A straw man is the legal fiction your parents created and unwittingly signed over to the Government when they registered you at birth. Your straw man is the "person" created by that birth certificate, and that the Government has title to. (Jersey Blog Posting)
It is important to note that Freemen are not against the Rule of Law, just the deception and criminality that it is now used for by Governments. (Jersey Blog Posting)
Take notice that I am not accepting any transaction of a securities interest at this time.
I do not wish to contract with your Company and decline your offer to a business meeting.
I am a man, your Company is a legal fiction, and as such has no right to make any claims on me, absent a contract.
I return your paperwork herein
Thank you for your attention to this matter
All inalienable rights reserved.
(Letter to Constable of St Helier)
You may wonder where this notion that your parents signed over a quasi-legal entity called a "person" by registering you at birth comes from, or for that matter what world the writer of the strange letter lives in - it is, in fact, declining to pay a parking fine, although you would be hard put to deduce that from the wording. But if you are a Guardian reader, you may have seen something similar in one of their "comment is free" articles by Alison Playford. She says something very similar to our first quotation:
Bits of paper like your birth certificate. All registered names are Crown copyright. The legal definition of registration is transfer of title ownership, so anything that's registered is handed over to the governing body; the thing itself is no longer yours. When you register a car, you're agreeing to it not being yours - they send you back a form saying you're the "registered keeper". It's a con. That's why I say I've never had a name.
We are all taught to be a name, the name on our birth certificate. But if you don't consent to be that "person", you step outside the system.
According to the law books, a "natural person" (or human being) is distinct from the "person" as a legal entity. All the statutes and acts are acting up on the "person", and if you're admitting to being a person, you are admitting to be a corporation that can be acted upon for commerce. (1)
Probably the best response to this piece of nonsense is one comment below it which stated that "you are number 6 and I claim my prize", a reference to the TV series "The Prisoner", which actually took the opposite line - "I am not a number, I am a person". But the Prisoner only had to deal with a Village for captured spies, not the strange looking glass world in which these statements are being made. But nonsense it is - as one legal commentator noted "Names are not Crown copyright, registration is not transfer of title, and your car doesn't belong to the Government." If you see "Crown copyright" on a birth certificate, it is simply because the Crown claims copyright to all the forms it issues so that only it can produce them, and not part of some arcane conspiracy.
Unfortunately, faced with a letter that looked as if it had been composed by someone who perhaps did not appear as being of sound mind, the Centenier delegated to deal with the matter told the individual that they didn't have to pay the fine. A triumph for the legal expertise of the writer, or so they saw it. What they failed to see was that the reason for not following up with legal proceedings might just as easily have been because the Centenier decided against wasting hours of time pursuing the matter. As Carl Gardner noted about debts and the freeman defense, "some freemen really have found that small debts have been written off because of the nuisance they've been able to cause."
These strange arguments, which often cite "Admiralty Law", are part of an approach to the law that is described as "freeman of the land". As Legal Bizzle noted in the Guardian:
Take the philosophy too far and the consequences could be worse. In December 2010, a man was arrested after using freeman-on-the-land arguments to try and avoid paying council tax, and earlier this year Elizabeth Watson was jailed for contempt in the Victoria Haigh case, in part because she claimed that as a freeman she was not under the jurisdiction of the court. (2)
Barrister Adam Wagner warns against these arguments, which he notes is gaining popularity through numerous internet sites.
I can provide two recent examples where it definitely did not help, and probably did harm to, people in the justice system.
The first is the case of Elizabeth Watson and Victoria Haigh...Both Haigh and Watson considered themselves Freemen of the Land, who attempted to step outside of the system. It seems likely that at least in Watson's case, her belief that she had "stepped outside of the system" led to her brazenly to flout contempt laws for as long as she did.
My second example arose when I did jury service last month (a generally positive experience - see my comment on it here). One of the trials involved a defendant who was accused of stealing sports cars. When we entered the court, the judge told us that the defendant had released his legal team and was denying the court's jurisdiction. He refused to cross-examine witnesses - rather, he used the opportunity to ask the judge whether his jurisdiction arose from maritime law - and his closing statement involved the reading of a Latin phrase and stating that he was the "official representative of the legal fiction known as..."
We found the Defendant guilty on 7 of 8 counts, and I will not say anything about our reasoning. I do suspect that the car stealing Defendant's bizarre and misguided defence influenced the judge's sentencing, and I also imagine that if he had retained his representation he may have pleaded guilty in any event. Either way, he probably went to prison for longer as a result of his attempt to trying to "step outside of the system". (3)
But the waste of time caused by this approach can have damaging consequences. As one blogger notes:
Time and money is wasted. Public time and public money: the kind that fills pot-holes and employs medics. The sovereigns have a temporarily
illusion that their little malarkey is working while the authorities waste their time and money trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.
When sovereigns start talking about corporations and contracts and straw men, they might as well be teenage law students who have cherry-picked quotes from law textbooks to construct their own reality. Sadly, the world just isn't that much fun (4)
The lawyer Duncan Roy, who was part of Occupy London's legal team, came across a "freeman" defense from a man called Dom, or to be more precise, ""the man commonly known as Dom", as he liked to refer to himself, who was very disruptive to the legal team and its efforts on behalf of Occupy London. He wrote a blog posting on the matter, in which he noted that
Occupy London fights its battles on many fronts, be they political, publicity, practical and, yes, even legal. It is but one front but if we're going to fight on that front too, we need expert lawyers not babblers of modern-psycho-mystical-nonsense, which is the comedic diversion you provide so beautifully Dom. (6)
Lastly, I'd like to finish with a comment by Barrister F. Gibbons:
A typical mistake Freemen make is to try to apply principles of courtroom law (civil contracts etc) to legal philosophy, i.e. arguments in relation to consent to be governed. For people to be governed subject to the country's laws, including statute law, does not require their signature on a piece of paper. I completely understand why some people would say: 'I didn't consent to this law; why should I be governed by it?' But consent is not required in relation to each and every individual law. Consent is only required insofar as the government needing general consent to its rule so that it is considered legitimate. If everyone rose up against the government's rule, it would not be considered legitimate and general consent would essentially be withdrawn. This is not something written down in the books; it is not a matter of black-letter law. This is quite simply the practical reality of our situation.
Every law is man-made. Even the legal gibberish many Freemen spout is man-made. They are simply trying to replace a set of rules that has been made up and developed over centuries with one they have just made up themselves. Unfortunately for them, the centuries-old set of rules is recognised by the vast majority of the population and the entire judiciary. (8)
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