Law and Enforcement

The western Thanelands are sparsely populated, and such cities as exist are fairly lawless.

Small crimes and property crimes (including some crimes against thralls) are adjudicated by the gotha of the property where the crime occurred.  (So at Skeggvarshold this would be Gull-Skeggi.)  The gotha's motivation for not just declaring whichever outcome is most advantageous to himself is that he would lose reputation in the eyes of the community if his sentences weren't just.  There's no formal appeal process, nor any authority to appeal to, but if a significant fraction of those present at the trial think the decision was unjust then the gotha will usually say "in that case let's turn it over to the Lawspeaker when he comes around."  Or if not there might be a fight; trials often end in a fight.

There is a large body of law which is kept as oral lore.  The gotha is expected to be semi-familiar with it but Gull-Skeggi often just wings it, he doesn't remember it all. 

The ones responsible for remembering it all are the Lawspeakers, itinerant judges paid by the king.  When a Lawspeaker shows up, everybody vies for who gets to put him up and feast him; he often moves from stead to stead during his visit.  Lawspeakers show up about twice a year.  All of the human inhabitants and most intelligent monsters will leave them unmolested, so they often travel alone.  (And, they're generally high-level NPCs who can take care of themselves.)

A Lawspeaker always starts by reciting the entirety of the law (to prove he knows it).  This takes a couple of days; anybody who has a lawsuit planned will be wise to attend, because that's pretty much the only way they're going to learn exactly what the law is as this judge enforces it.  Different lawspeakers run their trials differently, but generally they want testimony from everybody who has any, and then they assess the quality of the people involved, the sizes of armies the different parties have brought to the trial, and attempt to come up with a verdict that will both be just and will prevent a battle from breaking out.  Sometimes this works, sometimes not.  The smaller trials are done first, so if there is a battle it generally happens at the end of all the court proceedings.

There is no jail and capital punishment is rare, usually only for treason, regicide, and the like.  Thralldom serves in place of jail.  For crimes too severe for that, you can be outlawed.  Outlaws are not protected by the law, and no house may offer them succor on pain of outlawry themselves.  Thus they basically have to live in the wilds until killed, if they stay in the area.  Usually outlaws just leave for some distant part of the Linnorm Kingdoms where nobody knows them until the term of their outlawry is over.   Unknowingly aiding an outlaw is not a crime.

Law and Enforcement

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