The concept that no one is above the law, and that no one can be convicted of breaking the law except as the law provides. From the highest official to the lowliest members of society, all are subject to the same laws.
A legally enforceable promise or set of promises.
Breach of Contract
A failure to fulfill contractual obligations.
A civil wrong other than breach of contract for which the law provides a remedy.
An unintentional violation of a legal duty to use a standard of care.
A legal system of court-made law where the rules are derived from previous decided cases, called precedents.
The legal doctrine that requires courts to follow previous decisions, or precedents; the doctrine of common law.
Doctrine that courts determine the constitutionality of statutes.
Cause of Action
A stated set of facts giving rise to a valid lawsuit.
The party which files a lawsuit against another party.
The person against whom a lawsuit is filed.
Four Philosophical Schools of Law
Natural Law, Positivist, Traditional (Historical), Legal Realist
Natural Law School
The theory that law comes from unchangeable principles evident from nature or inspired by God.
EX: Declaration of Independence
The theory that the government's rules are supreme.
EX: The definition of law
Traditional (Historical) School
Law which has worked in the past is best suited to shape present law.
Legal Realist School
There is no uniform way to interpret the law; result oriented, considering the impact on the parties and society; many are semantic realists.
EX: Holmes: the constitution is what the judges say it is.
Natural Law School Problem in Application
Whose version of self-evident law do you use?
Positivist School Problem in Application
Are government atrocities acceptable?
Legal Realists/Traditional Schools Problems in Application
Should the constitution be what it says it is, should judges control, or should the precedent itself control?
United States Constitution
The supreme law of the land; supremacy clause.
Statutes and Treaties
Acts of Congress and treaties entered by the President and approved by the Senate.
Laws adopted by administrative agencies.
Four Sources of State Law by Priority
Constitution of the state
Statutes adopted by the legislature
Case Law (Common Law)
Court-made law; the law established by courts particularly in the areas of contract and tort law; case law is overruled by a contrary statute ordinance or rule unless the law involved is ruled unconstitutional.
Two Types of Persuasive Authority
Uniform Codes and Restatements
Statutory schemes compiled by experts to be adopted by state legislatures to help insure consistency of the law in all the states.
EX: Uniform Commercial Code; Uniform Probate Code
Common law schemes compiled by experts to influence courts and encourage nationwide consistency.
EX: Restatement of Contracts; Restatement of Torts
Units of the executive branch regulating a certain area.
An agency designed to be free from the direct authority of the president or governor.
EX: Federal Trade Commission; Securities Exchange Committee
An agency whose head id directly subject to the president.
EX: IRS; EPA
Makes binding rules.
Involves wrongs against society punished by the state through prosecution.
Involves wrongs against persons or entities enforced by lawsuits to obtain money or other remedies.
Defines rights and duties.
Defines the method or process by which violations or rights or duties will be enforced.
Law adopted by a legislative body.
EX: Acts of Congress (statutes); acts of legislature; municipal ordinances
Law created by court decision.
EX: Adoption of comparative fault
Origins of Common Law Courts
A uniform set of laws derived from following precedents in England.
Origins of Equity of Courts
Created by the king because people whose problems could not be solved by the common law suits would petition the king.
Common Law Today
Sue for money damages or return of property; right to a jury trial to determine facts in quesiton.
Sue for a court order compelling an act or a change in status; a judge determines the facts in question; now filed in the same courts and are heard by the same judges as common law suits.
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