Law and Liberty,

Rights and Responsibilities, 



The Jurlandia Institute presents two versions of the Constitution of Jurlandia in English. The first, this one, presents the Constitution as a single document with no hotlinks. The second presents the “discussion version” of the Constitution in five parts, corresponding to its five chapters, with hotlinks to the Explanatory Essay and to related essays and other internet-mediated materials.

The “first draft” was written during January 1991, based on extensive research, including numerous meetings led by President Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania. It has changed little since.

The accompanying Russian translation is by Lowry Wyman (1950-2015), Jurlandia’s co-founder, who coordinated this project during its first three decades. No modern attempt at translation of this history-laden document is likely to improve upon Professor Wyman’s translation. Supportive materials are archived.


As a matter of law, the following document neither claims nor violates any copyrights. This “mapping” or “blueprint” has coevolved with Ordered Liberty and the Rule of Law based on the Rule of Reason


The Constitution of Jurlandia

Preamble: We, the people of Jurlandia, in order to secure the blessings of life, liberty, community, and the pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our posterity, hereby ordain and establish this Constitution of the Republic of Jurlandia

In Russian


Article 1.

1. The Republic of Jurlandia is a democratic, secular, and unitary state. The Constitution of Jurlandia shall be the supreme law of the Republic, and shall be interpreted in light of generally-accepted world norms of civilized behavior, including norms further specified in this Constitution. No treaty, legislation, regulation, ordinance, governmental action, or any other action taken under color of law, may contravene this Constitution.

2. As used in this Constitution, “treaty” means any agreement between Jurlandia and any other country or countries, including agreements under the auspices of any international organization; “legislation” means any law or statute adopted by the Parliament of Jurlandia; “regulation” means any law, rule, or procedure adopted by any organ of state administration, as authorized by legislation; “ordinance” means any law, rule, or procedure adopted by any organ of local administration, as authorized by legislation; “government” or “governmental action” means any official activity by any officer or agent of any organ of state or local administration; and “action taken under color of law” means any decision or action by any official governed by this Constitution, including any judicial official.

3. All law-making, law-implementing, and law-enforcement activity — broadly defined — must be governed by this Constitution. Any restrictions upon exercising rights and freedoms are allowed by this Constitution only to the extent necessary to secure the rights and freedoms of others, to secure domestic tranquility and the common defense, and to protect the constitutional democracy here created; in any such restrictions, the essence of constitutional rights and freedoms must not be impaired. The people acknowledge that all rights and freedoms must be balanced with the essence — the core values — underlying all other rights and freedoms.

Article 2.

1. This Constitution shall be published in Jurlandic and Russian. Each version shall be equally authoritative. Any other version in any language, if deemed useful by the Supreme Court of Jurlandia, may be used for purposes of shedding light upon the meaning of the words and phrases of this Constitution. Any writings or other expressions of opinion, published during the course of deliberations upon the text of this Constitution, may likewise be considered by the Supreme Court in determining the meaning of this Constitution.

2. The people of Jurlandia intend by this Constitution to base their Republic upon a foundation of what is generally referred to as “Western constitutional democracy” — hereinafter referred to as “advanced constitutional democracy” — that is, advanced norms of civil society, political wisdom, administrative experience, good governance, reason, justice, and law. The people therefore instruct that the words and phrases of this Constitution shall be interpreted in light of the meaning given to them by the best usages of advanced constitutional democracies and by the best judicial and scholarly interpretations of such democracies. The people furthermore instruct that the words and phrases of Jurlandia’s law, including this Constitution, shall not be interpreted according to usages imposed by any former totalitarian system if those usages conflict with the usages of advanced constitutional democracies. The people do not consider the usages of advanced constitutional democracies to belong to anyone, and hereby explicitly command that those usages be employed as necessary to give life and meaning to this Constitution — so that the people may, in due course, contribute their own experiences and wisdoms to that evolving global tradition.

Article 3.

1. Upon the adoption of this Constitution, the current organs of state power shall be considered provisional in nature, their sole remaining purpose being to effectuate an orderly transfer of power to the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches empowered under this Constitution. Legislation, regulations, ordinances, and other acts or decisions of such organs, in force prior to the adoption of this Constitution, shall thereupon be considered provisional in nature, to be replaced as soon as practicable by legislation, regulations, ordinances, and other acts or decisions adopted or taken pursuant to this Constitution.

2. The people intend by this Constitution to make a decisive break with their totalitarian past, while at the same time not unduly upsetting the effects of laws and actions made or taken prior to adoption of this Constitution. Unless abhorrent to fundamental justice, laws and actions made or taken prior to adoption of this Constitution shall be given full faith and credit under this Constitution.

Article 4.

1. This Constitution shall enter into force upon the agreement thereto of two-thirds of the citizens of Jurlandia voting thereon.

2. This and all elections shall be by secret ballot and open to all citizens of Jurlandia aged 18 or older who have resided in their electoral district at least two months prior to the election. All elections in Jurlandia shall be conducted according to the general principles set forth in the Declaration on Criteria for Free and Fair Elections adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Council on 25 March 1994.

3. Within four months following the adoption of this Constitution, a general election shall be held for the purpose of electing the first Parliament and the first President and Vice President of the Republic of Jurlandia under this Constitution. A vote for a presidential candidate shall constitute a vote for that candidate’s chosen running mate for the vice presidency. In this and all elections, if a candidate does not receive a majority of the votes cast in the first round, the election shall proceed to a runoff round 14 days later between the candidates receiving the highest and second highest number of votes. In case of any tie, another runoff round shall be held.

Article 5.

1. Upon their election, the President and the Parliament shall forthwith proceed to choose the members of the Supreme Court, pursuant to this Constitution. If they do not choose the members of the Supreme Court within four weeks following the final runoff round, a new general election shall be called but none of those elected in the prior election shall be eligible to hold public office for ten years.

2. By this provision, the people of Jurlandia ordain that under this Constitution the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches shall be co-equal, each entrusted with the powers granted to them by this Constitution; no person may frustrate or contravene the people’s intent to move swiftly to a fully-functioning constitutional democracy; this Constitution cannot be fully obeyed, and the will of the people — herein expressed — cannot be fully satisfied, until the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches of the Republic of Jurlandia have each been duly established according to this Constitution.

Article 6.

1. The state language of Jurlandia shall be Jurlandic. The official languages of Jurlandia shall be Jurlandic and Russian. Nothing herein shall limit or prejudice the rights provided under this Constitution or by legislation for linguistic minorities. All laws shall be published in Jurlandic and Russian.

2. Jurlandia’s capital city, state seal, flag, and anthem may be designated or changed by the Parliament by legislation.

Article 7.

1. This Constitution may be amended only with the consent of two-thirds of the citizens voting thereon in a general election. A majority of the Parliament may propose an amendment; alternatively, one million citizens may propose an amendment in a petition drive; in either case, that proposal shall be placed upon the ballot in the next general election, provided that at least one full year has elapsed between the parliamentary or petition-drive proposal for amendment and the general election in which that proposal’s adoption is to be voted on. Upon the consent of two-thirds of the electorate, the amendment shall become law and shall modify, as necessary, all inconsistent provisions of the Constitution.

2. The Parliament shall enact legislation on amendment initiatives, and may enact legislation on other forms of citizen initiatives and referendums; no such legislation may derogate from general provisions of this Constitution relating to the electoral process.

Article 8.

1. The Constitution of Jurlandia shall compose an organic whole. Each part shall be interpreted in light of all others. Likewise, treaties, legislation, regulations, ordinances, and acts or decisions adopted pursuant to this Constitution shall compose an organic whole, both with respect to each other and in their service to the Constitution and to Jurlandia’s obligations within the world community of free nations.

2. Therefore, all elements of Jurlandia’s law, broadly conceived, which can be interpreted and carried out in a manner that does not violate the Constitution, shall be thus interpreted and carried out, implemented, and enforced. Any element which arguably or theoretically could be construed as unconstitutional, but which has not been thus construed in any action or practice giving rise to a case or controversy before a court, shall be deemed to be presumptively constitutional until such time, if ever, that a court holds it unconstitutional. Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the power of the Supreme Court to determine the grounds for issuing declaratory judgments, or to determine the criteria defining a justiciable case or controversy.

3. All public servants or officials, and all citizens of Jurlandia, shall carry out their obligations and defend their rights pursuant to the Constitution of Jurlandia. The people hereby remind themselves and their posterity that to do so they must look to the spirit as well as the letter of their law.

Back to top


Article 1.

1. All legislative power in the Republic of Jurlandia shall be vested in the Parliament of Jurlandia, whose members shall be available to conduct the business of the Parliament as needed throughout each year. The Parliament shall determine its regular schedule of meetings from time to time; such schedules shall be published in timely manner. The Parliament may convene special or unscheduled meetings when appropriate. The President of Jurlandia may call an emergency meeting of the Parliament when necessary.

2. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution, all decisions of the Parliament shall require the approval of a majority of a quorum.

Article 2.

1. The Parliament shall consist of 135 members chosen for terms of six years in general elections held in electoral districts that are fairly drawn and comprise approximately equal populations. Such general elections shall be held every two years, starting on the Sunday closest to the summer solstice of every even-numbered year, beginning in 2002; runoff rounds shall occur 14 days apart until all electoral contests have been completed. The Constitutional Court, serving pursuant to the prior Constitution, shall create electoral districts for the election of the first Parliament under this new Constitution; those districts shall be created within 30 days following the adoption of this Constitution. Thereafter, the Supreme Court, serving pursuant to this Constitution, shall create new electoral districts at least once every ten years — as population changes require — and shall otherwise ensure that all elections for all purposes reflect fair and equal representation for all.

2. At each general election, one third of the members of the Parliament shall be subject to reelection. The first Parliament, elected pursuant to I-4-3 of this Constitution, shall choose by random processes those districts whose members will initially serve until the general elections of 2002, 2004, and 2006. A new Parliament shall be composed, with newly-elected members, at noon, September 1, of every even-numbered year. The first Parliament under this Constitution shall take office immediately upon its election.

3. In the event of the resignation, death, or incapacity of a Parliament member, any remainder of that member’s term shall be filled in the next general election. The Parliament shall be the judge of whether a member is capable of serving in the Parliament.

4. Any citizen aged 25 or older may be elected to the Parliament. A candidate for such election must have resided in the district that he or she will represent for at least two years prior to the election. No person may serve as a member of the Parliament for more than three consecutive terms. The Parliament shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members. However, nothing herein shall be construed to limit the power of the Supreme Court to interpret this Constitution and the law.

5. Service in the Parliament shall be remunerated, including allowances for reasonable expenses. Such remuneration shall not be reduced during a member’s term of office. No legislation increasing such remuneration shall become effective until after the next general election. No Parliament member may receive remuneration from any person or party other than the Republic of Jurlandia for services rendered, including votes and expressions of opinions, in connection with membership in the Parliament. Records of all political contributions to each member of the Parliament shall be kept for public inspection, and the aggregate of all contributions from any single source in any calendar year may not exceed the recipient’s monthly salary as a Parliament member. Political contributions shall not be or become the property of any person, but may be transferred by recipients to bona fide political parties or to charitable institutions.

Article 3.

1. The Parliament shall enact such legislation as it deems necessary or appropriate to effectuate and enforce the provisions of this Constitution, to raise or lower state revenues by taxation or otherwise, to incur or satisfy state obligations, to buy, sell, or otherwise dispose of state property, to secure or improve the health, safety, and general welfare of the people of Jurlandia, and to advance Jurlandia’s interests in the world. Nothing herein shall derogate from the President’s powers in the conduct of foreign relations. However, the Parliament shall enact legislation governing the power of the President to declare war or to declare a state of emergency.

2. The Parliament’s power shall include the power to establish administrative bodies to accomplish any legislative purpose, and to empower them to establish regulations consistent with the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Parliament. Such grants of power to administrative bodies must, however, provide sufficient specificity so that the administrative body, its officers, all persons affected by its decisions, and the Judicial Branch may determine the legislative purpose and the scope of such administrative powers. The President of Jurlandia shall be ultimately responsible for enforcing or administering all such legislation and regulations, and the Supreme Court of Jurlandia shall be ultimately responsible for determining their scope, meaning, implications, and constitutionality, including the constitutionality of their application in particular cases brought before it.

3. The Parliament shall also enact legislation that empowers local governments to adopt ordinances for the administration of regional, municipal, and local affairs. Such legislation shall specify the purpose and scope of such ordinances, and shall specify the person or persons responsible for their administration and enforcement. The people hereby encourage local autonomy, but instruct all local officials to honor their obligations under this Constitution and the laws of the Republic. The chief executive officer of every local government shall designate a place close to his or her office where a copy of this Constitution shall be kept for public perusal during ordinary working hours.

4. The people intend by this Constitution that, as this Constitution shall be superior to all legislation, so all legislation shall be superior to all regulations and ordinances; where any legislation contemplates elaboration by subsequent regulations or ordinances, or any other action taken under color of law, that legislation shall provide sufficient principles and standards to guide and control such elaboration or action. Administrative discretion must be exercised according to the legislation empowering it, and must above all be constitutional in its application in particular instances.

Article 4.

1. During its first three years, and with all deliberate speed, the Parliament shall enact new legislation embracing at least the following subjects:

(1) Criminal law and corrections

(2) Criminal procedure

(3) Civil procedure

(4) Administrative procedure

(5) Appellate procedure

(6) Personal property, secured interests, and future interests

(7) Intellectual property and security of information

(8) Real property, leases, rents, and conveyances

(9) Contracts, agency, and free-market rights and obligations

(10) Torts and compensation for negligent, reckless, or deliberate harms

(11) Domestic relations, families, and juvenile delinquency

(12) Corporations and other business and professional enterprises

(13) Non-profit enterprises, churches, and charities

(14) Labor unions and collective bargaining

(15) Income, gift, estate, and other taxation

(16) Commercial and private insurance

(17) Currency, credit, banking, negotiable instruments, and securities

(18) Health, housing, and social welfare

(19) Education and employment

(20) Professional certification

(21) Local government

(22) Civil service

(23) Military, police, and security services

(24) Customs and border control

(25) Immigration and naturalization

(26) Public utilities and environmental protection

(27) Elections and democratic participation

2. By this provision, the people instruct the Parliament that they desire and intend that the Republic of Jurlandia shall become a modern state whose inhabitants may deal with each other and with the world in a normal way, according to civilized norms of individual freedom and accountability. Accordingly, the people instruct the Parliament to enact modern legislation covering at least the aforementioned subjects, so that Jurlandia may quickly become integrated into the life, culture, and commerce of the world community of free nations.

3. Such legislation shall be based on the best models of advanced constitutional democracies and shall thereafter be reformed and updated as circumstances and experience warrant. The Parliament shall establish a Commission on Law Reform, and shall consult recognized world experts, in order to accomplish a swift, responsible, and enduring transition to a law-based state that meets international standards. The Commission shall also advise the Parliament as to the constitutionality of any proposed legislation, the consistency of proposed legislation with legislation already enacted pursuant to this Constitution, and the clarity and accuracy of terminology employed in proposed legislation. The Commission shall be answerable to the Parliament, and shall have professional and support staff as needed.

4. The people hereby explicitly acknowledge that a long era of totalitarianism has terribly impaired Jurlandia’s “legal culture” — its laws, its legislative competence, its legal profession, and its judiciary — and the people therefore assert their determination to remedy this tragic situation by resolutely rejecting all remnants of their lawless past and adopting a government under law according to the principles and standards of advanced constitutional democracies. The people here condemn a totalitarian system, not those who had to live under it. This provision shall be interpreted in that light.

Article 5.

The Parliament is empowered to adopt such rules for its work and proceedings as it deems appropriate, and to employ professional and support staff as necessary to ensure its efficient and effective operations.

Article 6.

The Parliament is empowered to compel the attendance of absent members and to provide such penalties as necessary to ensure its orderly proceedings. Two-thirds of the Parliament members shall constitute a quorum. No vote of the Parliament shall have legal effect unless the total of yes and no votes comprises a quorum.

Article 7.

While serving the Parliament, members shall not be compelled to answer questions outside the Parliament regarding words spoken and opinions expressed therein.

Article 8.

1. All schedules and proceedings of the Parliament shall be public, except in cases where the national security or compelling interests in legitimate personal privacy require secrecy. The Parliament may not withhold information from the Supreme Court in cases where that Court is determining whether such secrecy is constitutional.

2. The Parliament shall keep and publish an official record of its non-secret proceedings. Whenever one-fifth of the Parliament so requests, each member’s vote — or abstention — shall be recorded therein.

3. The people intend by this provision to ensure that, within reason and good taste, the public’s business shall be conducted in public. Nothing herein shall be construed to require that a public record of all committee and subcommittee proceedings be kept, except to the extent that such records might reasonably serve a legitimate public purpose, including assistance in interpreting the meaning of legislation subsequently enacted by the Parliament.

Article 9.

1. The Parliament shall establish and maintain the Office of State Comptroller to provide budgetary information and oversight on all matters within the jurisdiction of the Parliament. The Comptroller shall be chosen by the Parliament, and shall serve for a single term of seven years. The agreement of 90 members of the Parliament shall be necessary for the Comptroller’s removal from office. The Comptroller may employ such professional and support staff as authorized by the Parliament.

2. The Comptroller and the Finance Minister shall endeavor to cooperate in providing timely draft budgets and other information and proposals to aid the Parliament and the President to fulfill their respective responsibilities towards the state Budget.

3. The Budget shall have the constitutional status of legislation. However, if the Parliament and the President cannot agree thereon before the expiration of the current fiscal year, then the President, the Comptroller, and the Chief Judge of Jurlandia shall establish the new Budget, each casting one vote on all disputed matters.

Article 10.

1. The Parliament shall maintain permanent committees paralleling the subject areas of each cabinet ministry. The chairman of each such committee and the Minister responsible for that committee’s subject area shall endeavor to cooperate in providing timely information and proposals to each respective committee. Each committee may compel the Minister responsible for its subject area to provide documents, testimony, and other information necessary to its legislative responsibilities, but this power shall be balanced with the privileges of the Executive Branch to withhold information as needed to preserve its constitutional prerogatives.

2. The chairmen of each such committee shall together constitute the Executive Committee of the Parliament. Any dispute between any such committee and the Minister responsible for that committee’s subject area, or any other dispute involving alleged conflicts between the Legislative and the Executive Branches, shall with the consent of the Executive Committee be brought forthwith before the Supreme Court of Jurlandia for its expedited review and decision.

Article 11.

All other committees of the Parliament shall be subcommittees of the permanent committees or of the Executive Committee of the Parliament, and shall be answerable to them. No such subcommittees of the Parliament shall be empowered to compel testimony or the production of documents and other information.

Article 12.

1. Members of the Cabinet, judges of the Regional Appeals Courts and the Supreme Court, the Vice President, and the President of the Republic shall be subject to impeachment and removal from office by the Parliament. An impeachment may be initiated by no fewer than five members of the Parliament.

2. In all cases of impeachment, the Parliament shall choose, from among those members serving the final two years of their current term, nine members to serve as the “impeachment prosecutors” and, if necessary, nine other members to serve as the “impeachment court.” These eighteen shall continue to serve in those respective roles, even if not reelected to the Parliament, until the conclusion of their responsibilities hereunder. At least five of the “impeachment prosecutors” must vote to approve bringing any person before the “impeachment court.” A conviction by that court requires at least six affirming votes.

3. In the event of such conviction, all members of the Parliament currently in office shall thereupon constitute the “impeachment appeal court.” In cases involving cabinet members, appellate judges, and the Vice President, ratification by 68 members of the Parliament is necessary in order to uphold the conviction; in cases involving Supreme Court judges, such ratification requires approval of 90 members; and in the case of the President, such ratification requires approval of 102 members.

4. In all impeachment proceedings, all votes shall be recorded and published in the official record.

5. No person may be impeached except for treason, serious crimes, or gross dereliction of duty that manifestly harms the state. Upon impeachment, conviction, and ratification thereof by the Parliament, the officer in question shall no longer hold that office.

6. The people here intend to establish a necessary element of the checks and balances among the three coordinate branches ordained by this Constitution. Impeachment is an extraordinary constitutional remedy, which the people instruct the Parliament never to abuse for merely political ends or as punishment for merely unpopular decisions. The people remind their Parliament, as they remind themselves: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Back to top


Article 1.

1. The executive power of the Republic of Jurlandia shall be vested in the President of Jurlandia. The President shall be the Head of the State, the Head of the Government, the Commander in Chief of all military and police forces, and the Chief Executive of the Executive Branch of the Republic of Jurlandia.

2. All executive, administrative, diplomatic, military, and police officers of the Republic shall obey the President’s lawful commands, and all shall be subject to immediate transfer or dismissal by the President, provided, however, that non-military personnel not directly appointed by the President shall be subject to transfer and dismissal only pursuant to the Civil Service Code.

3. The people intend by this provision to ensure that the President of Jurlandia shall be ultimately responsible for carrying out the laws of the Republic — subject, however, to judicial review wherever governmental action raises a justiciable case or controversy.

Article 2.

1. As Head of State, the President shall represent the Republic of Jurlandia in its relations with all foreign states and international governmental bodies, and is empowered to conclude executive agreements and treaties in Jurlandia’s behalf.

2. No treaty shall have legal effect, however, unless two-thirds of the Parliament members voting thereon approve. When thus approved, a treaty shall be construed to have modified any statutory provisions that are inconsistent with it.

3. The President shall nominate, and subject to the consent of the Parliament shall appoint, all ambassadors, consuls, and envoys of the Republic.

Article 3.

1. As Head of Government, the President shall take care that the Constitution, all treaties, all legislation, all regulations, and all other actions and policies of the Republic of Jurlandia shall be carried out faithfully, fairly, and in the best interests of Jurlandia and its obligations under generally accepted norms of international law.

2. The President may propose to the Parliament such legislation as he or she deems necessary and appropriate, and when requested by the Parliament shall personally or through representatives participate in its consideration of such proposed legislation.

3. No legislation shall have legal effect without the President’s consent, unless it is approved by 90 members of the Parliament at least 21 days after its first approval by the Parliament.

4. The President is empowered to grant reprieves and pardons for crimes, and to commute sentences under the criminal law, but this power shall not affect any action taken pursuant to the impeachment powers of the Parliament.

Article 4.

1. The President shall be elected for a term of six years, provided, however, that the term of the first President hereunder shall expire at noon, September 1, 2006. Except as provided in Article 5, no person may serve as President for more than two full terms.

2. Candidates for President shall designate their chosen running mate for Vice President. A vote for a presidential candidate shall operate as a vote for that running mate. No person may be a candidate for President or Vice President unless he or she was born in Jurlandia, has resided therein during at least seven of the previous ten years, is at least 35 years old and no older than 65, and has a command of the state language. This provision shall not affect the line of succession pursuant to Chapter Three, Article 5, paragraph 4.

3. To win election to the presidency, a candidate must obtain a majority of all votes cast for that office. If necessary, a runoff election between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be held 14 days following the general election.

4. The new President shall take office at noon, September 1, of the year when elected. Before taking office, the President shall swear or affirm to faithfully carry out the laws and uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Jurlandia.

Article 5.

1. The Vice President of Jurlandia shall replace the President in the event of the President’s temporary or permanent disability, or death.

2. If the Vice President becomes President during the second half of the former President’s term of office, he or she my seek election for a first full term of six years at the expiration of that term.

3. In the event of the Vice President’s death or disability, the President shall nominate, and with the approval of the Parliament shall appoint, a new Vice President.

4. Succession to the presidency shall be by order of the Parliament-approved members of the cabinet as ranked in Article 6.

Article 6.

1. The President’s cabinet shall consist of the following officers plus any other officers designated by legislation:

(1) The Vice President

(2) The Foreign Minister, who heads the Foreign Ministry and is the President’s chief spokesman to foreign governments on matters of foreign affairs

(3) The Defense Minister, who heads the Defense Ministry and is thePresident’s first deputy in the chain of command of all military forces and any foreign intelligence service

(4) The Interior Minister, who heads the Interior Ministry and is the President’s first deputy in the chain of command of all police forces; there shall be no other security forces except those referenced in this and the preceding subparagraph

(5) The Justice Minister, who heads the Justice Ministry; that Ministry shall have a Criminal Division and a Civil Division

(A) The Criminal Division shall represent the Government of Jurlandia in all prosecutions and other criminal proceedings

(B) The Civil Division shall represent the Government of Jurlandia in all other proceedings

(C) The head of the Criminal Division shall be the Prosecutor General, and the head of the Civil Division shall be the Advocate General; these officers shall be appointed by the President upon the approval of the Parliament

(6) The Finance Minister, who heads the Finance Ministry and administers the Budget of the Republic of Jurlandia

(7) The Commerce Minister, who heads the Commerce Ministry and coordinates commercial, industrial, transportation, and trade policies

(8) The Material Resources Minister, who heads the Material Resources Ministry, which focuses on agriculture, forestry, minerals, fisheries, energy, other natural resources, and environmental protection

(9) The Local Government Minister, who heads the Local Government Ministry and is the President’s chief liaison with local governments

(10) The Health and Human Services Minister, who heads the Health and Human Services Ministry, which includes responsibility for social security

(11) The Education Minister, who heads the Ministry of Education and is also responsible for cultural development

2. Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the power of the Parliament or the President to alter, according to legislation, the details of the responsibilities of these ministries, or to grant to different ministries various details of the powers here mentioned. But there shall be no fewer than ten ministries, they shall be as here named and ranked, and each shall be headed by a minister with cabinet rank.

Article 7.

Except with regard to the Vice President, the President shall nominate, and subject to the consent of the Parliament shall appoint, all cabinet members, plus their first and second deputies, all of whom shall thereupon serve at the President’s pleasure. Upon the death, resignation, or dismissal of a cabinet member, the most senior deputy of that ministry shall serve as the acting cabinet member until a replacement has been confirmed. An acting cabinet member shall not be in succession to the presidency.

Article 8.

The President, Vice President, cabinet members, their deputies, and all officers subject to nomination by the President and confirmation by the Parliament shall receive remuneration for their services, which shall be neither increased nor decreased during their term of office. None may accept any remuneration for services related to their official duties from any source other than the Republic of Jurlandia. Records of all political contributions to a presidential or vice presidential campaign shall be kept for public inspection, and the aggregate of all contributions from any single source to any candidate may not exceed the statutory annual salary of a Parliament member. Political contributions shall not be or become the property of any person, but may be transferred by recipients to bona fide political parties or to charitable institutions.

Article 9.

1. If a majority of the cabinet, including acting cabinet members but excluding the Vice President, certifies to the Executive Committee of the Parliament that the President is incapable of serving in that capacity, then the Vice President shall serve as Acting President until such time as the President certifies to the Executive Committee that he or she is capable of resuming the office of President. If thereupon the cabinet and the Executive Committee by a two-thirds vote each disagree with the President’s certification, then the Vice President shall continue as Acting President and the Parliament shall be convened within 48 hours to determine the President’s capacity to serve in that office.

2. The meeting of the Parliament to determine the President’s capacity for office shall be presided over by the Chief Judge or the next most senior judge of the Supreme Court. Following no more than one day’s debate, any part of which the President may attend, and at which the President shall be allowed to speak, the Parliament shall determine whether to approve the finding of presidential incapacity. The Parliament shall be empowered to compel the testimony of any other person, including the Vice President and cabinet members.

3. Approval of 102 Parliament members shall cause the Vice President to be confirmed in the position of Acting President until such time as 102 Parliament members restore the President to the powers of that office.

Article 10.

Except in proceedings under Article 9 or in a criminal proceeding, no person shall be compelled to reveal the substance of advice rendered to the President, or of any discussions with the President to which he or she was privy, unless the President waives this privilege.

Back to top


Article 1.

1. The judicial power of the Republic of Jurlandia shall be vested in the Judicial Branch, composed of the Supreme Court of Jurlandia and of Regional Appeals Courts and District Courts under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases and controversies arising under this Constitution or under treaties, legislation, regulations, ordinances, or any other provisions of law, and to all other legal obligations permitted under this Constitution. The judicial power shall include the power to impose criminal penalties and order civil remedies provided by legislation, and to declare the rights and obligations of parties under the law.

3. There shall be no other courts besides those established herein; but any person, group, organization, or entity may agree with any other to resolve any civil or commercial dispute by arbitration, and any such agreement shall be given effect by the Judicial Branch unless contrary to justice, public policy, or the law; additionally, administrative tribunals may make findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to legislation thereon, but such findings and conclusions shall be subject to judicial review.

4. Upon adoption of this Constitution, the Judicial Branch shall be reorganized to conform thereto, and shall henceforth be a unified judiciary, every judge of which shall decide every case or controversy properly before him or her according to all the law, including the constitutional law, applicable thereto. All cases and controversies already proceeding towards resolution may continue pursuant thereto, or may be held in abeyance, or may be otherwise disposed of, pursuant to the requirements of justice, any legislation specifically addressing this subject, and principles set forth by the Supreme Court.

5. The Judicial Branch shall have the final word on what the Constitution, and all rights and obligations thereunder, requires of the people of Jurlandia, its government, and any other person or entity subject to the jurisdiction of Jurlandia. If any person disagrees with the Supreme Court on any question of constitutional interpretation, that person may seek to persuade the Supreme Court by good argument, or may seek to amend the Constitution as provided in the Constitution.

6. By this Constitution, the people of Jurlandia explicitly command the Judicial Branch to defend their rights, privileges, and immunities under this Constitution.

Article 2.

1. The Chief Judge of the Supreme Court shall be the chief administrative officer of the Judicial Branch and the head of the Republic’s legal profession, and shall carry out the policies and decisions of the Supreme Court relating thereto. Such policies and decisions may include provisions for judicial leaves of absence for health or other reasons, all disciplinary proceedings against District Court judges, and disciplinary proceedings involving suspensions for no longer than one month against Regional Appeals Court judges.

2. The Supreme Court shall supervise Jurlandia’s legal profession, and shall set the qualifications for practice before all courts, provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed to deny any person the right to appear personally to plead his or her own cause during any District Court trial or any administrative hearing. The Supreme Court may place reasonable restrictions upon that right in the interests of justice and the efficiency of such proceedings.

Article 3.

1. The Supreme Court shall consist of one Chief Judge and eight Associate Judges. Each shall be a citizen of Jurlandia, trained in the law, who is at least 35 years old.

2. The President shall nominate, and subject to the advice and consent of the Parliament shall appoint, all judges of Jurlandia. Supreme Court judges may serve in their respective offices until age 70. After 10 years of service, a Supreme Court judge who has attained the age of 60 may retire at a pension equal to the salary of a Supreme Court judge, including any increments thereof.

3. In all matters of law and all principles of judicial administration, including policies governing the legal profession, each member of the Supreme Court shall have an equal vote.

4. By this Constitution, the people of Jurlandia intend to create an independent Judicial Branch that owes its allegiance to the Constitution and to the principles of law in advanced constitutional democracies which undergird it and give it meaning. The people assert that nothing which has a history can be defined without reference to its history, and that the words and phrases composing their Constitution and other laws shall therefore be interpreted in light of the meaning given them by history, experience, and the wisdoms and usages of world civilization and international law.

5. In interpreting and applying this Constitution or any law made or treaty entered into under its authority, the Supreme Court and other courts shall look to the decisions of the courts of other countries having constitutions, laws, and treaties that are similar, in the relevant respect, to that of Jurlandia, but shall not be bound to adopt any particular interpretation. In following any decision or interpretation, a court shall adapt it to the needs of Jurlandia, taking into account this Constitution as a whole. Above all, a court shall not neglect the people’s determination, expressed through this Constitution, to create and maintain a constitutional democracy in which the words and phrases of the law have integrity and communicate ascertainable standards of conduct.

Article 4.

1. Each municipality with a population of at least 100,000 shall be the seat of a Regional Appeals Court composed of at least five appellate judges. Each appellate judge shall be a citizen, trained in the law, who is at least 35 years old, and shall be appointed for a term of fifteen years.

2. Every appeal to a Regional Appeals Court shall be decided by a panel of three appellate judges. Case assignments shall be by random drawings. Each appellate region shall decide appeals from the judicial districts most conveniently located therein, which shall be determined from time to time by legislation.

Article 5.

1. Each municipality or other unit of local government with a population of at least 25,000 shall have a District Court, and other District Courts shall be established as needed to provide convenient access to justice; a District Court shall be a trial court of first instance. A District Court may have more than one judge. The location, areas of jurisdiction, and size of District Courts shall be determined from time to time by legislation. There shall also be no fewer that ten Roving District Judgeships, created pursuant to legislation, whose office holders shall not be permanently attached to any particular District Court but shall be available to hear and decide cases at the request of a District Court, as the interests of justice require, and as assigned by the Supreme Court. Each District Judge shall be a citizen, trained in the law, who is at least 30 years old, and shall be appointed for a term of seven years.

2. Each District Court shall comprise a Criminal Division, a Civil Division, a Family Division, a Minor Violations Division, and a Small Claims Division, but a judge may serve one or more divisions as assigned by the supervising judge of that district. The Chief Judge of the Supreme Court may appoint any district judge to serve as supervising judge of his or her district, and may appoint persons to serve as acting judges within a district. Such acting judges shall be citizens, trained in the law, who are at least 25 years old and serve under District Court supervision; they may serve as judges in the Minor Violations Division and the Small Claims Division, and may also be empowered by their district to issue warrants for the search and seizure of persons and things in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings. The determination whether cases shall be resolved in the Minor Violations Division and the Small Claims Division shall be made pursuant to legislation, but the Minor Violations Division may not impose any penalty greater than a fine equal to the average per capita monthly income, and the amount in dispute in the Small Claims Division may not exceed the average per capita annual income.

3. District Court adjudications that significantly affect the interests of parties, including issues of guilt or innocence and consequent penalties in criminal cases, and issues of rights or obligations and consequent remedies in civil cases, shall state the facts and legal conclusions on which they are based with sufficient specificity, under the circumstances, to meet the requirements of justice and judicial administration. The parties, and the people of Jurlandia, have a fundamental right to know how and why each significant judicial decision was reached, unless compelling countervailing interests involving personal privacy, good taste, and national security require otherwise. Cases arising in the Family Division involving the interests of children, including child-custody cases and prosecutions brought against minors, shall not require a public hearing or record; the privacy interests of families, and especially of children under the age of 16, shall be preserved unless compelling countervailing interests, including the curbing of official abuses, require otherwise; the purpose here is to protect children and families.

Article 6.

1. The appeal of a case decided by an acting district judge in the Minor Violations Division or the Small Claims Division shall be discretionary with the District Court; if an appeal is granted, the case shall be heard de novo by a District Court judge. The decision of a District Judge in any matter within those divisions shall not be appealable, except as herein provided.

2. Minor Violations Division or Small Claims Division cases may be appealed to the Regional Appeals Court if the District Court certifies that the case presents a substantial question of constitutional law, a substantial question of disputed law, or otherwise requires appellate review in the interests of justice or judicial administration. Notwithstanding, upon review, the Regional Appeals Court may issue a summary decision thereon.

3. All other cases decided by the District Court may be appealed to the Regional Appeals Court as a matter of right. The appellate court may also of its own initiative review any case it deems necessary under guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court. The appellate court may order written appellate briefs from the opposing parties, plus oral arguments at its discretion, before rendering its opinion on any question before it.

4. The decision of the appellate court shall state the grounds on which it is based, which may be factual or legal; the appellate court shall give due deference to the factual findings of the trial court, but may consider new facts pursuant to rules set forth by the Supreme Court. The appellate court may affirm, modify, remand, reverse, or vacate the lower court’s decision, or make such other order as justice and judicial administration may require. Any appellate judge who participated in the disposition of the case may file a concurring or dissenting opinion.

Article 7.

1. Any party who disputes the decision of the Regional Appeals Court may seek review thereof by the Supreme Court of Jurlandia. The Supreme Court shall exercise its power of discretionary review in the interests of justice, the orderly development of Jurlandia’s law, the need for decisional coherence among all appellate courts, and the necessity for resolving disputes that could otherwise foster constitutional crises between the Legislative and Executive Branches. The Supreme Court may also on its own initiative review any matter pending before a lower court, and may act on the basis of any petition for justice filed pursuant to any rules it may adopt. The Supreme Court may also appoint special representatives to hear complaints against judicial or law-enforcement officers, but only pursuant to statutory authorization.

2. The disposition by the Supreme Court of any case accepted for review shall be appropriate to the reasons for granting review. The opinions of the Supreme Court in all cases accepted for review shall state the grounds for reviewing the case, the bases of decision thereon, and the Order of the Court. Any Judge may file a dissenting or concurring opinion. An evenly divided Court shall leave the decision below undisturbed.

3. Decisions of the Supreme Court shall serve to instruct all lower courts on the law applicable to similar cases. The decisions of all District Courts, and the opinions of the Regional Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court (including concurring and dissenting decisions), shall be public records whose publication by conventional, electronic, or other means shall not be prohibited. At least one central library in every municipality with a population of 25,000 shall contain copies of all such decisions and opinions, plus copies of all legislation of Jurlandia adopted since the effective date of this Constitution. No person may be denied the right to review and obtain copies of such legislation and opinions, but a nominal fee for copies may be charged.

Article 8.

1. No judge may participate in any decision where his or her impartiality is in substantial dispute. All judges shall avoid conduct of any kind that involves, or reasonably appears to involve, improprieties that bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

2. A judge’s remuneration from the Republic of Jurlandia may not be reduced during his or her term of office. No judge may accept remuneration from any source that would lead a reasonable person to question the judge’s ability to render impartial justice with independence, courage, and vigor.

3. The Supreme Court may require all judges to decline memberships in certain kinds of organizations, to decline receipt of certain kinds of income, or to place certain kinds of property into a blind trust, if the interests of justice and fair judicial administration so require.

4. Nothing in this Article shall be construed to deny the Parliament the power to enact legislation on judicial administration, court procedures, and the obligations of judges and the legal profession, so long as these do not impair judicial independence and the prerogatives of the Judicial Branch to carry out its obligations towards the Constitution and towards those elements of law that transcend constitutions and legislation, including the principles of statutory construction and constitutional interpretation that undergird the concept of government under law.

Back to top


Article 1.

1. The Parliament shall not make or allow, nor shall the President implement or enforce, nor shall any person obey or uphold, any legislation, regulation, ordinance, or rule that deprives any person of life, liberty, property, or any other rights, privileges, or immunities, without due process of law.

(1) By “due process of law” this Constitution means a fundamentally fair and reasonable command or procedure, under the particular circumstances, as that concept has evolved in advanced constitutional democracies. The people of Jurlandia hereby instruct the Supreme Court that it shall interpret and embrace all of Jurlandia’s law within a firmament of rationality and justice according to the fundamental precepts of advanced constitutional democracies.

(2) By “fundamentally fair” and “reasonable” and similar terms, this Constitution instructs that the Supreme Court shall find, refine, and evolve standards that are based on wisdoms developed out of historical experience, including the experiences of countries that have sought to give these terms an elevated meaning over centuries, so that these terms — applied and refined on a case-by-case basis in Jurlandia — shall, in due course, provide ascertainable standards of fair and rational conduct for all legislative, executive, and judicial officers.

(3) This Constitution instructs the Supreme Court that, in applying standards like due process of law and equal protection of the law, the Court will develop a jurisprudence of “case law” that will refine and clarify the meanings of all the terms of this Constitution, thereby providing genuine and enforceable guidance to lower courts and all public officials regarding the standards of conduct required of them under this Constitution.

2. Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as contravening this Constitution when it results from the use of force that is no more than reasonably necessary in defense of a person from unlawful violence, or when it results from the application of proper procedures, pursuant to legislation, covering:

(1) A request by a person who would otherwise be kept alive by artificial means, to terminate his or her life; or

(2) A request by a pregnant woman to terminate her pregnancy.

3. With reference to paragraph 2, subparagraphs 1 and 2, the people intend to avoid constitutional confusion by specifying that, if the Parliament legislates on these specific subjects, then the Supreme Court shall not interpose a constitutional prohibition on such legislation; to this extent, and in this way only, the due process of law requirement with respect to the “right to life” may be modified by legislation.

4. All persons shall be equal before the law and shall be entitled to the equal protection of the law. No law and no executive or judicial action may either expressly or in its practical application discriminate against any person on the basis of age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, race, color, language, social origin, place of birth, family, religion, or political or other opinion. No bill of attainder, or any legislation intended to punish or discriminate against any particular person or association, shall be enforced, and all laws shall treat all similarly-situated persons, groups, associations, or classifications thereof, similarly, in the interests of justice. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit classifications among persons based on bona-fide, rational criteria that serve a compelling governmental interest that cannot be served by a less restrictive alternative.

Article 2.

1. No restriction shall be placed on the use by any person of any language or code in private communications, nor shall any other restriction on language use be unreasonable under the circumstances.

2. Parents and guardians may not be prohibited from enrolling their children in private schools, including schools in which the dominant language of instruction is not Jurlandic or Russian, but legislation may require that such schools provide up to two hours of Jurlandic or Russian language instruction daily, at public expense.

3. All children shall have the right to an education that provides them with a reasonable opportunity to learn. Reasonable accommodations shall be made to ensure that elementary school children who belong to linguistic minorities get remedial assistance, as necessary and practicable, in mastering subjects taught in an unfamiliar language, so that their minority status will not impede their educational progress.

4. Regions and districts in which a significant proportion of the population belongs to an ethnic or linguistic minority shall expend public funds in such a manner as will ensure that the minority population receives an equitable share for educational, cultural, and other public services.

Article 3.

1. All persons shall have the right to freedom of inquiry, thought, conscience, and belief; to freedom of speech and of the press, including broadcast media; and to the free exercise of religion. These freedoms shall include the freedom to change one’s thoughts, beliefs, or religion — either alone or in community with others — and to manifest one’s thoughts, beliefs, or religion in teaching, practice, observance, and worship. All persons shall also have the right to peaceful assembly and association with others, whether or not within the context of any formal organization such as a political party, trade union, professional association, or corporation; such an organization may, however, be subject to reasonable licensing and similar restrictions pursuant to legislation governing the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of these organizations; the people hereby instruct that their natural and inalienable right of association shall not be confused with legislatively-created privileges of specific kinds of organizations, including but not restricted to those here named.

2. Restrictions imposed by legislation or jurisprudence, regulating the time, place, and manner of the exercise of these rights, are permissible only if:

(1) The restrictions are necessary to preserve public peace, order, health, or the security, rights, and freedoms of others; and

(2) There exist no less-restrictive means of doing so; and

(3) The restrictions do not penalize conduct on the basis of disagreement with the ideas or beliefs held or expressed.

3. Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prevent the Republic of Jurlandia from extending financial aid to religiously supported institutions, insofar as they furnish educational, cultural, medical, or other services at no profit, and provided such aid does not discriminate among religious groups or beliefs on the basis of a preference for some religions over others.

Article 4.

All persons lawfully within the territory of the Republic of Jurlandia shall have the right to freedom of movement, including the right to choose their place of residence. Restrictions upon these freedoms through a propiska system are expressly prohibited. No person lawfully in Jurlandia shall be expelled from Jurlandia. Every person shall be free to leave Jurlandia, unless restricted by detention or incarceration pursuant to due process of law.

Article 5.

1. No law shall unreasonably abridge the right to own, create, buy, use, enjoy, alter, protect, sell, give away, and otherwise control or dispose of property, of whatever kind, or any interest therein, according to the generally accepted principles of law in advanced constitutional democracies. Oil, gas, gold, and other mineral resources may belong to the people, as state property; if so, the Parliament shall enact legislation governing the exploitation of such resources. The Parliament shall enact legislation governing grazing, hunting, sporting, camping, and similar privileges on state lands. The Parliament shall also enact legislation governing historical artifacts and objects of national heritage.

2. If the Republic of Jurlandia or any local government takes any property, that taking shall only be pursuant to legislative authorization, for a public purpose, and upon payment of just compensation. Where any land or housing rights are taken, adequate compensation shall include reasonably equivalent land or housing rights, or the means to obtain the sustenance and benefits that such land or housing rights provided. Property shall not be deemed taken if it is sold at public auction to satisfy a debt to the public, including unpaid taxes or fines, so long as any money exceeding the debt plus reasonable expenses of the sale is paid to the owner, nor shall property be deemed taken whose value is only marginally reduced by non-discriminatory restrictions on use, or by non-discriminatory burdens that do not significantly change the property’s character.

Article 6.

1. No law shall unreasonably abridge the right of any person, group, organization, or entity to make and enforce contracts with any other person, group, organization, or entity, according to the generally accepted principles of law in advanced constitutional democracies. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the Parliament from enacting reasonable legislation on this subject.

2. No law shall unreasonably restrict the right of any person, association, group, or corporation to own property of whatever kind; to engage or decline to engage in contractual and commercial activities, whether as an employer or an employee; to form, or decline to join, any labor union or other organization of workers, for the purpose of collective bargaining; to strike for improved wages and working conditions; to organize as residents of a housing complex, for the purpose of improving housing conditions, and to withhold payments of rent, to ensure the safety and habitability of housing. The Parliament shall enact legislation governing rights and responsibilities hereunder, within one year of its election, including rights and responsibilities of the state with regard to public utilities.

Article 7.

1. A man and woman, upon reaching the age of 18, may marry and have a family. The Parliament may provide for marriage of either spouse at a younger age. Marriage shall be based on the voluntary assent and equality of spouses. Parents shall have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and education of their children, so long as this does not harm the children. The Republic shall provide for the upbringing and education of orphans, shall assist needy children, and shall also encourage private charitable support for children.

2. The Parliament shall, from time to time, establish minimum standards for wages and pensions, working conditions, housing conditions, conditions in educational institutions, conditions of health-care and nutrition, conditions of social and economic support for the poor and elderly, conditions of environmental health and safety, and conditions of military service. The Parliament shall therein specify the terms and circumstances under which these minimum standards may, if not met, form the basis for judicially-enforceable rights.

3. By this Constitution, the people express their determination to distinguish between those rights and freedoms which they can enforce in the Judicial Branch, and those societal ideals which the judiciary can only enforce to the extent that these ideals are incorporated into legislation which specifies the means by which they can be enforced, and the officers against whom enforcement action if any can be taken. All the rights in this Constitution are directly enforceable, through the Judicial Branch, except those rights requiring supplemental legislation as set forth in paragraph 2, above, and those ideals set forth in paragraph 4, below.

4. The people of Jurlandia desire that their Republic shall be based on ideals as well as laws; the accomplishment of these ideals depends upon their own labors and commitments, as well as those of organs of state power, and the Supreme Court is empowered to determine the extent to which — in the absence of enabling legislation — such ideals can give rise to legally-enforceable relationships between and among individuals, groups, associations, and organs of state power. These ideals include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Each person commits himself or herself to live in a manner that respects the rights and interests of all, including rights and interests which cannot be easily enforced, if at all, and which reflect moral rather than legal norms. All persons and officials shall treat others as they, in similar circumstances, would wish to be treated.

(2) The basic unit of society shall be the family, based on marriage, kinship, mutual respect, and the special needs of young and old. Although bonds of friendship and love cannot, as such, be subject to state command, the people by this Constitution instruct that parents shall look after their children up to the age of 16, and children shall look after their aged parents, consistent with their means.

(3) Private as well as public charity shall be encouraged, to help those who cannot care for themselves. The Republic shall especially encourage the development of local, neighborhood, and non-governmental initiatives to address social and economic problems.

(4) The Republic, and each citizen, shall endeavor to create a society in which the basic necessities of life — food, housing, clothing, healthcare, rest, recreation, and a good physical and cultural environment — are provided for all persons, yet in which all take personal responsibility, to the extent they are able, for their own well-being.

Article 8.

No law shall unreasonably abridge the right to sue and be sued in a court of law, with regard to advancement or protection of any right arising under this Constitution, nor shall any person, group, organization, or entity be unreasonably deprived of the right to sue any other person, group, organization, or entity in order to obtain compensation therefrom for insult, injury, or harm proximately caused by the criminal, wanton, deliberate, reckless, or negligent conduct thereof, according to the generally accepted principles of law in advanced constitutional democracies. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the Parliament from enacting reasonable legislation on this subject.

Article 9.

1. No person shall be accused or held guilty of any crime on the basis of any act or omission that did not constitute a crime at the time when allegedly committed, nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the crime was committed.

2. Any other ex post facto law shall be interpreted narrowly, in the interests of justice, and applied only to improve rather than impair the administration of justice.

Article 10.

1. No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or to excessive fines or deprivations. No person shall be imprisoned for failure to pay a fine assessed as a punishment for a crime unless he or she has been afforded a reasonable time to make payment and has been found to have the means to do so.

2. The elements of every crime shall be specified by legislation. All punishments shall be pursuant to legislative authority, but such legislation may permit reasonable discretion by sentencing judges.

Article 11.

No person shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude. No person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labor. For purposes of this Article, the term “forced or compulsory labor” shall not include:

(1) Labor required by a sentence or similar order of a court, following criminal conviction; or

(2) Service of a military character, or any service in lieu of military service, when such service is lawfully required of others.

Article 12.

No person shall be arrested, detained, imprisoned, involuntarily hospitalized, or otherwise confined, except by due process of law and under the following circumstances:

(1) Arrest or detention for non-compliance with a lawful order of a court to secure the fulfillment of an obligation prescribed by law; or

(2) Arrest effected for the purpose of bringing a person before the competent judicial authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed a crime, or detention when reasonably necessary to prevent a person from committing a crime or fleeing after having done so; or

(3) Imprisonment or confinement following conviction by a court; or

(4) Detention of a minor, pursuant to a lawful order, for the purpose of educational supervision; or

(5) Hospitalization or confinement of a person to prevent the spread of an infectious disease, or of a person who is mentally or emotionally impaired, or of an alcoholic or drug addict, in order to provide medical and other care; or

(6) Confinement overnight, or other reasonable protective custody, of a vagrant or homeless person who needs protection and assistance, but only as authorized by legislation; or

(7) Arrest or detention to prevent a person’s unauthorized entry into Jurlandia, or to hold a person in connection with his or her deportation or extradition proceedings.

Article 13.

1. Any person arrested pursuant to Article 12, subparagraph 2, shall within 48 hours be brought before a District Court judge, or an acting district court judge under the supervision of a District Court judge, for the purpose of making a District Court determination as to whether there is probable cause to hold the arrested person for trial — that is, whether it is more likely than not that a crime has been committed and that this person has committed it. If a determination of probable cause is not made promptly, the arrested person shall be released. If such a determination is made, the suspect shall be entitled to a trial within a reasonable time and to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned upon guarantees to appear for trial, or may be denied if a District Court judge believes that the suspect will not appear for trial or will pose a significant danger to others if released.

2. Every person who has been deprived of liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to institute judicial proceedings by which the lawfulness of the arrest or detention shall be speedily determined; immediate release shall be ordered by a judge if the arrest or detention was not lawful; the judge shall be empowered to enforce this order. The Parliament shall adopt legislation covering such proceedings within six months of its election. The people intend by this provision to ensure that no person shall ever again be arrested or detained in Jurlandia without benefit of a constitutional right to genuine judicial relief against unlawful arrests and detentions.

3. Every person who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this Constitution shall have a directly enforceable right to reasonable compensation from the Republic of Jurlandia.

Article 14.

No person shall be subjected to unreasonable interferences in personal choices that do not injure others. Every person is entitled to have others respect his or her reasonable expectations of individual privacy in correspondence, communications, and personal activities, and is hereby empowered to vindicate this right by seeking legal redress, including compensation for damages, from any person, group, organization, or entity that contravenes it. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the Parliament from enacting reasonable legislation on this subject.

Article 15.

1. Every person shall be secure in his or her person, home, papers, and effects, and only reasonable searches and seizures thereof shall be permissible. A search or seizure shall be deemed unreasonable if:

(1) It is not supported by a judicial warrant issued upon probable cause, supported by an investigator’s oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized; such a warrant shall have been issued by a District Court judge or an acting district court judge supervised by a District Court judge; or

(2) A warrant was not obtained in a timely manner; or

(3) The person seized is not promptly informed of the reason for the seizure and is not ensured a prompt opportunity to contest its legality before a District Court judge or an acting district court judge supervised by a District Court judge; or

(4) Any search of premises not belonging to or occupied by the person believed to have committed a crime, is made without first providing the owner or occupant thereof with the opportunity to contest the permissibility of the search in an adversary proceeding, unless the judicial officer issuing the warrant for the search has reasonably determined that such prior notice and hearing would create an undue risk that the persons or things sought would be removed or otherwise made unavailable.

2. Evidence obtained through an unreasonable search or seizure or pursuant to an invalid warrant cannot be used in criminal proceedings to support a conviction.

Article 16.

1. Every person charged with a criminal offense shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty, in a judicial proceeding, beyond a reasonable doubt — that is, there is no significant doubt that a crime has been committed and that this person has committed it. Until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the suspect shall not be treated like a criminal.

2. No person may be compelled to give testimony against himself or any member of his immediate family during a criminal investigation or trial. Disclosure of information given by any person to a lawyer or a religious leader with a reasonable expectation that it will remain confidential, shall not be compelled in any criminal investigation or judicial proceeding.

3. No person may be subjected to coercive interrogation, nor may any confession be obtained from any person who has not first been informed of his rights to silence and to the assistance of a lawyer, and of the possibility that what he says will be used against him to support a criminal conviction. Any confession obtained in violation of the provisions of this Article shall be deemed involuntary and cannot be used to support a criminal conviction.

Article 17.

1. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the nature of the charges against him; to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defense; to all exculpatory evidence in the prosecutor’s possession; to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choice; to legal assistance at public expense when the interests of justice require; to no unreasonable delays prior to trial; to a public trial before an impartial tribunal, in which the witnesses against him may be effectively cross-examined; to compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in the trial.

2. No person shall be tried twice for the same offense, but retrial shall be permitted after a conviction has been set aside on a defendant’s appeal.

Article 18.

Any ambiguity in any criminal law or procedure shall be resolved against the prosecuting authorities; the defendant or any potential defendant shall have the benefit of any doubts concerning the scope, meaning, and implications of any such law or procedure. No person may be prosecuted, punished, or held to account for contravening any legislation, regulation, ordinance, or rule whose existence and content were not reasonably ascertainable for purposes of reasonable compliance therewith.

Article 19.

Secret laws and unaccountable official conduct are incompatible with constitutional democracies and governments under law. Reasonable restrictions on access to information regarding governmental activities and policies are permissible to protect legitimate interests, but mere embarrassment to governmental officials due to public knowledge of their mistakes shall not be a legitimate basis for restricting access to information about such mistakes.

Article 20.

1. Every person shall be entitled to invoke the judicial process as a means of vindicating any right or interest preserved or created by law. No person shall be denied access to the law, to the history of the law, and to the records and files necessary to a full and fair adjudication of his or her case, nor may any person be deprived of the legitimate right to obtain personal information from state archives.

2. To ensure proper fulfillment of this provision, a State Depository shall be established and maintained in the capital, in cities with a population of 100,000 or more, and in cities which have the status of an Oblast center.

(1) Each State Depository shall contain the sources of Jurlandia’s law, plus major foreign texts, cases, and treatises elaborating the meaning of the terms and phrases of this Constitution.

(2) Each State Depository shall also contain the public records of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches following adoption of this Constitution, including the official findings and conclusions of administrative tribunals and the District Courts, and the official opinions of the Regional Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Such public records and official opinions shall be made available in computer data bases that may be accessed electronically by all lawyers, the media, and others as specified by legislation, at no more than a nominal charge.

(3) The State Depository in the capital shall contain the case files of all prosecutions since 1920, and such other case files as shall assist persons in determining their legal rights.

3. No person, individually or by a representative, shall be denied access to a State Depository during ordinary working hours, nor shall the right to copy files and other materials for a subsidized fee be denied. Statutory restrictions to protect the legitimate privacy interests of living persons, or of deceased persons upon the application of their next of kin, shall be provided, but they shall be narrowly construed in favor of the fullest possible public access to historical information, and no person may be denied access to his or her own file on grounds of protecting that person’s privacy.

Article 21.

1. Every person convicted of a crime shall have the right to seek judicial review thereof, pursuant to reasonable restrictions based on legislation or Supreme Court rules.

2. Any conviction following adoption of this Constitution, which is based on substantial errors of fact, law, or procedure shall, upon timely appeal, be invalidated.

3. Any party in a civil case adjudicated following adoption of this Constitution may seek judicial review thereof. Any such adjudication based on substantial errors of fact, law, or procedure shall, upon timely appeal, be invalidated.

4. An appeal shall be timely if commenced within 30 days from the date when the judicial action complained of was taken or the judge’s final order was issued.

5. Any party to a criminal or civil appeal shall be entitled, for a subsidized fee, to a complete copy of the official filings and proceedings in that case. This copy may, however, be in electronic or digital form, as the interests of justice and judicial administration require.

6. An appellate court, including the Supreme Court, which invalidates any part of any finding, conclusion, or order of a lower court, shall instruct that lower court so that it may take further action pursuant to law, as appropriate.

Article 22.

1. Every citizen who is 18 or older has the right to participate in the electoral process, whether as a voter or as a candidate for office, subject only to age and residency qualifications for public office prescribed by legislation or by this Constitution, provided, however, that following the adoption of this Constitution the Parliament may restrict political rights on the basis of conviction for a crime or adjudication of mental or psychological impairment according to due process of law.

2. No person may be deprived of any political right on the basis of mental or psychological impairment unless a District Court has ruled that such deprivation is pursuant to statutory authorization; such a ruling shall explicitly state the grounds for denial of political rights. Any person shall have the right to District Court reconsideration of any such determination after five years, or sooner in the interests of justice.

Article 23.

In the administration of judicial and electoral processes, no fee may be imposed that effectively prevents participation by a person unable to afford that fee.

Article 24.

1. No restriction of rights guaranteed under this Constitution shall be applied for any purposes other than those for which the restriction is prescribed, and is reasonable. No rights, privileges, or immunities secured by this Constitution may be denied or abridged, whether directly or indirectly, through the withholding of any other right, privilege, or immunity, unless by due process of law.

2. The people of Jurlandia here acknowledge that no rights are absolute, and that rights sometimes conflict with each other and must be balanced in the interests of justice. The people herein entrust their Judicial Branch with the special responsibility to find the proper balance in all cases, and to treat similar circumstances in a similar way, consistent with the need to let the law and human civilization evolve coherently.

Article 25.

1. The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people of Jurlandia.

2. The people here proclaim that all humans are born with certain inalienable rights — including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; these rights are not created by governments; rather, governments are created by people to secure these rights.

3. The Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches established by this Constitution have been created by the people of Jurlandia as organs of limited power; this power has been delegated to them by the people; all other power is retained by the people.


Back to Start


This document is a pedagogical tool intended to stimulate
discussions about constitutional democracy based on
the Rule of Law. This text is anchored by, and
contextualized within, essays and other
hotlinked materials published at


Copyrights © 1991-2002 Barnabas D. Johnson

Russian Translation Copyright © 1991-1999 Lowry Wyman

Go to Explanatory Essay

Model Constitution
For the Republic of Armenia


Go to List of Jurlandia Writings

Go to Jurlandia Institute

Go to Home Page


© Jurlandia – A Constitutional Democracy
Web Hosting Provided by Maine Hosting Solutions