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On this site you will find a draft of the Mars Colony Legal Code. You are invited to contribute what you feel is missing.

Humans need rules. Without them, there is chaos.

Legal systems have only recently become aware of the fact that there are other, competing legal systems that function efficiently and dispense justice while governing human relations.

Each legal system truly believes in its own superiority. Each has its advantages. Some countries are drowning in law. There is so much law that legislators work full-time to perfect a system that can't be perfected.

The space-faring nations might well want to dictate what laws to apply. After all, they have the rockets. But while the life of the Mars Colony may depend on those rockets, once those rockets leave Martian territory and before their entrance into Martian space, those who service them will have to be self-governing. They will need rules.

It may not be so obvious, but much of what we think of as "the law" will not apply on Mars. There are unforeseen legal problems that will arise. Each legal system on Earth will claim that its own solution to the problem is the best one, and the process by which those laws are arrived at is also the best.

Mars is an unforgiving environment. Recent discoveries point to quantities of water, which means that there will be fuel and the necessities of life. Air will always be in short supply. A mistake in the harsh Martian environment will, almost inevitably, lead to death.

Colonists suffering these hardships will long for the familiarity and succor provided them by their home countries' laws. Understand though, that this comfort is mostly psychological; a home field advantage or perhaps only a perceived home field advantage. Lawyers who have a multijurisdictional practice know that their clients will always select the familiar. Why do you choose, say, the law of England and Wales over the law of Tennessee? What is it about English law that you will lose unless it is specifically added to a contract? The question usually remains unanswered.

So people believe that the laws of their home country are better because--because they're better. They really don't know why.
Because life on the Mars Colony will be unpredictable, the best law to take is the least amount of law to take.

This initial version of the Mars Colony Legal Code is based on the laws of three legal systems--the common law, the civil law, and Islamic law. These laws blanket the vast majority of the planet, but there are important areas not covered. We especially need to see if there is anything in these set of rules which is generally inconsistent, for example, with the laws of China.

Where the Code fails to reach these objectives, we need to know in order to make a more workable legal framework for the future human settlement on Mars.