Law, in any society, is to provide stability, predictability, and continuity so that people can know how to order their affairs.
*consists of enforceable rules governing relationships among individuals and between individuals and their society.
Types of Law
Constitutional Law (highest)
Administrative Law (rules and regulations)
Common Law (case law) (lowest)
Law expressed in federal and state constitutions that set forth the general organization, powers and limits of their respective governments.
Supreme law of the land. (Article VI)
Creates National government
10th amendment reserves all power not granted to the federal government to the states.
Supreme law within borders of the state.
Creates state governments.
Highest form of law within state.
Subject to, or subordinate to, the U.S. constitution
Statutory Law (Statutes)
Laws enacted by legislative bodies at any level of govn't.
Who creates statutes?
Congress and state legislatures.
What does a federal statute apply to?
*NO federal statute may violate the U.S. constitution
What does a state statute apply to?
applies only within the state's borders.
*NO state statute or local ordinance may violate the U.S. constitution or the relevant state constitution.
**ordinances - law, rules, orders dealing with city or county land use, safety codes, etc.
law, rules, orders dealing with city or county land use, safety codes, and other matters affecting the local community.
*Also can NOT violate U.S. or state constitutions.
Uniform Law (statutes)
Came about to make trade and commerce between states easier. A state can adopt (part or whole) or reject a uniform law or legislature may re-write the law however they wish. If adopted the law becomes part of state statutory law.
What is the Uniform Commercial Code? (statutes)
Most accepted uniform law. LA only state not to accept in full. It facilitates commerce among the states by providing a uniform, yet flexible, set of rules governing commercial transactions. Ensures businesses that their contracts will be enforced.
What is Administrative Law (statutes)
Consists of the rules, orders, and decisions of administrative agencies. Can have local, state, or federal agencies.
What are administrative law agencies functions?
Have rule making function
investigate and enforce those rules
and judge violations of those rules (judication)
Common Law (law or judge made laws)
The rules of law announced in court decisions, which include: interpretations of contitutional provisions, of statues enacted by legislatures, and of regulations created by administrative agencies.
Where did Common Law come from?
It dates back to 1066 when the Normans conquered England. William the conqueror set order to England. He established two courts: Courts at law and courts at equity, what came about in these courts was the beginning of common law.
What are the courts at law?
early English king's courts that decided questions of law that could be resolved with something of value - i.e. land, items of value, or money. These remedies are called the remedies of law.
What are the courts of equity?
courts that decided questions of law on what might be described as notions of justice and fairness, that seeks to supply remedy when no adequate remedy at law is available. most were decided by the chancellor, aka chancellors court.
Star(e) Decisis (common law)
the practice of deciding new cases with reference to former decisions, or precedents. Under this doctrine judges are obligated to follow precedents established within their jurisdictions.
What are the functions of Stare Decisis?
creates more justice and uniform system
makes law more stable and predictable
allows us to use lessons learned in the past (previous cases)
What is precedent?
A decision that that furnishes an example or authority for deciding subsequent cases involving identical or similar legal principles or facts.
What are the only departures from precedent?
Prior ruling is incorrect or because the precedent is outdated
EX: Brown vs. Board of Education 1954 - struck down seperate but equal rule - was relying on the precedent of Plessy vs. Ferguson - threw out 70 years of precedent b/c idea was outdated
What happened when there is no precedent?
This is called cases of first impression when there is no legal precedent available.
What are the factors used when court is faced with a case of first impression?
Persuasive authority from other jurisdictions
legal principles and policies from previous court decisions and statutes
looks at what is fair
social values and customs
public policy- in general whats good for society
social science date
is the reasoning process used by judges in deciding what law applies to a given dispute and then applying that law to the specific facts or circumstances of the case
What is the IRAC method of legal reasoning?
IRAC is an acronym formed which can be applied to a case.
Issue - What are the key facts and issues
Rule - what rules of law apply
Application - how do the rules apply to the particular facts of the case
Conclusion - what conclusion should be drawn
What are the different forms of legal reasoning?
Reasoning by analogy.
What is deductive reasoning?
sometimes called syllogistic reasoning-it employs a syllogism-a logical relationship involving major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.
What is linear reasoning?
proceeds from one point to another, with the final point being the conclusion.
logically connecting various points
What is reasoning by analogy?
is to compare the facts in the case at hand to the facts in previous cases and, to the extent that the patterns are similar, to apply the same rule of law to the present case.
Classification of law
numerous ways to classify laws
classifications are not mutually exclusive; they overlap
most common classification systems: substantial vs. procedural, public vs. private, civil vs. criminal, cyberlaw
consists of all laws that define, describe, regulate, and create legal rights and obligations.
tell you what your rights are
consists of all laws that delineate the methods of enforcing the rights established by substantive law.
the methods you use to go about forcing your substantive rights
Public vs. private
public-law that governs relationships between people and the government
private-laws that govern the relationships between people or businesses - NOT involving the government.
the rights and duties that exist between persons and their governments, as well as the relief available when a person's rights are violated.
burden of proof-who has the evidence needed to show the jury to win the case
concerned with wrongs committed against the public as a whole-a violation against the state
purpose-punishment (incarceration or fines)
burden of proof-beyond a reasonable doubt-about erasing reasonable doubt (toughest standard)
governs transactions conducted via the internet
cyber causes of action that occur on the internet-online defamation
What are the remedies available at law?
designed to compensate the plaintiff for the wrong things that's been done
actual damages-out of pocket costs: loss of time, loss of money, property damage
special damage-decided on by experts: pain and suffering, injury to rep., mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of earning capacity.
to punish in the pocket book-come in addition to compensatory damages
purpose is to punish wrongdoer.
very small, NOT satisfying to plaintiff
expectancy damages:given in breach of a contract case-look at value of contract and what plaintiff was expecting to get from it
market share liability-civil wrongs cases-bases who to sue on how much share of market the corp. owns.
Remedies in Equity
ONLY available IF legal remedies are inadequate
Types: specific performance, injunction, recission
Specific Performance remedy of equity
remedy that you see in breach of contract cases-order breaching party to perform what the contract says to do to get this remedy the subject of the contract must be UNIQUE (land,painting)
Injunction remedy of equity
court order directing someone to do or stop doing a specific act
temporary-prior to actual litigation-for short period of time until court has trial-timing depends on case
permanent-after litigation-after it has been proven permanent action is required
Recession remedy of equity
remedy that you see in breach of contract cases-an action to undo a contract-take partied back to position before contract-ex: fraud and want money back by undoing contract
Plaintiff (trial court)
Person who filed suit is listed first in case title
Defendant (trial court)
person being sued - listed second
Appellant (appellate court)
party appealing (files lawsuit)
Appellee (appellate court)
Party who won at trial and defends against the appeal
Petitioner (supreme court)
party appealing to supreme court- petition for review
Respondent (supreme court)
won at court of appeals level and defends against petition to Supreme court
federal or state district (trial) court in TX and Court of Criminal appeals
federal or state courts of appeals (except Court of Criminal Appeals) and supreme court
unanimous-all judges/justices agree-very high value of presidence
majority-agree on who wins and why they win w/ a majority of 3/5
Concurring opinion- concur w/ who winner is but disagree w/ reasons why
Dissenting-one judge disagrees on both who and why
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