LEB Test Review Chapter 1: Nature and Sources of Law Primary sources of law : contain legally binding rules and procedures (Federal and state constitutions, statutes, admin agency regulations, court decisions) Secondary sources : summarize and explain law, sometimes criticize and suggest changes in it (Research articles in academic legal periodicals) Rule-oriented vs. process-oriented approach to law o Rule : views law as consisting of the rules that are in effect within a state or nation at a given time o Process : the processes by which the rules and principles are formulated (Rather than rules and principles themselves); those who emphasize contend that the ever-changing problems resulting from this activity and the ways in which the law attempts to solve them must receive primary emphasis if one is to gain a proper insight into the subject; “law is a dynamic process” Requisites of legal system – for legal system to function properly o Relatively certain: law will last over long periods of time o Relative flexible: law must be ready for tomorrow (technology/science advances, shifting moral views, ) o Known or knowable: citizens obey its laws voluntarily o Apparently reasonable: rules appear reasonable Common law vs. statutory law o Common law : all rules and principles currently existing in any state, regardless of their historical origin, that result from judicial decisions in those areas of law where legislatures have not enacted comprehensive statutes Case law, unwritten law, judge-made law o Statutory law : rules that have been formally adopted by legislative bodies rather than by the courts State and federal constitutions, municipal ordinances, even treaties; written law Corporation law, criminal law, and tax law primarily statutory Civil Law : all those laws that spell out rights and duties existing among individuals, business firms, and sometimes even government agencies o Plaintiffs vs. Defendants o Remedy: money (for damages) or injunction (court degree ordering the defendant to do or not to do some particular thing) Criminal Law : statues by which state or federal government prohibits specified kinds of conduct and additionally provide for the imposition of fines or imprisonment on persons convicted of violating them o Felonies (a crime for which legislature has provided max penalty of either imprisonment for more than one year or death) 1
o Misdemeanors (crimes carrying lesser penalties; i.e. traffic offenses) Wrongful acts can be of dual nature – criminal and civil Public law : are of law that is directly concerned with government- individual relationship o Criminal law, constitutional law, administrative law Private law : primarily concerned with creation and enforcement of the rights of one individual against another Tort : wrongful act; results in injury to person, property, reputation, etc.
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