

While you may not rule an empire you do have rule over your own life and soul. Your words have the power of life and death over your own self. Life and death are in the power of the tongue, because the tongue dictates what you, as the authority over your life, decree.

There is law in your mouth. Your words determine legal outcomes for your personal existence. Be very careful of the ‘diction’ in your jurisdiction over your own life.

Logophile of Kings and Monarchs

It’s been a while since I discussed words with you and so I thought I’d bring up another regal topic. This time I want to discuss the idea of being Imperial in an Empire.

Imperial & Empire

While these words appear quite different in English they actually come from the same Latin root. They both come from the Latin concept of ‘command’, in the word ‘imperare’. By Middle Latin the word had morphed into ‘imperium’. In Middle English the word had become ‘emperial’. Both of our English words imperial and empire spring from that original Latin root.

Hence it is true that imperial things belong to the empire. What is done by the monarch’s command is that which is deemed imperial and impacts his empire.

Of Kings and Monarchs

Consider these various meanings for the term ‘imperial’.

1. Pertaining to an empire

2. Pertaining to an emperor or empress

3. Characterizing the rule or authority of a sovereign state over its dependencies

4. Of the nature or rank of an emperor or supreme ruler

Both our words Imperial and Empire are intrinsically linked to Kings and Monarchs. Since much of the world has been under some form of monarchical rule – including all former British colonies, much of Europe, Russia, many Asian nations, African countries and South American cultures – the idea of Imperial things and Empires is relevant to most people on the planet.

Things Imperial

We have an interesting collection of things designated as ‘imperial’ due to their monarchical origins.

There is a coin called an ‘imperial’. It is a Russian Coin used from 1897 – 1917. It is so called because of the same Latin root as our word imperial, which became ‘imperialis’, meaning a coin, as something authorised by the monarch. A Roman coin bearing the monarch’s image, then, was in imperialis. The coin which was shown to Jesus Christ, with Caesar’s image on it, was an imperialis – an imperial coin.

Imperial Measures are those measures that were used in Britain and British colonies. In most nations the imperial measures have been replaced by metric measures. Imperial measures were ‘imperial’ because they were the ones approved by the monarch. Standardisation enabled the authorities to regulate against false measurements and fraudulent dealings. As the monarchs determined the set weights and measures their officers could then enforce accuracy and punish those who used unjust methods.

Imperial Law is that body of law which comes down to us as law enacted through the centuries by various monarchs. In their imperial capacity monarchs are able to impose law and regulations which all in their empire must follow. What is particularly significant about Imperial Law is that much of the freedom which western societies take for granted have come to us by rulings of various monarchs down through the past 1,000 years.

Imperial Law

Not all laws enacted by monarchs were so enacted with the enthusiastic support of the monarch. The Magna Carta, for example, is a law that was forced on King John. Yet, by his action of ratifying that law it comes to us as ‘imperial law’.

In Australia the original national constitution is built upon the pre-existing Imperial Law. Subsequently the various states of the Commonwealth have enacted legislation ratifying that pre-existing Imperial Law as continuing its validity for the benefit of Australian citizens.

So Imperial Law is not as out of date or irrelevant as the idea might suggest to our modern minds. We are indebted to imperial laws for many of the freedoms we have taken for granted all our lives.

Logophile for Queens

Here’s a royal theme to give us an excuse to play with some words. I am sure the pedants out there can explain whether “queen” is both singular and plural. I haven’t bothered to dig too deep on that one, but I have a suspicion that the plural of queen can be both ‘queen’ and ‘queens’. Anyone have the good oil on that one?

My focus is with the types of queen and the verbiage which relates to them. There are two main types of queen. A queen regent and a queen consort. When the ruling monarch is a queen then she has regal power. She is the ruling authority, as is currently the case in England with Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth carries royalty in her blood and so she is queen regent.

When I was young I couldn’t understand why the Queen’s husband, Prince Phillip, was not the king. The reason is that he is not of the royal lineage and has no right to the throne. His wife is his monarch.

Where a king is on the throne his wife is designated as a queen. She is a queen consort, since she is his consort. Consort comes from an Old French word meaning to ‘share with’. Any group or person who cooperates with another could be designated a ‘consort’.

Consort, therefore, includes any spouse. It also includes such collections as a musical ensemble and it refers to one who tags along, including a ship which accompanies another. In common usage it is often used in a negative connotation, such as saying that someone consorts with unsavoury friends.

Now, having put ‘regent’ and ‘consort’ onto the table let’s have a look at the vocabulary that springs from them.

Regent is linked to regal. Regal gowns are known as regalia, although that term is often used in a light-hearted fashion when describing the elaborate costume of an ordinary person. “Decked in his official regalia the yacht club captain struck a handsome pose.”

Consort gives us more room to explore. We can have a consortium, being a collection of things which go together. A consortium may be a group of companies which collaborate together in a project or enterprise.

Legally the term consortium refers to the emotional bond shared between parent and child or husband and wife. It also refers to the conjugal blessings which a married couple can share.

Consorting is given almost criminal implications when the police notice a person mixing with the wrong company.

A Dowager Queen is one who has received a dowry, including her status as queen. It seems logical that only a queen consort could become a dowager queen, since a queen regent would not receive an endowment from their spouse.

A Queen Mother refers to a queen consort whose husband, the king, has died and the monarchy has passed to one of her children. She is thus the mother of the monarch, and yet a queen, not losing that title when the king dies.

Now, I have no idea why these words took my fancy, but I have successfully distracted you with them. If you are a lover of words you won’t mind the distraction. If you are a pedant you are probably distracted by holes in my definitions and you may wish to correct and expand my observations. Please feel free to do so. The joy of words is to use them, explore them and apply them where they can enrich our understanding and experience.

Logophile Lunacy Four

It’s getting weirder each time. Trying to weave a string of obscure terms together can be fun, or it can just be bizarre. However, I’ve tried to be true to the language and present you with something that will expand your own vocab and give you a better grip on good old English.

For those looking in for the first time, this is the fourth in a string of Lunacy posts, where word lovers (that’s the Logophiles) decipher the less familiar terms then create their own version of the story I have concocted, using words we may hardly ever see.

The objective of this time-wasting exercise is to see how many people can get distracted by something as trivial as this and still stay employed! Actually I am applying one of my favourite educational principles – that of Repetition and Recall – the Extra 2 R’s I love the most.

As you play with words and rework them you are much more likely to insert them into your consciousness and maybe even add them to your working vocabulary.

What you are about to see is the full passage, which I have been introducing in pieces up until now. Have a go at it and see if you can mangle all or part of it, to the benefit of us all.

“It is germane to note that this robustious habitué is under the aegis of a denizen of this place, an avuncular eremite, who will expiate his fatuous arrogation of title.

Though others inveigh the grandiloquent concatenation by which he avoids each contretemps, he manages to exculpate himself from mordant limn and continue in his bon ton.

He lacks nescience of the imbroglio his arrant foolery has generated. He continues with the hubris of a mountebank in the depredation of each complaisant and venal quisling who seeks his apotheosis.

His cap-a-pie deceit and sedulous chicanery have earned him the sobriquet “bandit”, yet he still draws plaudits from each aficionado who pleads clemency for his behaviour.”