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The Architect and the

ADT512 – Architectural Laws
and Standards


and is aimed at preserving the fabric of society.THE LAW Sources of Law The United States’ judicial system developed originally from English common law. It is embodied in: • Federal and State constitutions • Statutes • Common law • Regulations of administrative agencies .

political processes. and limitations on the use of power by a state in the U. State Constitution is a document that lays down governmental structure.S.Federal and State Constitutions The Constitution is the highest source of US law and neither judge nor legislature may ignore or contravene its principles. .

neither level of government has the ability to infringe on the rights of the other level of government. Federalism is a political system in which the national government and the smaller governments (states or provinces) each have their own powers that are specified by the constitution.  . In such a system.Federal and State Constitutions A federal constitution is one which sets up a system of federalism within a country.

.Statutes Statutes are written laws officially passed by federal and state legislatures. and can vary throughout the country on the same subject (for example. professional licensure). whereas state laws are only relevant to the state in which they are passed. Federal laws apply nationally.

Common Law The body of law based on court decisions. . customs and practices rather than on statutes. This enables the common law to grow and adapt according to the changing values and needs of society. thereby creating a new precedent. The principle of stare decisis (to stand by past decisions) is not a completely rigid concept: a judge may distinguish a new case from its predecessors in certain circumstances.

.Regulations of Administrative Agencies Administrative agencies are often empowered to make and enforce regulations which have the force of law.

if an owner avoids payment on the basis of a legitimate contractual technicality. .Equity The concept of equity allows for additional procedures and remedies to be granted in court proceedings. It provides a measure of fairness not always available under rigid statute or common law. the architect might claim based on the principle of unjust enrichment. For example.

Classification of Law Law pertaining to the practice of architecture can be classified into four basic categories: • Criminal law • Civil law • Civil rights law • Administrative law .

Some states prohibit professional licensing for individuals with a criminal record.g. theft. . murder. etc. Lesser crimes are called misdemeanors.).Criminal Law Acts committed against society or the public good by individuals which are proscribed by federal or state laws are generally classified as crimes (e.. whereas more serious offenses are known as felonies.

Civil Law Civil law is private law dealing with the rights and obligations of individuals and corporations in their dealings with each other. Areas covered under this category include: • • • • • Succession Family Law Contract Property Tor .