While docked in territorial waters, all vessels must obey the laws of the host country. During Stage II and III, the laws of the host country (e.g. United States) will apply and residents will abide by these. In Stage V, residents will abide by the laws of flag they fly. Vessels docked at a platform will adhere to the flag of that platform while docked. Eventually, after being established in Stage V for years and having a strong track record of positive relations with other nations, the goal is to declare sovereignty and establish our own independent Atlas Island flag. Atlas Island will then establish its own legal system for use by all vessels flying its flag.
Under maritime law, all vessels on international waters must fly a flag. This flag identifies the country in which the vessel is registered. This country takes sole responsibility for the vessel and thus the vessel is subject to the laws of that country. Any vessel not flying a flag is subject to be boarded and confiscated by any other country. To comply with maritime law, we will negotiate with flagging registries and adopt a flag of convenience. This flag will impose minimal restrictions and basic legal rights. There will likely be no taxes aside from flagging fees and very minimal regulations. Further, given that we will be permanently based at sea, we may even be able to negotiate more economic freedom than is offered to traditional vessels flying the flag.
Each platform will provide security guards for its residents who will enforcement the rules. These security guards will protect against both internal and external threats. Internally, they will enforce the laws of the flagging country as well as the Resident Contracts. Unlike traditional police, they will not hold legal immunity. This means that any abuses of power would subject them to criminal and civil liability. This key difference will ensure that security forces do not abuse their power or use excessive force. Externally, these security guards will protect the platform from any human threat. This model has been highly successful on large ships and not a single vessel with armed security guards has been hijacked by pirates. Further, individual residents would be entitled and encouraged to maintain their own ability to defend themselves and their vessel.
Individuals who have been convicted of a crime on Atlas Island will first and foremost be forced to pay restitution. This means that they will be expected to financially compensate their victim for any property stolen or damaged. If the criminal refuses to provide financial compensation, their property may be confiscated and sold to provide compensation. Above and beyond financial compensation, certain crimes or a repeated pattern of criminal behavior may lead to a period of imprisonment and/or banishment from the platform.
Disputes on Atlas Island can be settled in several ways mutual agreement, private dispute resolution firms, and courts. When writing contracts, residents are encouraged to specify their preferred dispute resolution mechanism. In most cases, this will be a specific private dispute resolution firm, ideally located on Atlas Island. Alternatively, the contract may specify a country whose courts have jurisdiction, such as the flagging country. Once a judgement has been obtained, ideally both parties will adhere to it. If one party does not do so, the other may bring this judgement forward to the platform administrator for validation and enforcement. If the other party still does not provide the ordered compensation, they may be banished from the platform.
After eventually declaring independence, the new legal system will be based on the tenets of natural law and the non-aggression principle. The natural rights of Atlas Island residents will be clearly specified and enumerated in contract form. Only actions against life, liberty, and property will be illegal. During Stage IV and V, we will collectively codify this system in unambiguous legal terms. Once enacted, this will provide certainty regarding the legal system including guaranteed individual rights. Legal disputes will be decided in private courts. There will be competition between dispute resolution firms and residents will have the freedom to choose the most fair and efficient firm, ensuring corruption does not take root.
There will be no official currency and residents will be free to transact in whatever currency they so choose. This will likely result in a mixture of physical currency (such as gold and silver), fiat currencies (such as USD), and decentralized digital currencies (such as Bitcoin or Monero). While one currency may become a de facto standard it will not be officially enforced. We believe in competition and markets. Each platform will be free to decide in which currency to denominate its transactions and keep accounts but payment will likely be facilitated in multiple currencies with real-time conversion technologies.