1.Stare Decisis-Courts should rule the way they did in previous cases. Stare Decisis (“to stand on decided cases”) – judge-made law – interpretations by judges serve as a legal precedent – similar cases provides authority for judges to rule in similar manner.Case law from higher courts is binding authority (judges must follow unless an exception can be found – departures from precedent).When there is no precedent (cases of first impression) – judges will rely upon persuasive authorities from other jurisdictions, or public policy of the government based upon existing societal values.2.Common Law-The common law comprises the legal principles, as articulated by the courts, that derive from ancient custom in England. A body of general rules that prescribed social conducts & applied throughout entire English realm. Common law has continued the tradition of establishing rules of law from court decisions.3. Legal Precedent-Legal Precedent is a court decision that is cited as an example or analogy to resolve similar questions of law in later cases.Similar cases provide authority for judges to rule in similar manner.4. Judges influence over the law-Judicial Interpretation of the Law. Due to our common law tradition, judges play paramount role in the American legal system.Judges do have some flexibility in interpreting the law, but are bound by prior decisions dealing with similar issues, facts, and applicable laws.5. Positive Law-Positive law is generally considered a law which creates new rights. Contrast this withnatural lawwhich are inherent rights, not conferred by act of legislation.The Positivist School(positive law) – there is no higher law than a nations positive (current) law, whether a law is “bad” or “good” is irrelevant (the law is the law).6. Natural Law- Natural law is defined as a statement that expresses generally observed behavior. A system of moral and ethical principles that are inherent in human nature and that people can discover through the use of their natural intelligence. The idea that people have “natural rights” stems from the natural law tradition. The concept of natural rights has been questioned concerning doing business in another country that does not provide such rights.
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