Lobby groups may convince the sovereign body that

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lobby groups may convince the sovereign body that change is necessary or desirable and influence it to change the law; or, in extreme cases, the people may change the sovereign body to enable the change to take place. That can occur through elections or, in extreme cases, through revolution—as has occurred in a number of countries, including France, Russia and China, in the last 200 years. To gain community acceptance, laws must normally have a number of clearly distinctive qualities that make them acceptable to the majority of the people. There is some disagreement about what the complete list of those qualities should include but, as a minimum, they would include: (a) uniformity; (b) certainty; (c) flexibility; (d) fairness; and (e) accessibility. Uniformity. To be truly accepted, the law must apply uniformly to everyone, wherever they are in the country and whatever their status. In the English tradition this is reflected by the way in which justice is represented—by a blindfolded woman holding a set of scales. The scales represent the law weighing up the relative merits of the arguments of the two parties who have brought their dispute to court and the blindfold represents the impartiality of the law. An appellate system, which allows citizens who are unhappy with a particular decision of a court (because, perhaps, they believe that the law has not been applied to them in the same way that it has been applied to others) to appeal that decision to a higher court is a useful safeguard of both uniformity and fairness. Certainty. There can never be absolute certainty in the law—because the complete range of problems and disputes that can arise between people cannot be predicted. The law is therefore usually written as broad rules and statements of principle and the courts usually 7
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CO5119:03 Business Law SUBJECT MATERIALS >> SCHOOL OF LAW JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY have to consider individual disputes in terms of those broad rules and statements of principle —making appropriate allowance for the individual facts of each case. However, to the extent to which it is possible, it is important that people know what is expected of them in both their personal and business lives, so they can arrange their behaviour accordingly. Consequently, the criminal law is often very clearly defined so you know exactly what behaviour is regarded as criminal—and so you can avoid engaging in that behaviour. Similarly, governments try to make their taxation laws clear so people know exactly what their taxation liability will be if they take certain business decisions. Inheritance laws need to be clear and certain so families can plan what is to happen when senior members of the family die. Property laws need to be clear and certain so people know how they can prove ownership of property, and how they can validly sell, hire, lend or otherwise deal with their property in a lawful way. Contract laws needs to be clear and certain so both parties to a contract know exactly what their rights, duties and obligations are—and so it is with all other areas of the law.
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