The Royal Courts
The Royal courts serve as Watersdeep’s Civil and Criminal court system. Under the fair and beneficent rule of Lord Elric, every citizen of WatersDeep has access to the court systems and is subject to its judgments. Each of the 12 City Council members (or Courtiers) serve as the city’s judges, with three judges presiding at any time, on scheduled rotations. During their off-schedule rotations, the 12 each travel around the Western March, hearing cases in the realm’s larger cities. WatersDeep’s laws are written by the 12 (and passed as a bill with majority vote), then signed into law (or vetoed) by Lord Elric. Only nobles and the 12 have the right to appeal to Lord Elric himself.
The Royal courts also serve to provide office space to the numerous royals who are involved in levying/collecting taxes and the administrative duties of managing the military and its drafts. More than one council member (and commoner alike) has been abused over the years by offending a noble and having their child drafted into the military, requiring exorbitant fees to remove them from the draft roster…“after all, why should the council’s children not be required to serve?” the argument always went. As such, there is a great deal of working animosity between the nobles and council members. Nonetheless, with the nobles levying and collecting the taxes which provide their pay, the council also knows which side its bread is buttered on and maintains cordial, if facetious, relationships with all members of the royal family.