The Corporate Court is the arbitral body with supreme authority over disputes involving extraterritorial megacorporations. The Corporate Court was founded following the Shiawase Decision in 2019, which granted extraterritorial rights to megacorporations.
The Corporate Court was founded following the Shiawase Decision as a way of arbitrating disputes involving extraterritorial corporations. The Court was founded by the first seven extraterritorial megacorporations - Ares Industries (now Ares Macrotechnology), the Asian-Pacific Rim Corporation (now Aspari), Coalescence Corporation, EuroCorp, Horizon, JRJ International (now a part of NeoNET), and Shiawase - and these founding corporations have permanent seats on the Corporate Court, meaning that they cannot lose their AAA rating, regardless of their economic status.
Corporate Court justices serve 5-year terms, with no limit on the number of terms served. These terms are staggered, with a new election every six months. Representatives must be drawn from AA- or AAA-rated corporations, and a AA-rated corporation that wins a seat on the Corporate Court becomes a AAA corporation, regardless of size.
In addition to the benefits of having a voice on the bench, a megacorporation with a representative on the Corporate Court is granted a single share in Zurich-Orbital Gemeinschaftsbank (and only one share, even if it possesses several representatives).
The seven founding megacorporations have a permanent seat on the Corporate Court, so when the term of a founding corporation's last representative is over, only that corporation can present candidates for election.
Laws and Enforcement
The Corporate Court is primarily an arbitrating party, rather than a legislative body. However, there are three laws that are important to the Court and the megacorporations that support it:
- Don't go to war. War threatens the fragile balance of power the Big Ten have established, not to mention wars cost a great deal of money. This law has prevented all-out pan-corporate war from consuming the planet, instead leading to a constant low-intensity shadow war.
- Don't overthrow a national government. Nation-states handle all of the unprofitable civic activities that the corporations prefer to avoid. Additionally, corporate coups tend to cause rumbling in other national governments and the general population about corporate power and its abuses. It's acceptable to control a government, but don't remove it altogether.
- If you break it, you buy it. If you break, steal, kill, damage, or destroy another corporation's assets (employees or property), and your target can prove it, you have to pay restitution. This law ties in strongly with the laws against going to war, further encouraging a shadow war rather than overt aggression.
If a corporation is caught violating one of the above laws, the Court determines an appropriate punishment, the exact nature of which depends on the corporation's status within the megacorporate community.
If a non-AAA corporation deserves punishment, the Court issues a mandate to one of its member corporations, giving full authority to use security and/or military assets to damage the offending corporation. The mandated corporation is granted a set amount of funds from the Z-OG Bank to finance these operations. Each mandate specifies the extent of the damage the mandated corporation can inflict, based on the severity of the violation. If the mandated corporation oversteps these boundaries (which they are often enticed to do), they become subject to corporate punishment themselves.
In the case of AAA corporations, the Court has several options. For minor infractions, the Court orders the Z-OG Bank to increase the offending corporation's fees for various services, such as charging higher interest rates for loans. For more severe violations, the Court will delegate two or more AAA megacorporations to punish the offending corporation using their military assets, just as with a lesser corporation.
For extreme transgressions, the Corporate Court may issue an Omega Order. This decree, usually a mandate to all AAA corporations to punish the offender, makes it open season on the condemned corporation, the corporate equivalent of a death sentence.