|“||Sed lex dura lex. "The Law is hard, but it is the Law."||”|
–The Covenant's motto
The Covenant is the law upheld by the Clave. It provides the rules of conduct for Nephilim and, though minimally, Downworlders. The Covenant protects the rights of Shadowhunters to enforce civilized relations among the Clave, Downworld, and the mundane world, as well as the rights of Downworlders so that they may not be maltreated by Shadowhunters.
It is also the Covenant that guarantees that the Shadow World remains shadowed from the mundane world. Nephilim are sworn by Covenant never to reveal the truth of the world to a mundane, unless the revelation is absolutely necessary or unavoidable, and all Downworlders who have signed the Accords are subject to and agree to this rule.
The Covenant consists of the basic moral code expected among the followers. The Covenant's fine print is also more or less the entire legal system of the Shadowhunters, specifying not only the criminal code that the Nephilim and various Downworlder communities have agreed to abide by, but also how that criminal code may be prosecuted, how trials may be run, and so on. This means both Shadowhunters and Downworlders may refer to the Covenant to claim some specific right.
Reparations is a right for appeal given to Downworlders who believe that Shadowhunters have broken the Law in their dealings with them. They are given the chance to request or lodge a complaint through Reparations when they believe they have been wronged or mistreated by Shadowhunters. A trial may be called, which will be administered by representatives of the Clave, and when they manage to prove their case, the plaintiff may be accorded money or some form of payment as compensation for the harm brought to them. The guilty Shadowhunter may then be tried and punished. Mundanes also have the right to file or petition for Reparations, as well as Shadowhunters, as Tatiana did against her brothers for the death of their father.
When a Downworlder, or a mundane, alleges that a Shadowhunter has broken the Law in their dealings with them, the Downworlder lodges a complaint through Reparations.