Chapter 1 Legal Systems

Chapter 1 Legal Systems
Maxims - Underlying principles of dispute
resolution that reflect society’s attitude.
These can be law and/or public policy in
codified form, but are often unstated.
Maxims (contd.)
Mistakes are fixed, not exploited
Remedy is a right of the wronged
Liability is assigned to those responsible
“Clean hands doctrine”- act fairly
Reasonableness standard (no
Efficiency is valued, waste is not
Maxims (contd.)
Substance is preferred over form
Benefit and burden are co assigned
Rule must have a reason
Rule and Reason should be uniformly
Idle or useless acts are not required
Common Law System
Used by the U.S., Britain and former
Basis for future interpretations provided
Case Law
Judge’s rulings
US-Multijurisdictional Law
50 States, Municipalities, Counties, etc.
Jury System
Adversarial system of discovery
Competition for the truth
Other Systems
Civil Law
Used in France, Germany, most of Europe,
Heavily codified and lots of regulation
Islamic Law
Used in about 70 countries
Directed by the teachings of the Koran
Legislative Branch
Makes laws and passes statutes
Statutes aggregated into codes
Building codes, commercial code, etc.
Executive Branch
Enforcement, policing, and
implementation of statutes.
Runs prisons, police, FBI, etc.
Administrative agencies
Handles complex codes
Assists legislative and executive offices
Examples are IRS, EEOC, DOT
Have hearings and dispute resolution
Judicial Branch
Criminal and civil systems
Jurisdiction a recognized legal activity
Also determines who decides
Types of Law
Constitutional Law: Core principles
Statutes: Passed by legislature
Administrative Regulations: Adopted by
Case Law: Established by precedence
Issues of Fact vs. Law
Issues of Fact
Discovery and testimony
Parties cannot agree
Most important part of a claim
Issues of Law
Judges and arbitrators interpret law
Criminal vs. Civil Law
Criminal Law
Prevent and punish crimes
Government always the prosecutor
Civil Law
Rights and duties of individuals towards one
Damages awarded, not punishment (except
for torts)
Contract vs. Tort
Voluntary duties
Promise for performance and payment
Duties imposed by law
Reasonableness standard
Implicit duties
McDonald’s coffee example