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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
settle disputes.
Sources of Our Law Today
◙
United States Constitution -- Law of the
Land
• Establishes Congress, the Presidency and Courts
• Gives to states powers not given to Federal gov’t
• Guarantees basic rights to all citizens
◙
State Constitutions
• Create state executive, legislative & judicial systems
◙
Statutes – laws passed by federal & state
governments
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
Criminal Law
◙ Dangerous behavior
outlawed by society
◙ Government
prosecutes accused
vs.
Civil Law
◙ Regulates rights and
duties of parties
◙ Victim, not govern-
ment brings suit
◙ Guilt is determined
◙ Guilt not determined
◙ Punishment or fine is
◙ Compensation is
imposed
ordered
Classifications of Law (cont’d)
Substantive Law
◙ Defines the rights of
vs.
◙ Establishes processes
the people
Public Law
◙ Sets the duties of
government to its
citizens
Procedural Law
for settling disputes
vs.
Private Law
◙ Regulates duties
between individuals
Law and Morality
Actions
may beinlegal,
but immoral
to some
Owning slaves
Colonial
America was
legal, but
this
violates most people’s moral standards today.
people.
Actions
may is
beboth
required
by both
Drunk
driving
immoral
and illegal.
LAW
moral standards and the law.
Helping
hurtbeperson
required
by moral
Actions amay
moral,isbut
not required
by law.
standards, but is not mandated by the law.
MORALITY
Jurisprudence, or “What is Law?”
Legal Positivism
“Law is what the sovereign says it is.”
Decisions stand, regardless of morality.
Natural Law
“An unjust law is no law at all and
need not be obeyed.”
Laws must have a good moral basis.
Legal Realism
“Enforcement of the law is more
important than the law itself.”
Enforcers determine if the law is
applied in a fair and consistent way.
PLAINTIFF:
the party
who is suing
DEFENDANT:
the party
being sued
LEGAL
CITATION: where
to find the case
in a law library
Case Analysis
QUIGLEY v. FIRST
CHURCH OF CHRIST,
SCIENTIST
65 Cal. App. 4th 1027, 76 Cal.
Rptr. 2d 792, 1998 Cal. App.
LEXIS 677
California Court of Appeal, 1998
Where and when
the case was
decided.
Facts: Gayle Quigley and James Wantland
had divorced. They had joint custody of
FACTS:
their 12-year-old son, Andrew, who lived
background
with his father. James was a member of the
information on
Christian Science church,
a religion that
the case
regards disease as an “error of the mind”
and discourages the use of traditional
ISSUE: the
medicine. Members of the faith…
question being
decided
Issue: Did the defendants
have a duty to
summon medical help for Andrew?
Excerpts from Judge Bedsworth’s
Decision: [The judge began by
EXERPTS:
mentioning an earlier California
case,the
in
-- that
also
which the state’s highestdecision
court ruled
the
one person generally hascalled
no duty
to protect
holding
another from harm, unless
there is--aand
special
the
court’s
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
create it.
...Legal rules control us,
yet we create them.”