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laws are often thought of as what
-rules and principles used by courts to decide controversies
-3 groups: legislative laws, judicial pronouncements, procedural law
-create rights, duties, and privileges consistent with public policy at time of enactment
-affect rights and responsibilities of individuals/businesses
-ex. legislative acts and judicial pronouncements
classification of legal subjects
-public law v. private law
-public includes cases involving a legislative body as a party or as the adminstrator of a legal process
-constitutional, administrative, and criminal law
-private is where an injured party seeks to recover for an injury from the party causing the injury
-contracts, torts, and property [real, personal, and
sources of law
-court decisions: under Common Law, rules and analytical methods used by judges became Law
-contrastingly, Civil Law [Europe] involves codified, or written down, laws
what is the basis for the legal system in the US
-US and State Constitutions
-constitutions prevail over statutes, statues over judicial decisions (common law)
what are state constitutions modeled on
-divide gov't into 3 co-equal branches for checks and balances
-power to review the actions of other branches and set them aside if violation of the Constitution
what is legislation
-acts/orders of legislative bodies like Congress, state legislatures, city/county councils
-compilations of actions are called codes
-interpretation may include legislative history
doctrines to construe laws
-criminal/taxing laws narrowly construed
-remedial statues construed broadly
-uniform state laws: helps interaction between states; enacted by federal gov't or the NCCUSL
-NCCUSL: group of academics, lawyers, and judges
case law and precedents
-each interpretation of law may have value as a precedent which serves as an authority for deciding similar cases
-common law courts bound by precedent (stare decisis) unless a court decides it shouldn't be followed
-precedent is binding in the court it was established and the courts supervised by it; it is persuasive in all other courts
problems with case law
-not complied coherently
-law unknown at many times
-precedents may conflict and be cited by opposing parties
-rejection of precedent
rejection of precedent
-if a subsequent court finds a prior decision "palpably wrong" the court may overrule precedent and/or change it
conflict of laws
-state laws and precedents are specific to each state
-stare decisis does not require one State to recognize the rules/precedents of another
-some problems involve 2+ States
which state's laws apply when there is a conflict of 2+?
-substantive law of the appropriate state may be used in foreign jurisdiction, but the forum may use its procedural laws
-different approaches to thinking about the Law as a philosophical system exist
-natural law, legal positivism, historical school, and legal realism
-system of ethics and morals inherent in human nature
-is there a higher legal authority than the state?
-the only rights we have come from the State
-all laws must be obeyed as enacted
-there is no higher law
-views evolution of law through the historical origins and subsequent development of the laws
courts of law or equity?
-courts exist to provide remedies to injured parties
-remedy: allows a litigant to enforce or be compensated for an injury to a right or privilege
-may be legal or equitable, modern are both
legal and equitable remedies
-if the injured party can be made whole by receiving something of economic value, the remedy is a legal remedy [damages]
-if a remedy at law is inadequate, a litigant may seek a remedy in equity, which involves notions of fair dealing and justice
courts in equity
-called chancery courts
-examples of equitable remedies: injunctions, decrees, specific performance, rescission/reformation of a contract...
criminal v. civil law
-does public policy consider the wrong as one against society as a whole [murder, theft]=CRIMINAL or -against an individual [wrongful death, conversion, contract]=CIVIL
private v. public law
-is the dispute between private individuals [including a business]=PRIVATE or
-is the government or governmental agency involved=PUBLIC
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