1- Explain the U.S legal system and how it differs from other world legal system?
The difference with the US legal system stems from the fact that the United States is essentially a common law country. This means that there is no statutory basis for most decisions and what are used are judicial precedents. While there are statutes and laws, there are certain areas of American law that are not covered such as torts, property and contracts, which are traditionally part of common law. This is different from other world systems which follow the civil law approach that bases rulings on statutes.
2- What is the historical background of the U.S legal system?
The US legal system was adopted from the English common law system. This was the English system which was implemented during the revolutionary war. This evolved over the years, however, making the United States Constitution the supreme law of the land. It also allows for international law and treaties by parties. There is also a federal system which has different laws all respecting the Constitution.
3- Does the law change to adapt to new societal circumstances? Please give example
Yes, the law is able to adapt to new societal circumstances because it is a common law system. Since the courts in the United States are both courts of law and courts of equity, when certain circumstances arise, the courts are allowed not bound by statute and are free to adjust to the circumstances.
One such example is the traditional stand that the Supreme Court has with abortion, which was allowed by the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade but has been limited in further cases due to societal pressure and changes. In this case, it was shown that while the right to abortion was previously allowed, certain circumstances had to be considered to add limits to the exercise of such right.
4- Does the law seek predictability so that ordinary people can plan their lives?
The law does not seek predictability instead it seeks to instill consistency. There should be more consistency than predictability. The courts should always seek to uphold the laws of the land and the constitution of the United States. It should not be that people expect the courts to always decide the same way but that the courts are able to adjust in certain circumstances.
5- Can legal liability occur in spite of one diligence to avoid liability? Explain
Yes. The law allows for a legal liability to attach despite the diligence of one person to avoid said liability. One such example is the vicarious or subsidiary liability that the courts allow for torts and damages. The reason for this is that once the law has been broken and damage has been done there must be recompense and restitution. Therefore, one can be held legally liable such as in the case of corporate officers for certain acts that affect the general public.
6- Define or explain briefly the following terms:
precedent: also known as jurisprudence, this refers to the body of law that is used as the legal basis for court decisions
Legal ethics (describe generally and give an example of an ethical rule applying to lawyers): this refers to the body of laws and guidelines that are meant to preserve the integrity of the legal profession and the judiciary. One such rule is the requirement that at all times lawyers are supposed to uphold the laws of the land and not take on suits which they know to be malicious C: the branch of law that deals with property relations and other such matters that do not fall under criminal law.
criminal law: the branch of law that deals with the guilt or innocence of an accused in criminal cases wherein a person commits a crime as defined under the law sources of law: the main source of law is the Constitution. This is supplemented by statutes, treaties, and federal laws.
Frank Kafka (please explain his theory of types of juries (i.e grand and petit)
A petit jury is an ordinary jury composed of twelve people who is tasked to ascertain the truth behind facts while a grand jury is that whose duty is to return an indictment. This is also considered as a jury that hears the evidence at trial and determines the facts.
legal realism: this refers to the body of theories concerning the nature of law that posits that all law is made by human beings and as such is subject to human imperfections and errors popular will: is the will of the majority or of the people to decide certain principles under the law, while this is left to the courts, the popular will is often resorted to in cases of unique controversy official discretion: is the power of the courts to disregard or admit certain actions that are not sanctioned by proper procedure and is line with the power of the courts to adjudge as courts of equity adversary process (how the adversary system works):
this is the process in courts by which facts are proven and the truth regarding a matter is ascertained. This involves the defense and the prosecution in criminal cases and the plaintiff and the defendant in civil cases lawyers: agents of the court tasked with either defending or prosecuting law enforcement and monopoly on the use of force: agency tasked with carrying out certain legal orders and ensuring that the laws are carried out faithfully Jury nullification: when the jury makes an official rule void.
It nullifies the law regardless of the weight of the evidence presented Alternative Dispute Resolution: the mode of settling disputes that does not seek recourse from the courts of all Mediation: a mode of alternative dispute resolution that allows parties to talk with each other to reach a resolution or amicable settlement Arbitration: when the case is submitted to an independent arbitrator not an officer of the court to mediate or adjust between the parties recent legal development(s) (describe two): one recent development is the tort reform law which calls for a reduction in frivolous lawsuits that clogs the dockets of the court.
Another recent development is the ruling of the court on religious freedom and expression. The new rule is in the case of Guinn v Church of Christ.