Note: This is an OOC document produced as part of the Purple Monday project, borrowed for the purpose of enhancing Stormwind City's roleplay on Moon Guard US. All credit should be given to the Purple Monday group of the Earthen Ring EU server. Everything presented is only a proposition.
This is a wholly OOC document, explaining quickly what 'rights' are held by citizens and nobles in the Kingdom of Stormwind. Note that people would not necessarily think of these rights as they do today, as 'human rights' or 'civil rights'; they might not even be conscious of them. Note secondly that there is no Bill or Charter of Rights. We find it attractive and plausible that Stormwind's constitution would be rather like that of the UK – not codified, but pieced together from various bits and bobs of statute and tradition over the years, available in summary only if you read a textbook or a wikipedia article (alas, those won't be available for three hundred years).
What is a citizen? This being a complicated subject with little indication in lore, we find it best to treat it as an OOC construct for dealing with events and circumstances, for practical application in RP. Essentially, citizenship is assumed for anyone who roleplays in Stormwind. Those who are clearly and pointedly citizens of somewhere else – noted Dalaranians, for instance, or members of the Theramore Marines – will be treated as such. So citizenship applies except where people make a point of roleplaying outside of it, in which case complicated diplomacy will probably follow. So a regular roleplayer of Ironforge, who comes to Stormwind on special visits, will be treated as being a citizen of Ironforge, while an elf who is never seen roleplaying outside of the human city will not get away by claiming that they are not a citizen of Stormwind. The fact is, human justice is pretty tough. There is little point in making it tougher for other races.
For the purposes of the law, meanwhile, nobles are those who roleplay having a writ of nobility for any human nation bar Alterac and Gilneas, or having one from the current King (or Aldermanship). Such a writ can now be bought; if one is incredibly rich and enters the House of Nobles, one will be considered a noble, and the same goes for high-ranking military commanders. The Charter of the House of Nobles goes into more detail, but much of it (such as land requirements) is unlikely to appear in RP, and so, so the main requirement of being a noble is roleplaying one well.
Both of them have certain rights which are, as we said, uncodified, but which are guaranteed by a combination of statute, tradition and convention. Of course, in what sense they are 'guaranteed' and what practical barriers stop them from being violated remains to be played out. We've chosen them half on the basis of which ones we think would realistically apply in a city like Stormwind (no free speech), and half on the basis of what would create interesting RP (double jeopardy).
Here follows a summary of the rights of citizens and nobles!
Rights of Citizens
(that is, rights of all citizen and nobles)
Right of Petition
The right to take one's grievances to the King, or any of his appointed servants, in the hope of them being addressed.
Right to Lawful Assembly
The right of citizens to assembly peaceably together, and to associate with who they like. Can be curtailed under martial law, or in crises. After all, it is only the right to lawful assembly.
"Bring forth the body” in Church Thalassian. Citizens cannot be held in custody without a criminal charge for more than one hour.
Right to Trial
Citizens have the right to be tried by a magistrate for indictable offences.
Right of Confrontation
When a citizen is tried for a criminal offence, he has the right to know the witnesses and the evidence against him.
Right to Representation
But not what you think. Citizens have the right to represent themselves in their defence, and the right to be represented by another, but they have no automatic right for this to be provided free. A citizen has to pay a fee to be represented by an officer of the crown, so, in practice, representation by others is only available to the rich or well-connected.
Protection from Self-Incrimination
Citizens cannot be forced to give evidence against themselves. Technically this forbids forced confessions, but good luck enforcing that.
The right of a citizen not to be tried for the same offence twice. Note: that's the same instance of an offence (i.e. the same specific murder) rather than the crime in general (any murder).
Right of Appeal
a citizen has the right to appeal against verdicts for serious crimes. Except...the appeal has to be granted by the Lord Magistrate, and he's unlikely to allow it to many people, unless he feels the case (or the accused) is particularly important, or unless there is some point of law that needs to be worked out. So, in practice, don't bet on it.
Rights of Nobles
All the rights of Citizens, plus:
Right of Position
Nobles have the right to governance and political participation.
Right of Redress
Nobles have the absolute right to have their disputes tried by a civil court, whereas citizens may only request. Plus, even if such a request is granted to citizens, nobles are far more likely to be able to afford the damages if they should lose their case.
Protection from Unreasonable Search and Seizure
Nobles shall not have their persons or private houses and properties searched without a proper warrant from the Lord Magistrate.
Trial by a Jury of Peers
Nobles have the right, in serious offences, to demand to be tried by a jury of other nobles.
Rights of the Accused
Nobles have the right to be treated well during their arrest and the entire process of justice.
Right of Bail
Nobles cannot be imprisoned before being found guilty of an offence. They are always bailed pending trial – but the bail is often secured against their property and even titles, meaning that the noble in question would forfeit everything by failing to turn up.
Rights of Nobody
Freedom of Speech, Religion or of the Press
Treason by word is forbidden, as is blasphemy in print, and the King may order specific Proclamations against certain pamphlets; nobody has the freedom to say what they like or print what they like. Further, Stormwind is a kingdom deeply entrenched in the Holy Light. The religions of allies – Elune, and the Mystery of the Makers – are always treated well, although holding them may be a barrier to public office. But the religions of enemies, especially of the Shadow, are unlikely to be tolerated.
Right to Peaceful Protest
There is no automatic right of citizens to protest against authority just because they might remain peaceful while doing so. However, guards will sometimes let protests go ahead if they don't feel that the cause is worth the trouble of breaking it up (for example if the cause is not directly seditious). Would-be protesters are advised to try and frame their protest as petition, i.e. they are asking the King to change things.
Right to a Speedy Trial
Nobody has the right to speedy justice, although, let's face it, this is unlikely to come up in RP, where everything happens overnight.
Right to Remain Silent
In some modern countries, someone accused in a criminal case may refuse to answer questions, and their refusal to answer won't be taken as evidence. However, this right is not extended in Stormwind. Silence can be considered evidence towards a criminal conviction.
Protection from Eminent Domain
'Eminent domain' is when the government forces you to sell land or property to them. The King, since in theory he owns everything within the Kingdom, can do this as he wills, and nobody is safe from it, but, in practice, a discerning government will be careful not to aggravate its richer and more important landowners.