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Law is powerful
• Affects all people, from CEO’s to children
• Affects most of life, from work to leisure
Law is important
◙ Virtually all known civilizations throughout history
have had some kind of law.
◙ But which is more important -- written law or the
people who enforce it?
Law is fascinating
◙ Complex, but never just theoretical
◙ Televised trials often draw a large audience
Origins of Our Law -- Many Sources
◙ Inherited much from British law.
◙ Founding Fathers created a multi-level
government which guaranteed citizens’ rights.
◙ Accumulation of precedent in legal cases makes
up the common law.
◙ Statutes are passed by legislative body.
◙ Substantive rules state parties’ rights.
◙ Procedural rules determine how courts should
Sources of Our Law Today
United States Constitution -- Law of the
• Establishes Congress, the Presidency and Courts
• Gives to states powers not given to Federal gov’t
• Guarantees basic rights to all citizens
• Create state executive, legislative & judicial systems
Statutes – laws passed by federal & state
Sources of Our Law Today (cont’d)
Common Law -- established by precedent,
or earlier cases decided by courts
◙ Equity – courts may issue rulings such as
injunctions to provide an equitable remedy
◙ Administrative Law -- created by agencies
◙ Other – treaties and executive orders
Classifications of Law
◙ Dangerous behavior
outlawed by society
◙ Regulates rights and
duties of parties
◙ Victim, not govern-
ment brings suit
◙ Guilt is determined
◙ Guilt not determined
◙ Punishment or fine is
◙ Compensation is
Classifications of Law (cont’d)
◙ Defines the rights of
◙ Establishes processes
◙ Sets the duties of
government to its
for settling disputes
◙ Regulates duties
Law and Morality
violates most people’s moral standards today.
moral standards and the law.
standards, but is not mandated by the law.
Jurisprudence, or “What is Law?”
“Law is what the sovereign says it is.”
Decisions stand, regardless of morality.
“An unjust law is no law at all and
need not be obeyed.”
Laws must have a good moral basis.
“Enforcement of the law is more
important than the law itself.”
Enforcers determine if the law is
applied in a fair and consistent way.
who is suing
to find the case
in a law library
QUIGLEY v. FIRST
CHURCH OF CHRIST,
65 Cal. App. 4th 1027, 76 Cal.
Rptr. 2d 792, 1998 Cal. App.
California Court of Appeal, 1998
Where and when
the case was
Facts: Gayle Quigley and James Wantland
had divorced. They had joint custody of
their 12-year-old son, Andrew, who lived
with his father. James was a member of the
Christian Science church,
a religion that
regards disease as an “error of the mind”
and discourages the use of traditional
medicine. Members of the faith…
Issue: Did the defendants
have a duty to
summon medical help for Andrew?
Excerpts from Judge Bedsworth’s
Decision: [The judge began by
mentioning an earlier California
which the state’s highestdecision
one person generally hascalled
another from harm, unless
relationship between the two, such as
custody or control... rationale
“We depend upon the law to give us
a stable nation and economy, a fair
society, a safe place to live and work.
…But while law is a vital tool for
crafting the society we want, there
are no easy answers about how to
...Legal rules control us,
yet we create them.”