Of course we would be honoured to listen to her Imperial Majesty speak. But as she has declined to present herself before this Conclave, I'm afraid I have no interest at all in hearing you speak.

Iñes i Guerra

The Principle

The Principle of Presence states that an individual addressing the Imperial Conclave on an address or declaration must do so in person, they may not send a proxy to speak in their place.

Application

An individual who is speaking before the Conclave is legally forbidden to claim to be speaking on behalf of another individual or Imperial citizen. Heralds may not legally claim to represent their Eternal patrons, Imperial citizens may not claim to be speaking for a Senator, General or similar individual. If such an individual wishes to address the Conclave, they are required to present themselves before the Conclave to do so.

It has always been difficult for civil servants to legally enforce the principle and many speakers are adept at communicating their political patronage or support where it exists. However an open claim to be speaking on another's behalf can result in the speaker being corrected by the civil servants present - or in the speaker being shouted down by the assembled Conclave.

Application of the principle is critical for presentations.

Presentations

Every agenda item grants one free minute to make a presentation, any further time must be paid for in mana. Only the person who raised the address to the agenda is legally allowed to make the presentation, no other character may speak in their stead. A group of magicians must select a spokesperson, and have that person present the address to the agenda.

If the person who raised the agenda item is not present, the civil servant announces the item as it is recorded on the agenda and then moves directly to the debate.

Intention

Citizens may freely trade mana crystals amongst themselves, so the limitations imposed by this principle are very slight for most magicians. However the principle is intended to ensure the independence of the Conclave, by presenting significant barriers to any non-magician who wishes the Conclave to hear what they have to say. The Senate may make pronouncements, but only a senator who is also a magician can easily come to the Conclave to speak directly.

Critics argue that this makes it difficult for the Conclave to know what the Senate, Synod, Miltiary Council or Bourse has to say. The counter-argument is that interested magicians can easily converse with other Imperial citizens and then present those arguments as their own if they are convinced by them.

The principle also means that being able to speak effectively in front of the assembled Conclave remains a critical skill for an archmage or Warmage.

Further Reading

Core Brief

Additional Information