Justice in Fastheld is distinguished by three notions that indicate descending degrees of judiciary power to administer justice by the maximal punishment the holders can inflict upon their citizens and other dependents.: High Justice, Middle Justice, and Low Justice.
High Justice is the highest penal authority as held by a sovereign or other head of state. It is reserved for Nobles of High Title, Nobles of Prominence, Knights of the Imperial Order, and those who may have to face capital punishment for their crimes.
Those subjected to High Justice are placed on formal trial before a sovereign or head of state, which acts as judge for the duration of the hearing and makes the final decision in regards to the verdict of the trial, and the outcome.
The defendant will usually be permitted a representative to plead in their favor and provide the various reasons - be they factual proof of innocence or testimony of previous deeds - as to why the defendant should be cleared of all suspicion. The Tribunal will assign one of their own officers to act as chief justice in the hearings, and will attempt to prove the defendants guilt.
However, High Justice may sometimes be served between the sovereign or head of state, and the defendant, without need for representation.
Note that no actual evidence is required in such hearings; sometimes one's own character may be enough to liberate or condemn them. However, High Justice has little time for dramatics, and a solid case must be brought forward before a trial will ever come before a sovereign or head of state.
Knights of the Imperial Order will sometimes be involved with High Justice in regards to roles of defense, prosecution, and evidence gathering.
Note also that imprisonment is usually waived and that the accused is often free to roam the Empire during the time between the accusation and the trial. Exceptions to this rule come into play when a defendant is suspected of being a current threat to the stability of the Empire (such as treason charges), or when capital punishment is a serious consideration in regards to the outcome of the trial.
This intermediate level is the least well defined, though usually falls to the Imperial Tribunal. Medium Justice comes into play when a Noble of general or lower standing is accused of a crime, or actually caught committing one.
In such an event, the Imperial Watch will arrest said Noble and usually confine them to a manor, keep, or location of their choosing, and place them under house arrest. The Imperial Tribunal will then be involved in fact finding and, after some deliberation, will make the final verdict on the case, taking into consideration such factors as political ramifications, the weight of the evidence, and the credibility of the people making the claims.
The Imperial Tribunal will finally either clear a Noble of all wrong-doing, or proceed to the next step of imprisonment, fines, or similar consequences.
Knights of the Imperial Order will sometimes be involved with Middle Justice in regards to fact-finding and liaison roles.
Low Justice is the day-to-day justice upon which the Imperial Watch operate and keep the peace. Low Justice is generally settled by limited fines or light corporal punishment without trial or hearing. It is always included in the jurisdiction of the High and Middle Justiciarians, but also by Dukes, Duchesses, and via their proxies in the House Guards within the various House-Owned cities.
Those operating under the mandates of Low Justice are empowered to arrest and/or detain anyone whom they suspect of being in violation of the Imperial Law, either by current act or reasonable suspicion.
Knights of the Imperial Order are tasked with keeping the peace via Low Justice as they deem fit.