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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.
Legal system

State court system

Trial court

Civil cases Criminal cases

Probate cases
cases cases Domestic
Legal system

Federal court operates in every state

(some states have several federal
districts) to hear:
Disputes between citizens of different states
Matters of federal law or U.S. constitution
Bankruptcy, copyright, or admiralty cases
11 circuit courts oversee district courts
Supreme court over all circuits
Legal system

Federal courts continued

tax cases and claims against the government
are handled by a special district court

Administrative agencies have their own U.S.

circuit court for appeals of rulings and
Legal system

Jurisdiction- which court will render the
Plaintiff- party bringing the suit (always the
government in criminal cases)
Defendant- alleged wrong doer
Pleadings- facts and basis for the claim
Discovery- interrogatories and depositions of
witnesses and review of written evidence
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
Application & Logic

Rules are consistent with social norms

someone pays
everything costs
there will be free riders
rules need interpretation (justice)
denial is expected
evidence can lead to truth (Western ideal)
law is socially evolving
Application & Logic

Rules and social norms cont.

system must render a decision (no ties)
fact are evidence are the basis of justice
assumptions are irrelevant
evidence is weighted (2 sides tell stories)
cost follows benefit
winning is the goal
protection of individual (U.S. most individual)
Logic of Legal Argument

Argument- structure of the facts which

leads to irrefutable conclusion
Argument is only true when premises are
Premises used to frame issue and draw
Issues can be legal, social, ethical,
technical, etc.
Logic cont.

Issues requires resolution

Premise 1 (requires support)
Premise 2 (requires support
Premise p (requires support)
Irrefutable conclusion- short and clear
Proving the premise is the key to winning the
Legal arguments and

Components of legal arguments

Facts (most important part)
Issues (question under consideration)
Rules (laws, constitution, statute, precedent)
Premises (simple premise, implied premise)
Answer (logical deduction from premises)
Legal arguments and

Process of building a legal argument

determine the issue
outline the facts (discovery)
research rules and laws
prepare premises by applying facts to issue
draw conclusion
test conclusion (is opposite answer obviously
wrong, are premises clear, is the rule right)
Legal arguments and

make sure facts are relevant and logic is
sound or the argument will not stand
get to the point
start sentences with nouns
simplify sentences and write clearly
organize argument along FIRPA framework
Legal briefs

Name of case and parties involved

Procedural posture (where is it?)
FIRPA argument
Disposition (remand, uphold,
Law Ethics and Morality

 International ethics is very complicated

Foreign Corrupt Practice Act- illegal to bribe foreign
officials, but bribes can be hard to define
Extraterritoriality- laws in one country are applied to
citizens of another
Home and Host- companies must obey the laws of
the home country and the laws of the host country-
can cause conflicts
Western ethics value the individual and their role in
promoting the “good society” more than most other