Ulex AMA: 10 Amazing Questions (And Answers) you maybe missed!

The AMA held recently was a marvellous success, thanks to the excellent community at r/goldandblack and our wonderful subscribers.

We’d love to share the most pressing questions regarding Ulex here. Buckle up, it’s going to be bumpy!

1. Under Ulex, can judges be sued for damages caused by bad decisions?

Yes, as they would be bound by contracts, at the very minimum they would liable for breach of contract in the event they failed to decide, took a bribe, or otherwise failed to act as promised. They would presumably also owe fiduciary interests to the parties and/or the hosting institution, widening the scope of the duties owed.

Remedies to bad judging would come built-in. Adopting jurisdictions could add additional disincentives to bad behavior by judges and other officials. “Your Next Government?” advocates imposing double damages on such parties, an innovation drawn from customary African legal systems. This stands in sharp contrast to the U.S. approach, in which judges are entirely exempt from liability to litigants for deciding a case based on, say, malice.

2. How would Ulex be able to enforce judgments?

Here are two possible ways to enforce judgements: one centralized and one decentralized.

1. Use ULEX within a traditional territorial geographic monopoly on violence, most likely in an experimental governance zone such as a seastead or charter city. The zone will enforce judgements, and competition between such zones (and existing states) will pressure the zone to do so honestly.

2. Use ULEX for a voluntary contract, and require collateral to be posted as part of a contract, with a trusted decentralized system (such as arbitration or oracles on the blockchain) used to enforce the judgement using the collateral.

Keep in mind that ULEX is not a proposed solution for the problem of obtaining sovereignty in realspace, hence why you won’t be able to just sue someone for damages under ULEX in a legacy state. Instead, ULEX solves the problem of codifying an efficient legal system using best practices so that when people have the opportunity to opt-in to a good legal system, they have one to opt-in to.

3. Are there many governments sympathetic to experiments with Startup Societies and or Ulex?

More every day! Unfortunately for that claim, the best evidence remains for the moment under wraps. As documented in “Your Next Government?” though, special jurisdictions have in recent decades been exploding in number and (more relevantly to your question) scope. With examples like Dubai’s IFC, Abu Dhabi’s Global Market, and the Honduran ZEDEs, there are more and more places importing law from abroad to encourage local development.

4, Can you explain a bit more about the differences between polycentric law and decentralized law?

Yeah, that’s interestingly (not ignorantly) unclear. Some sources in the crypto space distinguish between decentralized and distributed systems. Polycentric systems presumably have many centers (duh). These are typically portrayed, as in Berman’s portrait of medieval Europe, as overlapping geographically and attaching to persons.

polycentric law = general description of the field ;

decentralized law = law not from just one source;

distributed law = law not just in one place.

​5. How can Ulex be used in EOS for its dispute resolution problems?

Ulex offers the EOS community a plug-and-play solution to the difficult problem of choosing a set of rules for resolving its disputes. This problem is especially acute for the EOS community because, on top of its native (and somewhat admirable) resistance to authority, it includes people from across the globe. EOS aspires, after all, to create a government free of such chains. It’s a job for Ulex, the flag-free open source legal operating system.

6. Does Ulex require a “loser pays” model?

This can be solved by making damage claims transferable. Then a poor person could simply sell their claim to a professional litigation firm. A claim will be worth its expected payment:

(P(winning) * win_amount — P(Losing) * lose_amount)

minus its prosecution cost. So the better the poor person’s claim, and the larger the damages, the more they can get paid.

“Loser pays” is the default rule in Ulex, as it is in almost all of the world. Ulex favors majority rules for the simple reason that they are likely to get the widest acceptance and arguably reflect best practices.

One more thing: No set of (mere) legal rules can solve every social problem. The poor will perhaps always be with us, regardless of how attorneys get paid. It falls to the broader community adopting Ulex to make sure that the poor can participate fully in all aspects of social life. This could be done in this instance by providing for subsidized legal services, should others your concern and practice bear it out.

7. Why is pendulum arbitration, appointing a third judge, loser pays, etc. necessary? Why can’t the coordination between judges be more flexible? Can’t judges choose the practices that are beneficial for their clients on a case-by-case basis?

Ulex chooses the rule most likely to work best in the worst conditions. Pendulum arbitration drives contesting parties toward peaceful settlement, whereas the alternative, where arbitrators fashion their own remedies, tends to drive parties toward extremes, as they know that arbitrators tend to “split the baby” when presented with widely varying assessments of liability. If the parties are getting along well enough to agree on a single judge, they can always opt out of Ulex’s relatively more costly but rock-solid-sure-to-work three judge system.

8. I have heard Tom Bell in podcasts and lectures, claim private cities and/or private law has been more successful than state cities and state law. What sources can we reference that show this?

Check out this page on the many papers, videos, etc. Tom has done on polycentric law.

9. There are serious issues with evidence not being presented in a timely manner or maintained for public cases within the US. How can the ULEX and technology help to mitigate this?

That’s an important consideration, but one that involves a granularity of detail somewhat below Ulex. It would remain for an adopting jurisdiction to specify a statute of limitations, and for the forum chosen by the parties to specify specific rules of discovery. To the extent (likely significant) that jurisdictions running Ulex benefit from its relatively simple and organized rules, as well as from the sorts of decentralized and private alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that will likely run Ulex, they will also find relief from the problems you flag with evidence management in state-run courts.

10. Could a Ulex system be used to sue governments?

It depends.

Ulex could and should be used to sue an institution running Ulex that itself agrees to be bound to the same rules. So, for instance, if you consented to the jurisdiction of a ZEDE running Ulex via a membership and lease agreement, and the ZEDE management breached the agreement by wrongfully denying you access to community records, you could sue the ZEDE under Ulex.

The forum would be as chosen between you and the ZEDE — perhaps a local realspace court or, more likely, an online service. Per Ulex Rule 1.2.1, each party would choose a judge and those two judges would choose the third. Then the panel would choose one of the parties’ suggested remedies (Rule 1.2.2) and the loser pay the winners legal costs (Rule 1.2.3).

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