Of course, my first answer (as I think anyone from the Empire would agree) is that the true law is that which comes from God, and God speaks to us through the Empress and the Scriptures. Your story illustrates a difficulty with my instinctive answer. While the people in your imaginary world agree that true laws are those that come from the true Speaker, they cannot agree on who the true Speaker is. Sedevacantists illustrate this difficulty in our own world.

My second and admittedly more evasive answer is the categories “true” and “false” can apply in mathematics and physics, but they are not suitable to describe judicial laws.

Let me start with true mathematical law. Whether a mathematical statement is true or false depends on the choice of axioms – or basic principles if you wish. With the axioms of plane geometry, it is true that the sum of the angles of a triangle must always be 180 degrees. With the axioms of curved geometry, this is false. The axioms are precisely the basic statements that you *assume* to be true. But, formally, the only requirement for your choice of axioms is that they do not lead to logical inconsistencies.

Physicists will argue that, while there is no one True choice of axioms in mathematical logic, there are useful choices and less useful ones if one wants to describe reality. The physical one “True” law is that which would describe nature fully. We may never know this true law of physics, even though we appear to have a process that brings us ever closer, and indeed close enough for many practical purposes.

But to establish laws that govern society, something fundamentally different is needed than the truth of mathematical laws or laws of physics. As stated above, to me it makes little sense to ask “what is a true law” in the judicial context. Rather, I would like to return to you a new question that stems from your story but that, in turn, does not make sense in the mathematical or physical context:

To you, what is a just law?