New Imperial titles
Only the Imperial Senate has the power to create a new Imperial title. If another house, such as the Imperial Synod wants a new Imperial title to be created to help them discharge their responsibilities then they must request the Senate create the position for them.
New titles have the potential to possess wide-ranging powers with little or no oversight or constraint. Because of this new titles are subject to particularly thorough constitutional Scrutiny to ensure that they preserve the spirit of the Imperial Constitution and do not unduly change the separation of powers between the five great houses of the Empire, Imperial Synod, Imperial Senate, Imperial Bourse, Imperial Conclave, and the Imperial Military Council.
When a title is created, the Senate must decide how the position is appointed. The normal constitutional approach is that an Imperial title will be appointed by whichever arm of the Imperial government it draws most of its powers from.
For example, the Quartermaster General of the Imperial Armies helps the Military Council by resupplying their armies. However the power to authorise the resupply of Imperial armies lies with the Senate - so the most common method is to have the Imperial Senate appoint the position.
The magistrates will almost always allow the Imperial Senate to divest this responsibility to another house if they feel it is appropriate. So the Senate could choose to have the Military Council appoint the Quartermaster General directly if they felt this was appropriate. However the Constitutional Court will normally act to prevent the Senate drawing undue power to itself by claiming the appointment of new Imperial titles which are more properly the business of another house. For example, if another Imperial college of magic were constructed, the magistrates would almost certainly insist that a dean be appointed by the Conclave, not by any other house.
A new Imperial titles may be designated as an Imperial position or a national position.
If a title is a national position then only citizens of that nation are eligible to hold the title. Senator and general are both examples of national positions. Only a League citizen is eligible to become a League senator. If a citizen holding a national title changes nation then they immediately lose the position.
In theory a Senate motion may indicate whether a new Imperial title will be re-elected annually, be elected to serve for a year, or serve with tenure, although in practice this choice is often severely limited by constitutional precedents.
Titles that are re-elected annually, are elected at the same summit each year. Most Imperial titles - such as a senator follow this pattern. If the title falls vacant prematurely, then the new occupant will serve for a reduced term with the title reelected at the same summit as normal.
If a titles is elected to serve for a year, then it serves for one year from the summit it is elected. It can be re-elected from the same summit one year later onwards. Under normal circumstances only Imperial titles appointed by the Senate are elected to serve for a year.
If a title has tenure then the occupant serves until they die, resign or are revoked. Only new Imperial titles with minor legal powers can be given tenure; traditionally titles associated with minor sinecures are expected to have tenure.
Well Worn Paths
The standard processes for appointing a citizen vary with each house. The standard methods described for each house represent "well worn paths", common approaches that have been used for decades or more. Appointments that follow these paths are far less likely to be classed as unconstitutional or require a constitutional vote to pass. It is common for Senate motions to state which house will appoint a new Imperial title and that it will be done by the "well worth path" - allowing the relevant information to be concisely and accurately communicated to their fellow senators.
- Appointments by the Senate
- Appointments by the Synod
- Appointments by the Conclave
- Appointments by the Military Council
- Imperial positions appointed by the Bourse and national positions appointed by the Bourse
It is possible for a Senate motion to request that an Imperial title employ a novel method of election or have an unusual tenure or method of removal, but varying the mechanism from the traditional forms ensures that the motion will require much greater scrutiny to ensure it is compatible with the Imperial Constitution. All such motives are automatically subject to a high degree of scrutiny by the Constitutional Court; the Court tend to be very conservative figures and anything that is novel or unique is often regarded with suspicion, just on principle.
A title may be assigned one or more legal powers. In the vast majority of cases these are either powers exercised by members of one of the arms of government - or they are powers exercised by that house collectively. For example a bursar created by the Senate to investigate expenditure by senators and seek out malfeasance, could be granted the power of Inquisition (a power normally exercised collectively by the Synod) and the right of address in the Senate (a legal power normally granted to senators and the like).
Titles created by the Senate in this way do not need to follow the normal restrictions on their usage. For example, for the Senate to employ the power of commission requires a motion be proposed by a senator and approved by majority vote. In 377, the Senate wished to give greater support to the Imperial Military Council and created the title of Imperial Quartermaster with a limited power of Commission - and the duty to arrange the resupply of Imperial armies.
It is possible for the Senate to create an Imperial title that can circumvent the normal legal checks and balances by accessing legal powers without the house that controls those powers having to vote each time they are used. The accompanying ease with which this allows these powers to be used is often cited as the reason for creating a new Imperial title, although historically the same reason is often given for abrogating the title later.
However it is never possible to create an Imperial title that is able to use powers in secret that would normally require a vote or official process of some kind. Normally the magistrates will insist that such powers are authorised using a suitable announcement to the relevant house, such as a Senate announcement. This allows the members of that house to be aware how their powers are being used, it allows the civil servants to determine when powers are being legally accessed and in the Senate it allows the decisions to remain subject to the veto of the Imperial Synod.
It is not possible to dictate how a power may be used - the Senate is forbidden from extending its power by creating titles under their direct control. However the Senate can set limitations on how any legal powers can be used. The standard limitations are by nation, territory or house - the holder of that title can then only use those powers on members of that nation, territory or house or commissions based in that nation or territory.
For example, a title might carry the responsibility to secure the defences of Holberg. This title could come with the legal authority to resupply armies of The League and repair fortifications in Holberg. The holder of this title would not be able to resupply other armies or fortify other regions.
It is not acceptable to limit a title in other ways. For instance, it is possible to create a title with the responsibility to support the welfare of the Church of the Little Mother, with the legal authority to authorise the construction of churches and cathedrals. But legal authority could not be constrained in any way so that only the Church of the Little Mother could benefit from the construction.
All Imperial citizens are forbidden to hold more than one Imperial title concurrently. Attempts to create an Imperial title which appears to have more powers than are appropriate for the position are usually ruled unconstitutional - as an attempt to bundle too many responsibilities and power together.
Senators are encouraged to define carefully what the responsibilities of any Imperial title they propose to create. It is not possible to place legal requirements on how the powers a title possess must be discharged, the holder of an office cannot legally be directed on what actions to undertake to uphold their office. However the responsibilities of an office are important - the Synod is expected to use the stated responsibilities of an office to judge whether a citizen is failing in their duties and needs to be removed by revocation.
The Senate can create a new Imperial sodality or recognize an existing one when creating a new title. For example in 377YE, the Senate passed a motion to create the Captain of the Senate Guard. Implicit in the description of this title is the existence of a sodality - the Senate Guard - and that the new title will assume responsibility and leadership of this sodality.
Any title may be granted a stipend - a regular income which is drawn directly from the Imperial treasury. Titles with responsibilities that are likely to incur significant costs are the most eligible for a stipend, but any post can have one attached to it in theory. The minimum amount that a stipend can be set is one Throne per season.
Creating New Powers
The powers of the houses and the titles associated with those houses are well known and understood by constitutional scholars. It is perfectly possible for the Senate to create a new legal power - but any attempt to do so will bring close scrutiny from the Constitutional Court to ensure it is compliant with the ethos of the Constitution. It is usually simpler to incorporate existing legal powers rather than create new ones.
The Senate can grant an Imperial title the custodianship of a commission. A custodian is not automatically assumed to be involved in the day to day operation of the commission but is assumed to direct those efforts. If the commission were to be threatened in any way, it would be their responsibility of the custodian to deal with those threats. Likewise, if any opportunity relating to the commission presented itself, they would make any decisions needed to take advantage of that. The custodian cannot take any action that would require a legal power to authorize, such as abrogating or ceding the commission (which are powers of the Imperial Senate).
The custodian does not receive additional information about events in the Empire, nor can they request special reports or downtime actions. These details are assumed to be below the abstraction layer. The title holder is encouraged to create their own stories about their activities within reasonable limits and to get involved in events appropriate to their title during the game, but they do not have any options beyond those explicitly listed for the commission or provided by an opportunity. Plot that involves a commission will be rare - but the power exists to create the potential for it to happen.
If an Imperial title is automatically created as part of a commission - then custodianship is included as a constitutional requirement. For example, the general of an army must always have custodianship of the army. It is not constitutional for two Imperial titles to share custodianship of a single commission.
According to the constitution Imperial titles that are appointed by the Senate, Synod, or Military Council are subject to revocation by appropriate assemblies of the Imperial Synod. The well worth paths for such titles is that Imperial titles can be revoked by the General Assembly or the Assembly of Nine. National positions can also be revoked by the relevant national assmebly and any titles appointed by a virtue assembly can be similarly revoked by them.
Imperial titles that are appointed by the Conclave or the Bourse are explicitly protected by the Constitution. They cannot be made subject to revocation by the Imperial Synod. In practice the Constitutional Court have also consistently refused to sanction other means to remove such titles.
As with the election, it is possible for a Senate motion to stipulate that an Imperial title be subject to removal by different or additional means, but such originality is usually frowned upon and rarely passes constitutional scrutiny. The removal of a title holder from their office is constitutionally regarded as the province of the Synod, attempts to grant the Senate the power to remove a citizen from an Imperial title in particular are always declared unconstitutional.
Some motions of the Senate result in the automatic creation of a new title. For example, if the Senate create a new Highborn army, then this results in the automatic creation of a new Highborn General. If the Imperial armies complete the conquest of a territory, then this results in the automatic creation of a new Senator. If a motion causes a title to be created then any variation to the powers or appointment of the title desired by the Senate must be specified at the point where the motion is passed; the title is assumed to come into being at that point - even though the position usually remains vacant until any work required is complete.