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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Teaching a legal adviser the law?

Advocate Robin Morris has a reputation in legal circles as, well, not a particularly good lawyer. I have not yet received the transcript of my appearance in the Magistrate's Court, ahead of my appeal to the Royal Court but I have had the opportunity to prepare the case that I will represent. The main issue that Advocate Morris seemed to have had was, 'what was I when I was not a person'.

The answer to Advocate Morris' question is found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I am not entirely sure that Jersey has signed up to this since it is not a 'country' or a 'nation' in its own right, but our rights as British citizens, are ensured by the British government.

Article 1 - Innate Freedom and Equality
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 6 - The Right to Legal Personality
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Therefore, for the sake of clarity Advocate Morris, when I am not a 'person', as I am only a person when 'before the law', I am a human being and when a human being I am equal to all other human beings and thus not subject to anyone else's orders.

If we are to employ Advocates then is it too much to expect that they be familiar with common legal terminology?

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights enshrines the Right to Self-Determination and this right has undergone some development over the years
In a 1998 Reference Opinion on the secession of Quebec from Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that “an oppressed people” who suffer “massive violation of its fundamental rights” may have a right to form a sovereign State.
In a Concurring Opinion in a case tangentially related to the issue of self-determination, Judge Wildhaber of the European Court of Human Rights noted, “[u]ntil recently in international practice the right to self-determination . . . unlike 50 years ago, when the universal human rights system was in its infancy, the development of the right to self-determination was . . . restricted to, a right to de-colonisation. In recent years a consensus has seemed to emerge that people may also exercise a right to self-determination if their human rights are consistently and flagrantly violated or if they are without representation at all . . . .” 
Thus, self-determination has developed over the years from being a right of peoples under colonial subjugation to a right of peoples who are subjected to massive human rights violations or who are without representation within their State.
Indeed it is this same right that Sir Pip will be relying on if his plans for 'independence' proceed or if Scotland chooses to be independent of the United Kingdom and it is on this basis that the East Timor region is seeking independence from Indonesia. The right is recognised although of course we expect that the United Kingdom will be less resistant to the democratic will of Jersey or Scotland for independence that the Indonesians are for East Timor.

It is not such a massive leap to allow individual citizens to claim 'self-sovereignty', although one assumes that only those who have the economic ability to provide for all their own needs will do so.

The argument then proceeds to look at discrimination and the prohibition thereof.

It is usual in international treaties for each sovereign nation, which for the purpose of this discussion will be referred to as 'persons' to either sign up to or refuse to be a signatory to each and every declaration, protocol, treaty etc. There is no means for compelling a 'person' to abide by the judgement of an international Court, although clearly there is some degree of criticism which arises in the case of 'human rights abuses'. Even once signed up each nation is free to derogate any agreement that it has entered into at a future date. For example an independent Jersey could freely pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Thus the nature and operation of international 'statute' proceeds along the same lines as those who follow the 'freeman' argument would seek to enforce on the relationship between the individual and the State the same terms and conditions.

A 'sovereign citizen' can only be subject to God's Laws (as the only higher authority) and those of Man's Laws which he freely consents to abide by.

If those legal persons which are sovereign nations are treated differently from those legal persons who are sovereign citizens then that is a form of discrimination.