Note: I do not think the Freemen of the Land should be dismissed out of hand. They are the only semi-libertarians around prepared to gather and make a fuss. Even so, their legal arguments are, to put it mildly, in need of development. Here is a comment on an earlier posting about the FotL. I think everyone will agree that it is important enough to move to the front page. SIG
Freemen of the Land: A Barrister Writes
by F. Gibbons
A completely emotional response. Calm down for a moment and actually consider what you’re writing. I referred to contempt of court. There are numerous videos on YouTube in relation to Freemen making arguments on jursidiction in magistrates’ courts, such as this one from the Freedom Rebels’ Network:
Aside from illegally recording court proceedings, an attempt to act like this in the Crown Court would most likely land you with a criminal charge of contempt of court for interfering with court proceedings. Blackstone’s Criminal Practice (a leading text used in court by lawyers and judges alike) at B14.86 indicates as follows: “A deliberate disruption of proceedings in court, whether staged by persons involved in those proceedings, or by demonstrators etc. may be punished as contempt, and in most cases will be dealt with by the court acting of its own motion.” In reality, a Crown Court judge would almost certainly see someone acting in this way as d eliberately disrupting proceedings. Any decent criminal lawyer will tell you that persisting with even behaviour falling well short of that shown in the video is likely to land you with a contempt charge. Your statement that “There has to be an injured party, and the judge is accepted to have broad enough shoulders to withstand ANY insult” is nonsense.
There is a proliferation of such instructive videos and articles on the Internet and I consider it extremely irresponsible to encourage people to act in this manner, which is likely to, at best, set the court against them from the off and, at worst, end them up in prison. Look at the video. Any decent criminal lawyer will tell you that much of the titles and narration mean absolutely nothing. At some points, the narrator is talking complete legal gibberish and, at others, he is simply stating the law entirely incorrectly.
The video aside, most articles by Freemen I have read use similar legal gibberish that, in reality, means nothing. These arguments will get you nowhere in a court of law.
A typical mistake Freemen make is to try to apply principles of courtroom law (civil contracts etc) to legal philosophy, i.e. arguments in relation to consent to be governed. For people to be governed subject to the country’s laws, including statute law, does not require their signature on a piece of paper. I completely understand why some people would say: ‘I didn’t consent to this law; why should I be governed by it?’ But consent is not required in relation to each and every individual law. Consent is only required insofar as the government needing general consent to its rule so that it is considered legitimate. If everyone rose up against the government’s rule, it would not be considered legitimate and general consent would essentially be withdrawn. This is not something written down in the books; it is not a matter of black-letter law. This is quite simply the practical reality of our situation.
Every law is man-made. Even the legal gibberish many Freemen spout is man-made. They are simply trying to replace a set of rules that has been made up and developed over centuries with one they have just made up themselves. Unfortunately for them, the centuries-old set of rules is recognised by the vast majority of the population and the entire judiciary.
Captain Ranty, talk about numpties and ‘God help us’ all you like. The real ‘God help us’ is in relation to people who (1) know little to nothing about the law, (2) pretend to know a lot and (3) attempt to lead and educate others who face criminal charges or civil penalties and know little to nothing about the law themselves.