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Let’s begin with a bold statement: Your life on earth revolves around the execution of contracts. Most are oblivious or cannot comprehend such a position and many will claim there are no contracts:
“How can that be? I never signed anything!”
As we shall discover…it’s all about contracts, signing can be optional. This failure to acknowledge the existence of underlying contracts can unravel the most experienced professionals and non-professionals in law. It will be the creditor or sovereign (authority) that has the ultimate power to resolve controversy (or a referee if you let them).
This site will provide a foundation that describes how these invisible contracts are created and how contracts can dynamically move by actions alone and not necessarily verbal agreements or writings. It is these “runaway contracts” that must be brought under the control of the sovereign and not left to the trustee(s) to administer.
It’s all contracts
Whether you know it or not – you are operating a sea fairing vessel in a world of contracts, surrounding you, engaging you. Understand how the execution of contracts is accomplished will help you take advantage of this commercial playing field just as a coach understands how the rules apply in a football game.
Football and Court – what’s the difference?
In Australia, there’s several different football codes, League, Union, AFL, Soccer and more. So what’s football got to do with Court? Hopefully you’ll get the idea and maybe a light bulb moment will occur.
The referee in almost any sporting event has a fairly defined role: Starting the game, ending the game, keeping track of the score and resolving on field controversy. Make a bad tackle and the referee will penalise the offending player to resolve the offence. Unreasonably injure another player and a report may occur or even see a player sent off the field. Play by the rules or else! You get the idea.
There’s another type of referee, you may know them as magistrates or judges. These types of referees work in a very similar way, albeit the rules might be more complex and the surroundings very different. Like referees, these roles function to steer the players in a court and to engage when there’s controversy that needs to be resolved between the players.
Back to the game, the referee won’t use their adjudication powers to halt play and make a ruling if there’s no on field controversy. Otherwise, the referee may suddenly no longer be in demand. Imagine a once in a lifetime game with no on field controversy, what function would the referee have? Start and stop the game, keep track of scores and nothing else. The referee cannot engage and has no jurisdiction over any players on the field as long as there’s no controversy to deliberate on.
Let’s go back to court, the same applies here as well. A court will lose subject matter jurisdiction if there is no controversy to resolve. Thus, it can be said, playing the game without controversy and gaining agreement from the parties before “the court” must lead to a dismissal.
Perhaps you’ve scoured the web, watched some youtube clips or joined some online forums or radio show that discuss how to beat traffic tickets or beat the tax office. In some cases, these sites can be quite fascinating with very interesting approaches with hundreds of hours of research being invested. Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with the multitude of approaches – some work well, some work occasionally, some may not work at all. There’s a million ways to resolve an issue so I’m not taking a position against or for a particular method.
However, if you’re in Court, you’re probably there because there’s a unresolved controversy. Remember, just like the referee, the magistrate cannot maintain jurisdiction where there is no controversy between the parties (eg the matter has already been resolved privately).
If your new to this subject matter and faced with a court appearance, I suggest in giving consideration to methods that aim to resolve controversy v’s methods that aim to create controversy and incite argument. For example, paying a traffic fine before appearing in court will resolve the controversy and relinquishes the court of subject matter jurisdiction.
A situation that creates controversy: Presenting to the court an argument that the court does not have jurisdiction. This has effectively created a controversy in itself that requires the very same referee to step in and make a determination. Hence, the very argument of jurisdiction allows the court to claim jurisdiction. It’s really important to note: If your person is summoned to court – by this act alone means jurisdiction is present as an unresolved controversy is present. It is your job to resolve it – publicly or privately (a lot more on this later).
Acceptance of Offer by actions alone
Let’s start with examples and come back around on what is meant by “actions”.
In an enlightening episode of Judge Judy (probably one of the best episodes), a plaintiff brought into court a claim that alleged the defendant owed him $2000 for several months of insufficient rental payments on a property. The plaintiff also brought into court a signed contract by the defendant stating that rent was $2000 per month. The defendant claimed she agreed to only $1600 per month.
Judge Judy questioned both the plaintiff and defendant on what they thought the contract was and how much was paid and received etc. She asked the defendant if she had signed the rental contract which the defendant agreed she had. At this point you’d think this was a simple case of a judgement for the plaintiff as the defendant agreed she was short $400 per month in rent. Not so fast…contracts are dynamic – they can move by actions alone.
Judge Judy asked the Plaintiff if he had accepted the lower amount of $1600 per month for payment, which he agreed he had as he needed at least something each month rather than nothing. At that point Judge Judy made a judgement in favour of the defendant and the new rental contract was now $1600 per month. To the surprise of the Plaintiff, who began to immediately argue that he had in his possession a signed contract by the defendant clearly stating $2000 per month and this was the agreed amount. The response from Judge Judy was swift, by his actions of accepting $1600 each month, a new agreement was now agreed between the parties and enforceable.
The contract had moved. The Plaintiff’s actions of accepting $1600 defined a new contract.
Was there a meeting of the minds in this dispute where both parties agreed on $1600? If you ask the Defendant she would say “Yes, of course”. In contrast, the Plaintiff would probably say “no chance, I didn’t agree to $1600 per month”.
A meeting of the minds in the strictest sense did not occur, but merely the actions of the parties re-defined the prior agreement.
Think about this in your unique situations, what action or inaction did you undertake that created an agreement? For example walking into a restaurant and ordering from the menu creates a contract where you agree to pay for the service. Did you sign anything prior to ordering off the menu? No. Was there a “Meeting of the minds”? Arguably yes, however the contract in this case is implied and not expressed.
From Marc Stevens, objecting to the Jurisdiction of the court creates controversy in a hearing. The hearing administrator conducts himself precisely how he should – as a referee resolving controversy. Fast fwd to the 12min mark to hear questions on Jurisdiction. After further objections to the jurisdiction of the court, Marc is eventually disconnected from the hearing.
The expectation from the hearing administrator is a “person” by the name of Mr Ian Freeman is to attend the hearing as a result of a specific driving charge. Mr Freeman attends the hearing and agrees he is in fact Mr Freeman by answering to the name. Jurisdiction is there, simply by Mr Freeman’s actions. Like walking into a restaurant and ordering from the menu, consent to pay for any charges for use of the restaurant services is implied.
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