Quebec et al. v. Baustralia

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Quebec et al. v. Baustralia
Gum transparent.png
Court Supreme Court of the GUM
Date 18 May 2019
Location Discord
Full name Kingdom of Quebec and Kingdom of Ikonia versus Kingdom of Baustralia
Judge Supreme Judge Eden
Plaintiff Aidan I, Cameron I
Defendant John I
Result All charges dismissed
MSLC Citation Quebec et al. v. Baustralia GUM SC 2019 - Eden

Quebec et al. v. Baustralia (in full, Kingdom of Quebec and Kingdom of Ikonia versus Kingdom of Baustralia) is a case which was heard in the Supreme Court of the Grand Unified Micronational on 18 May 2019. The plaintiffs, the Kingdom of Quebec and the Kingdom of Ikonia, brought seven charges against the defendant, the Kingdom of Baustralia, in the aftermath of a debate on whether Baustralia should be granted full membership in the GUM. The case did not progress beyond its preliminary hearing, at which the organisation's Supreme Judge, Horatio Eden of Amissopia, declined to adjudicate on any of the seven charges, ruling that Baustralia had no legal claim to answer.

Background

Disputes between Quebec (formerly the Catholique Socialist Republic) and Baustralia had been ongoing since December 2018, in particular over the status of the Fox Islands territory. On 10 February 2019, both Quebec and Baustralia were accepted as provisional GUM members, the former passing by 8 votes to 0 (1 abstention), and the latter by 4 votes to 2 (3 abstentions).

On 9 March, full membership confirmation votes for both states concluded, with Quebec being accepted by 7 votes to 5, and Baustralia being rejected by 6 votes to 5. The Chair, Adam I of Adammia, considered this to mean that Baustralia had been expelled from the organisation, but shortly thereafter, Associate Justice Jonathan I of Austenasia ruled that, since all three options which should have been available to delegates (promote to full membership, expulsion, or extend provisional membership) per the GUM Charter had not been presented, the vote on Baustralia's membership had been inconclusive. Baustralia was subsequently reinstated as a provisional member.

On 28 April 2019, the subject of Baustralia's membership was raised again. Delegates for both Quebec and Ikonia raised their concerns about Baustralia's conduct at the Quorum session. A number of accusations against Baustralia were levied, with regards the Fox Islands dispute, Baustralia's use of the "Horrible" style to refer to the Quebecois delegate, and other concerns. Delegates present, led by Daniel Morris of New Westphalia, reached the consensus that the accusations against Baustralia were too complicated for the Quorum to settle in one sitting, that the accusing delegations had little evidence to back up their claims, and that it would be unfair to expel Baustralia (whose delegation was not present) without having a chance to defend themselves. The Chair recommended that the Quorum vote to extend Baustralia's provisional membership again, so that the matter could be referred to the Supreme Court, with the intent of acheiving some clarity on the situation. This is exactly what the Quorum did, voting 11 to 0 (1 abstention) to reject Baustralia's full membership, and 5 votes to 2 (3 abstentions) to reject to expel Baustralia.

On 29 April, Supreme Judge Horatio Eden invited the Quebecois and Ikonian delegations to present their claims to him regarding Baustralia. A lengthy debate in the GUM Lounge ensued between the Baustralian delegate, making a rare appearance, and the New Westphalian delegate on the matter of micronational warfare. However, a formal lawsuit was not immediately forthcoming. On 1 May, Supreme Judge Eden set a deadline of 12 May for interested parties to formally set out their claims against Baustralia. On 12 May, following a last-minute reminder from the Supreme Judge, the Quebecois delegation announced "case cancelled" to the GUM Lounge, citing their belief that the Baustralian delegation would attempt to "cover up" key evidence in any potential court case. The Chair subsequently expressed disappointment that the Quebecois delegation did not have confidence in the Supreme Court to determine the truth from a cover-up, and suggested that the organisation ought to assume that no substantive case could be brought against Baustralia; the Supreme Judge agreed with this assessment.

The case

On 14 May, the Quebecois delegation formally filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Judge, two days after the initial deadline. The charges levied by Quebec and Ikonia against Baustralia were:

  1. Disturbance of the peace
  2. Forcing other micronations to join Baustralia
  3. Illegal occupation of Kapreburg
  4. Defamation of character
  5. War, in violation of the GUM Charter
  6. Claims on previously-held micronational territory
  7. Contempt of court in Quebec

The Supreme Judge set the date for the preliminary hearing of 18 May, at which the plaintiffs would have the opportunity to explain their claims in more detail, and the defendant would be able to enter their pleas.

Preliminary hearing and dismissal

The Supreme Court convened at 21:00 UTC on 18 May 2019 (22:00 BST, the time zone of the Supreme Judge, and 17:00 EDT, the time zone of the plaintiffs and the defendant).

The Supreme Judge asked the plaintiffs a series of questions regarding the claims they had put forward, with the intent of gaining a fuller understanding of the circumstances surrounding the claims. Firstly, the court considered point 4, which revolved around the use of the style of "Horrible" by Baustralia to refer to Aidan I, with Quebec considered to be defamation. Quebec asserted that the term was intended as a term of slander.

Next, the court turned its attention to point 3. The Supreme Judge quickly established that Baustralia was no longer in control of Kapreburg, and the court then spent some time considering whether the occupation of Kapreburg was legal under the Kapresh or Baustralian constitutions.

The court then considered the matter of the Baustralian Conquest. The Supreme Judge enquired as to which parties involved in that conflict were the first to claim the land in dispute, and which parties were the first to declare war. After the Quebecois delegation admitted that Quebec itself had been involved in certain parts of the Baustralian Conquest, the Supreme Judge decided to move on.

Finally, the Supreme Judge considered the claims that Baustralia had deceived courts in Quebec, a situation which appeared to revolve around competing charges of treason against each side's respective head of state with regards to the Kapreburg issue. As with point 3, this matter appeared to depend on the legality of the handover of Kapreburg to Baustralia.

His questions satisfied, Supreme Judge Eden delivered the following verdicts on each of the claims:

  1. Declined to adjudicate: The Supreme Judge stated that the matter in question related to the rules of MicroWiki and was therefore for the MW Administrators to adjudicate on.
  2. Declined to adjudicate: The Supreme Judge stated that there was no evidence that Baustralia had "forced" any nation to join it beyond persistently asking them.
  3. Declined to adjudicate: The Supreme Judge ruled that the plaintiffs had not provided sufficient evidence to suggest that Baustralia's occupation of Kapreburg contravened national or international law, especially considering that the Treaty of Chariotsville tacitly acknowledged Baustralia's claim over the area.
  4. Declined to adjudicate: The Supreme Judge stated that there is no recourse in law for "name-calling".
  5. Declined to adjudicate: The Supreme Judge stated that in all conflicts which were part of the Baustralian Conquest, either Baustralia was justified in defending itself, or Quebec had been complicit in Baustralia's actions.
  6. Declined to adjudicate: The Supreme Judge ruled that Baustralia's expansion into land held by recently dissolved nations was a political rather than a legal issue.
  7. Declined to adjudicate: The Supreme Judge ruled that the case in question was a local, internal matter over which the GUM had no jurisdiction.

With all seven charges dismissed, Supreme Judge Eden subsequently adjourned the court, bringing the case to a close.

Observers

Delegates from Adammia, Essexia, Hrafnarfjall and Aspen observed and commented on the trial as it was unfolding via the GUM Discord server's voice chat. Infamously, one delegate from Essexia bet £10 that the case would extend beyond midnight BST, only for Supreme Judge Eden to dismiss all seven charges at one minute to midnight (the Supreme Judge was not in the voice chat and was therefore not aware of the bet).

Aftermath

The case, having primarily considered legal issues rather than political issues, did not resolve many of the questions about Baustralia's membership. Many delegates considered the case, which was the first proper legal battle to be heard by the GUM Supreme Court since the Lethler Era, to be anti-climatic.

In the following session of the GUM's Quorum of Delegates on 22 May 2019, Quorum voted to reject Baustralia's application for full membership of the GUM and subsequently expelled the Baustralian delegation from the organisation[1].

References