Intro to Law Midterm 1

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Basic vocabulary and case studies to remember.

What is Law?

consists of enforceable rules governing relationships among individuals and between individuals and their society

What do laws establish?

establish rights, duties, and privileges that are consistent with the values and beliefs of their society or ruling group

Jurisprudence

involves learning about different schools of legal thought & discovering how each school's approach to law can affect judicial decision making

Natural Law

denotes a system of moral and ethical principles that are inherent in human nature & thus can be discovered through the use of people's own native intelligence

Natural Law in Ancient Greece

Aristotle, according to him natural law applies universally to all - the notion that people have natural rights stem form natural law

Positive Law

applies only to the citizens of that nation or society

Legal Positivism

believe that there can be no higher law than a nation's positive law, according to them there are no natural rights

Historical School

a school of legal thought that emphasizes the evolutionary process of law and looks to the past to discover what the principles of contemporary law should be

Legal Realism

a school of legal thought of the 1920s and 1930s that generally advocated a less abstract and more realistic approach to the law, an approach that takes into account customary practices and the circumstances in which transactions take place. This school left a lasting imprint on American jurisprudence

Sociological School

a school of legal thought that views the law as tool for promoting justice in society

Breach

the failure to perform a legal operation

Primary Sources of Law

a document that establishes the law on a particular issues , such as constitution, a statute, an administrative rule, or a court decision

Secondary Sources of Law

a publication that summarizes or interprets the law, such as a legal encyclopedia, a legal treatise, or an article in a law review
Ex. Law Encyvolpedia

Constitutional Law

the body of law derived from the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of various states

Statutory Law

the body of law enacted by legislative bodies (as opposed to constitutional law, administrative law, or case law

Citation

a reference to a publication in which a legal authority such as a statute or a court decision or other source can be found

Ordinance

a regulation enacted by a city or county legislative body to govern matters not covered by state or federal law

Uniform Laws (Model Statutes)

a model law created by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and/or the American Law Institute for the states to consider adopting

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)

created through joint efforts of the NCCUSL and the American Law Institute, and was first issued in 1952, adopted in all 50 states, provide a uniform yet flexible set of rules governing commercial transactions

Administrative Law

the body of law created by administrative agencies in order to carry out their duties and responsibilities

Administrative Agency

a federal or state government agency established to perform a specific function

Executive Agency

an administrative agency within the executive branch of government. At the federal level, executive agencies are those within the cabinet departments

Independent Regulatory Agency

an administrative agency that is not considered part of the government's executive branch and is not subject to the authority of the president. Independent agency officials cannot be removed without cause

Case Law

the rules of law announced in court decisions

Common Law

the body of law developed from custom or judicial decisions in English and U.S. Courts not attributable to a legislature

Precedent

a court decision that furnishes an example or authority for deciding subsequent cases involving identical or similar facts

Stare Decisis

a common law doctrine under which judges are obligated to follow the precedents established in prior decisions

Binding Authority

Any source of law that a court must follow when deciding a case. Binding authorities include constitutions, statutes, and regulations that govern the issue being decided, as well as court decisions that are controlling precedents within jurisdiction

Persuasive Authority

any legal authority or source of law that a court may look for guidance but on which it need not rely in making its decision

Remedy

the relief given to an innocent party to enforce a right or compensate for the violation of a right

Plaintiff

one who initiates a lawsuit

Defendant

one against whom a lawsuit is brought; the accused person in a criminal proceeding

Equitable Principles and Maxims

general propositions or principles of law that have to do with fairness

Statute of Limitations

a federal or state statute setting the maximum time period during which certain action can be brought or certain rights enforced

Substantive Law

law that defines, describes, regulates, and creates legal rights and obligations

Procedural Law

law that establishes the methods of enforcing the rights established by substantive law

Cyberlaw

an informal term used to refer to all laws governing electronic communications and transactions, particularly those conducted via the Internet

Civil Law

the branch of law dealing with the definition and enforcement of all private or public rights, as opposed to criminal matters

Civil Law System

a system of law derived from that of the Roman Empire and based on a code rather than case law; the predominant system of law in the nations of continental Europe and the nations that were once their colonies

Criminal Law

law that defines and governs actions that constitutes crimes. Generally, criminal law has to do with wrongful actions committed against society for which society demands redress.

National Law

law that pertains to a particular nation

International Law

the law that governs relations among nations. National laws, customs, treaties, and international conferences and organizations are generally considered to be the most important sources of international law

Judicial Review

the process by which a court decides on the constitutionally of legislative enactments and actions of the executive branch

Jurisdiction

The authority of a court to hear and decide a specific case

Long Arm Statute

A state statute that permits a state to obtain personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants. A defendant must have a certain "minimum contacts" with that state for statute to apply

Probate Court

a state court of limited jurisdiction that conducts proceedings relating to the settlement of a deceased person's estate

Bankruptcy Court

a federal court of limited jurisdiction that handles only bankruptcy proceedings, which are governed by federal bankruptcy law

Federal Question

a question that pertains to the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, or treaties. A federal question provides a basis for federal jurisdiction

Diversity of Citizenship

for federal district court jurisdiction over a lawsuit between (1) citizens of a different states (2) a foreign country and citizens of a state or of a different states, or (3) citizens of a state and citizens or subjects of a foreign country. The amount in controversy must be more than 75,000 before a federal district court can take jurisdiction in such cases

Concurrent Jurisdiction

jurisdiction that exists when a case can be heard only in a particular court or type of court

Exclusive Jurisdiction

jurisdiction that exists when a case can be heard only in a particular court or type of court

Docket

the list of cases entered on a court's calendar and thus scheduled to be heard by the court

Venue

the geographic district in which a legal action is tried and from which the jury is selected

Standing to Sue

the requirement that anindividual must have a sufficient stake in a controversy before he or she can bring a lawsuit. The plaintiff must demonstrate that he or she has been either injured or threatened with injury

Justiciable Controversy

a controversy that is not hypothetical or academic but real and substantial; a requirement that must be satisfied before a court will hear a case

Small Claims Court

a special court in which parties may litigate small claims such as 5,000 or less. Attorneys are not required in small claims courts and, in some states, are not allowed to represent the parties

Question of Fact

in a lawsuit, an issue that involves only disputed facts, and not what the law is on a given point. Questions of fact are decided by the jury in a jury trial

Writ of Certiorari

a writ from a higher court asking the lower court for the record of a case

Rule of Four

a role of the United States Supreme Court under which the court will not issue a writ of certiorari unless at least four justices approve of the decision to issue the writ

Litigation

the process of resolving a dispute through the court system

Pleadings

statements made by the plaintiff and the defendant in a lawsuit that detail the facts, charges, and defenses involved in the litigation

Complaint

the pleading made by a plaintiff alleging wrongdoing on the part of the defendant; the document that, when filed with a court, initiates a lawsuit

Summons

a document informing a defendant that a legal action has been commenced against him or her and that the defendant must appear in court on a certain date to answer the plaintiff's complaint. The document that, when filed with a court, initiates a lawsuit

Default Judgement

a judgment entered by a court against a defendant who has failed to appear in court to answer or defend against the plaintiff's claim

Answer

procedurally, a defendant's response to the plaintiff's complaint

Counterclaim

a claim made by a defendant in a civil lawsuit against the plaintiff

Reply

Procedurally, a plaintiff's response to a defendant's answer

Motion to Dismiss

a pleading in which a defendant asserts that the plaintiff's claim fails to state a cause of action or that there are other grounds on which a suit should be dismissed. Although the defendant normally is the party requesting a dismissal, either the plaintiff or the court can also make a motion to dismiss the case

Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

a motion by either party to a lawsuit at the close of the pleadings requesting the court to decide the issue solely on the pleadings without proceeding to trial. The motion will be granted only if no facts are in dispute

Motion for Summary Judgment

a motion requesting the court enter a judgment without proceeding to trial

Discovery

a phase in the litigation process during which the opposing parties may obtain information from each other and from the third parties prior to trial

Deposition

the testimony of a party to a lawsuit or a witness taken under oath

Interrogatories

a series of written questions for which written answers are prepared by a party to a lawsuit, usually with the assistance of the party's attorney, and the signed under oath

E-Evidence

evidence that consists of computer generated or electronically recorded information, including e-mail, voice mail, spreadsheets, word-processing documents, and other data

Voir Dire

old French phrase meaning "to speak the truth" in legal language, the phrase refers to the process in which the attorneys question prospective jurors to learn about their backgrounds, attitudes, biases, and other characteristics that may affect their ability to serve as impartial jurors

Motion for Directed Verdict

in a jury trial, a motion for the judge to take the decision out of the hands of the jury and to direct a verdict for the party who filed the motion on the ground that the other party has not produced sufficient evidence to support her or his claim

Award

in litigation, the amount of monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit as damages. In the context of alternative dispute resolution the decision rendered by an arbitrator

Motion for Judgment N.O.V.

a motion requesting the court to grant judgment in favor of the party making the motion on the ground that jury's verdict against him or her was unreasonable and erroneous

Brief

a formal legal document prepared by a party's attorney and submitted to an appellate court when a case is appealed. The appellant's brief outlines the facts and issues of the case, the judge's rulings or jury's finding that should be reversed or modified, the applicable law, and the arguments on the client's behalf

Alternative Dispute Resolution

resolution of disputes in ways other than those involved in the traditional judicial process

Negotiation

a process in which parties attempt to settle their dispute informally, with or without attorneys to represent them

Mediation

a method of settling disputes outside of court by using the services of a neutral third party, who acts as a communicating agent between the parties and assists them in negotiating a settlement

Arbitration

the settling of a dispute by submitting it to a disinterested third party (other than a court), who renders a decision that is (most often) legally binding

Arbitration Clause

a clause in a contract that provides that, in the event of a dispute, the parties will submit the dispute to arbitration rather than litigate the dispute in court

Summary Jury Trial

a method of settling disputes, used in many federal courts, in which a trial is held, but the jury's verdict is not binding. The verdict acts only as a guide to both sides in reaching an agreement during the mandatory negotiations that immediately follow the summary jury trial

Online Dispute Resolution

the resolution of disputes with the assistance of organization that offer dispute-resolution services via the internet

Ethics

moral principles and values applied to social behavior

Business Ethics

Ethics in business context; a consensus as to what constitutes right from wrong behavior in the world of business and the application of moral principles to situations that arise in a business setting

Moral Minimum

the minimum degree of ethical behavior expected of a business firm, which is usually defined as compliance with the law

Stock Buyback

the purchase of shares of a company's own stock by that company on the open market

Stock Option

an agreement that grants the owner the opinion to buy a given number of shares of stock, usually within a set time period

Ethical Reasoning

a reasoning process in which an individual links his or her moral convictions or ethical standards to particular situation at hand

Categorical Imperative

a concept developed by philosopher Immanuel Kant as an ethical guideline for behavior. In deciding whether an action is right or wrong, or desirable or undesirable, a person should evaluate the action in terms of what would happen if everybody else in the same situation, or category, acted the same way

Principle of Rights

the principle that human beings have certain fundamental rights. Those who adhere to this "rights theory" believe that a key factor in determining whether a business decision is ethical is how that decision affects the rights of various groups. These groups include the firm's owners, its employees, the consumers of its products or services, its suppliers, the community in which it does business, and society as a whole

Utilitarianism

: an approach of ethical reasoning that evaluates behavior in light of the consequences of that behavior for those who will be affected by it rather than on the basis of any absolute ethical or moral values. In utilitarian reasoning , a "good" decision is one that results in the greatest good for the greatest number of people affected by the decision

Cost-Benefit Analysis

a decision making technique that involves weighing the costs of a given action against the benefits of that action

Corporate Social Responsibility

the idea that corporations can and should act ethically and be accountable to society for their actions

Public Law

relationship between members of society and government

Private Law

relationship between member of society (Contract Law, property Law, Corporation Law)

Judicial Immunity

you can't sue a judge's ruling

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