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CO5119:03 Business Law SUBJECT MATERIALS >> SCHOOL OF LAW JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY BUSINESS LAW Module 1 - UNIT 1 The Nature, Role and Sources of Law OBJECTIVES: On completion of this Unit you should: have an understanding of what law is know where law comes from be able to identify the various branches of law understand the role of the courts know about the role and different types of lawyer STRUCTURE: 1.1 INTRODUCTION 1.2 WHAT IS LAW 1.2.1 The meaning of law 1.2.2 The qualities of good law 1.3 THE PURPOSES OF LAW 1.4 BRANCHES OF LAW 1.4.1 Generally 1.4.2 National and international Law 1.4.3 International Law and Business 1.5 SOURCES OF LAW 1.5.1 The Concept of Separation of Powers 1.5.2 Sources of law in Common Law Countries 1.5.3 Sources of law in Civil Law Countries 1.6 THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE LAW 1.6.1 Courts 1.6.1.1 Australian Courts: Common Law Courts in a Federal System 1.6.1.2 Diagram of the Australian Court Hierarchy 1.6.2 Lawyers 4
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CO5119:03 Business Law SUBJECT MATERIALS >> SCHOOL OF LAW JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY 1.1 Introduction In this module we will examine the nature, role and sources of law—both generally and by looking at examples from a number of different countries. In its widest sense, the word ‘law’ can mean different things to different people. For most of us it is one of the essential things that separates mankind from the animals—and it performs a range of roles in our society. It protects our lives, our property and our other rights and it provides us with an enforceable basis on which we can stop others taking those things from us. It is also the way in which community leaders can regulate the way in which the community operates for the common good. It allows anti-social behaviour to be made illegal and to be punished—and it can provide a means whereby someone who suffers a financial or physical injury can sue for and receive compensation. It also allows our business and other community dealings to be regulated so those dealings can occur in an orderly and fair way. It provides the means whereby property can pass from parents to children within a family. It allows governments to raise taxes to pay for goods and services needed by the community as a whole (education, police, defence, roads, railways, airports etc) and it allows those same governments to enter into binding treaties with other countries. It also provides a way for the people to control and regulate the way government performs its functions to ensure that its powers are not abused or misapplied. In short, law affects almost every aspect of our lives—both individually and collectively—and it does so every day and in many ways. Our major concern in this subject—and in the other business law subjects that you will study —is how law regulates business activity. However, to understand how the law regulates business it is necessary to understand what law is, who makes it and how it is administered.
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