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Chapter 1 Legal Systems

Maxims - Underlying principles of dispute resolution that reflect societys attitude. These can be law and/or public policy in codified form, but are often unstated.

Legal system
State court system
Trial court Appellate courts

Civil cases Commercial cases

Criminal cases

Probate cases
Family cases Domestic matters

Legal system
Federal court operates in every state (some states have several federal districts) to hear:
Disputes between citizens of different states Matters of federal law or U.S. constitution Bankruptcy, copyright, or admiralty cases 11 circuit courts oversee district courts Supreme court over all circuits

Legal system
Federal courts continued tax cases and claims against the government are handled by a special district court Administrative agencies have their own U.S. circuit court for appeals of rulings and decisions

Legal system
Definitions
Jurisdiction- which court will render the decision Plaintiff- party bringing the suit (always the government in criminal cases) Defendant- alleged wrong doer Pleadings- facts and basis for the claim Discovery- interrogatories and depositions of witnesses and review of written evidence

Maxims (contd.)
Mistakes are fixed, not exploited Remedy is a right of the wronged Liability is assigned to those responsible Clean hands doctrine- act fairly Reasonableness standard (no impossibilities) Efficiency is valued, waste is not

Maxims (contd.)
Substance is preferred over form Benefit and burden are co assigned Rule must have a reason Rule and Reason should be uniformly applied Idle or useless acts are not required

Common Law System


Used by the U.S., Britain and former colonies Basis for future interpretations provided by:
Case Law Precedent Judges rulings

US-Multijurisdictional Law
50 States, Municipalities, Counties, etc. Jury System Adversarial system of discovery Competition for the truth

Other Systems
Civil Law
Used in France, Germany, most of Europe, Japan Heavily codified and lots of regulation

Islamic Law
Used in about 70 countries Directed by the teachings of the Koran

Legislative Branch
Makes laws and passes statutes Statutes aggregated into codes
Building codes, commercial code, etc.

Executive Branch
Enforcement, policing, and implementation of statutes. Runs prisons, police, FBI, etc.

Administrative agencies
Handles complex codes Assists legislative and executive offices Examples are IRS, EEOC, DOT Have hearings and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Judicial Branch
Criminal and civil systems Jurisdiction a recognized legal activity Also determines who decides

Types of Law
Constitutional Law: Core principles Statutes: Passed by legislature Administrative Regulations: Adopted by agencies Case Law: Established by precedence

Issues of Fact vs. Law


Issues of Fact
Discovery and testimony Parties cannot agree Most important part of a claim

Issues of Law
Judges and arbitrators interpret law

Criminal vs. Civil Law


Criminal Law
Prevent and punish crimes Government always the prosecutor

Civil Law
Rights and duties of individuals towards one another Damages awarded, not punishment (except for torts)

Contract vs. Tort


Contract
Voluntary duties Promise for performance and payment

Tort
Duties imposed by law Reasonableness standard Implicit duties McDonalds coffee example

Application & Logic


Rules are consistent with social norms
someone pays everything costs there will be free riders rules need interpretation (justice) denial is expected evidence can lead to truth (Western ideal) law is socially evolving

Application & Logic


Rules and social norms cont.
system must render a decision (no ties) fact are evidence are the basis of justice assumptions are irrelevant evidence is weighted (2 sides tell stories) cost follows benefit winning is the goal protection of individual (U.S. most individual)

Logic of Legal Argument


Argument- structure of the facts which leads to irrefutable conclusion Argument is only true when premises are proved Premises used to frame issue and draw conclusion Issues can be legal, social, ethical, technical, etc.

Logic cont.
Issues requires resolution
Premise 1 (requires support) Premise 2 (requires support Premise p (requires support) Irrefutable conclusion- short and clear guilty Proving the premise is the key to winning the argument

Legal arguments and briefs


Components of legal arguments
Facts (most important part) Issues (question under consideration) Rules (laws, constitution, statute, precedent) Premises (simple premise, implied premise) Answer (logical deduction from premises)

Legal arguments and briefs


Process of building a legal argument
determine the issue outline the facts (discovery) research rules and laws prepare premises by applying facts to issue draw conclusion test conclusion (is opposite answer obviously wrong, are premises clear, is the rule right)

Legal arguments and briefs


Hints
make sure facts are relevant and logic is sound or the argument will not stand get to the point start sentences with nouns simplify sentences and write clearly organize argument along FIRPA framework

Legal briefs
Name of case and parties involved Procedural posture (where is it?) FIRPA argument Disposition (remand, uphold, overrule,etc.)

Law Ethics and Morality


International ethics is very complicated
Foreign Corrupt Practice Act- illegal to bribe foreign officials, but bribes can be hard to define Extraterritoriality- laws in one country are applied to citizens of another Home and Host- companies must obey the laws of the home country and the laws of the host countrycan cause conflicts Western ethics value the individual and their role in promoting the good society more than most other cultures