Worldbuilding Wednesday – Judicial Systems – Sep 6

I am SO SORRY. I realized about half an hour ago that this hadn’t posted. It seems with all the craziness of the holiday weekend (it always throws my schedule off when there’s an extra long weekend), that I forgot to hit ‘schedule’ and not just ‘save draft’, oops!

Through the end of 2017, Worldbuilding Wednesday themes are going to coincide with the chapters for my forthcoming workbook, The A-Zs of Worldbuilding (based off a blog series I posted back in 2014). So, if you’d like an idea of what’s coming ahead, just go peek at that. ?

Using the theme is not required for participation, but is just a jumping point if you don’t know what to start with.

There is no weekly giveaway winner.
The August monthly giveaway winner is… Nissa Annakindt! (determined by

Nissa, let me know if you’d like a 2nd copy of the paperback ARC, or the worldbuilding critique.

If you’d like to receive an early preview of the Worldbuilding Wednesday theme each week (going out on the Sunday prior to the new topic), please sign up for my newsletter and mark that you’d like to receive the Worldbuilding Wednesday Reminders.

Feel free to grab this badge for your post!

Judicial Systems

I vividly remember the moment, at a NaNoWriMo write-in in 2012, when I reached the climactic scene I’d been striving for… and realized that I had written a high-fantasy courtroom drama, and I had no idea how a trial (albeit, a rigged trial) would work in that society. (Yes, this is Catalyst I’m talking about.)

Now, most fantasy writers aren’t necessarily going to need to know that much about trials. Since many fantasy writers stick with the generic ‘monarchy’ government, a trial is pretty much ‘whatever the king/queen says is rule of law.’

You might like this post, too:   Worldbuilding Wednesday - Oblectation - October 11

Even with a monarchy, though, the rulers are not going to be handling every little infraction, only the more serious ones. You need to know some basic functions of the judicial system within your world, and its societies.

Judicial systems do not exist solely for prosecution. By definition, the judicial branch of government is responsible for the interpretation of law. (Hence the title ‘judge’, being one who is responsible for interpreting how the law applies to a case.)

Judicial systems are one of the more intricate aspects of worldbuilding – it will be influenced the economy, the government, the local religions, how the military is set up, and perhaps even science (forensics!). Keep all of those nuances in mind as you worldbuild.

Further Questions

  1. How are laws created within your fictional society?
  2. Who enforces them? How is jurisdiction determined?
  3. What happens when someone breaks a law? Are there different levels of offense (e.g. misdemeanor vs. felony)?

Can’t wait to see your response posts – don’t forget to submit them in the link list below! Please review the rules and guidelines for Worldbuilding Wednesday before participating. Thank you!

And if you aren’t participating in the blog hop, but still enjoyed this post, please comment and share!

Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets

This plugin requires intervention by this site’s administrator.

To display the widget for this post, please click here.

What do you think?