Reconciliation Forums of Betazed
The Reconciliation Forums are considered a separate body to the Betazoid Government Council, where disputes are heard between the Houses.
Reconciliation forums are built on many hundreds of years of tradition. Before Betazed became a member of the Federation, like Betazoid weddings, all participants in a Reconciliation Forum where required to appear naked. However, after joining the Federation, “off-worlders” involved in forums were often uncomfortable with this practice. The tradition was subsequently changed so that all participants wear gowns, similar to Terran Kimonos. Military or Starfleet officers by convention are held in high respect by Forums and are the exception to this rule, and are required to wear their uniforms.
The presiding official of a Forum is known as an Adjudicator. Adjudicators used to have to be female, but that changed in the late 2200s, due to pressure from the Federation.
Reconcilation and Compromise
As an effect of the Betazoid Matriarchal society, compromise and reunion of parties is the ultimate focus of an Adjudicator of a Forum. Unlike the legal judicial institutions of other worlds such as Earth, a reconciliation forum did not base itself on an adversarial or inquisitorial system.
Even when a dispute involves more than two legal entities (parties), all parties represented at a Reconciliation Forum.
A Reconciliation Forum has the following roles:
- Adjudicator: the presiding official of a Reconciliation Forum session. Must be referred to as "Mother" or "Father".
- Reflector: A strong empath, but must not have any telepathic abilities. They gauge emotion and report inconsistencies of children testimony to the Adjudicator.
- Keeper: Adjudicator's administrative officer.
- Party: A represented legal entity (i.e. person or organisation) at a Forum, who are part of the dispute to be settled
- Representative: A person appointed to legally represent a Party
- Children: The title used by the Adjudicator to address members of all of the participating parties
- Advocate: A person or organisation that can act on behalf of a Party