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Talence Magistrate's Court

The charter of the town of Talence places the power to pass down judgement upon crimes committed upon city land in the hands of a chief magistrate. The town also has a half dozen magistrates who in addition to judicial functions are responsible for assessing taxes, settling legal and mercantile disputes, and the like. When a judicial case arises - which nearly universally comes about after a citizen makes an accusation against someone specific, as the city-watch do not have an investigative role - it is heard by the chief magistrate at the court house, and the judgement of the magistrate is final. Court sessions are open to the public.   The court is not used for religious crimes (which includes commercial law) and has no authority over priests and acolytes.

Architecture

The court is a single-story building, constructed with a rectangular floorplan with walls of stone and a pointed tiled wooden roof. The stone is granite, giving the building a speckled grey and white colour. It has a high ceiling, extending upwards from about 7 paces at the edges to around 15 paces high at the middle. Much of the building is given over to clerks and the storage of records, and the magistrates each have offices here, including a lavish room for the chief magistrate where he often meets with other members of the town council.   The front of the building is a public space, where court is held. This is an open, stone-floored area, marked only with a stone dias, five paces across. Here, the magistrate, the accuser and the defender stand, with the magistrate having the authority to allow others from the crowd that stands around them during trials to speak and give evidence (which usually just means their testimony, and the credibility of which comes from the standing of the speaker in the town more than anything else).
Founding Date
1014

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