Dear colleagues, it seems Fate has saddled us with a legal problem. On the 21st of May, good Christians (by some accounts, not more than 223.000 of them, but theological disagreements on that point are acute) are going to be taken bodily into Paradise while the rest of us endure tribulation on Earth.
For members of our profession, this event will create some acute legal problems, and it would behoove us to prepare ourselves for them. After all, we will be staying behind. Who has heard of a lawyer landing in Paradise?
Firstly, we should examine the delicate issue of property rights. In my opinion, the basic question is whether inheritance law should apply to raptured persons.
I believe that is not the case. Inheritance law can apply only when a person is dead or missing and declared dead. Since the elect are apparently going to Paradise bodily, they obviously will not die (which is currently the prerequisite for an afterlife). Neither can they be considered missing, since the astral plane for which they are chosen is known. Because of this I am convinced that those raptured cannot use a will to transact their assets in the event of death.
Given that by all accounts the chosen will not be able to interact with those of us left on Earth, and that all their wants will be provided for in Paradise, it seems most reasonable to conclude that the chosen decide to abandon their property. Abanoned property can be taken as property by anyone who performs occupation, taking possession of items with the intent to acquire ownership.
Now we must turn to the issue of loans and other contracts. It is safe to assume that the faithful know they will be raptured. This will in all likelihood prevent them from fulfilling their contractual obligations after May 21st. The most pressing question seems to be whether contracts knowingly entered into by the chosen after the date of the Rapture was made known which are to be fulfilled after May 21st constitute attempted fraud.
On an individual level we should consider the possibility of renegotiating contracts with no-Rapture clauses, which would stipulate that the parties to a contract agree to delay their Rapture until their contractual obligations will have been fulfilled. Whether such clauses will be effective is a separate question; we have no way of knowing that until the Rapture occurs, but demanding such clauses be added surely falls within the standard of due care, at least for professionals.
Other issues fall within the scope of international law, particularly the law of war (ius belli) and the collective actions of the United Nations.
Ad 1: As per the common Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions of 1944, an international armed conflict takes place between high contract parties to the Conventions (and other states, since one can argue the Geneva Conventions have become customary int'l law) is defined objectively by a state of armed conflict between states, regardless of its appellation or intent. It is necessary to examine whether Armageddon, which follows the Rapture, falls witin the scope of international armed conflict.
The answer, in my view, is that it does. The Antichrist will have a kingdom on this Earth, implying that the state will fulfil the criteria necessary for the formation of a state (territory, population, effective control, the ability to engage in diplomatic relations). It is also probable the other side fulfils those criteria. Certainly, the divine have their kingdom on the astral plane, but there is no reason extraplanar territory should not qualify or that angels do not qualify as population. And there are few governments as effective as God. Therefore, law of war clearly applies as it would to international armed conflict and it is not necessary to examine the possibility of internal armed conflict.
Ad 2: The UN Charter bans the use of violence or the threat of violence intended against a country's territorial integrity, sovereingty, or any other value included in the Charter. There are only three permissible exceptions: Self-defence, a rebellion against colonial domination, foreign occupation and racist regimes, and collective actions by the Security Council. I do not see how the Last Battle could fall into one of those categories. As such, I feel comfortable in declaring both sides in violation of international law, allowing the Security Council to take proportional collective action, potentially including armed intervention or peacekeeping operations.
That's it. Any other legal issues you can think about and offer solutions to, dear colleagues?
Legal disclaimer: I am a law student, but not a citizen or resident of the US, so this should not be interpred to imply any familiarity of the diarist with US law. Reader beware.