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Sources of Law and the Court Structure

Suppose a court has to decide whether an employer can fire an employee without cause. Suppose there were no laws that applied to the facts: there was no contract between the employer and the employee, but the employee had worked for the employer for many years, and now a younger person was replacing him. The court should decide, without prior guidelines, whether the employee has raised a “cause of action” against the employer. If the court decides that the case is not legally enforceable, it will dismiss the claim. Future courts would then treat similar cases in the same way. In this lawsuit, the court could find that employers can fire employees for any reason or no reason. This rule could be applied in the future if similar cases occurred. Legislative history: If the wording is ambiguous, courts often review the history of the law, if available. As explained above, laws are usually discussed before they are passed; These debates are often recorded. Reports of committees and subcommittees are included in the legislative history. Recent legislative history is readily available at the federal level; At the state level, however, it can be quite sparse. Constitutions define how governments are to be organized and the power and responsibilities of those governments.

Constitutions can also be used to protect individual freedoms. For example, in the Federal Constitution, the first 3 articles are devoted to determining the structure and scope of the federal government, while the first 10 amendments (the “Bill of Rights”) are primarily devoted to the protection of individual freedoms. Since a constitution is the blueprint for the entire government, everything the government does must conform to the constitution. If an action taken by a section of government is inconsistent with the Constitution, it is deemed “unconstitutional” and must be repealed. Procedural participation should follow substantial participation. The procedural statement deals with what the court has done with the case procedurally. This may include setting aside the judgment of the lower court, upholding the judgment of the lower court, or adjusting a judgment imposed by the lower court. This book discusses litigation in detail in Chapter 2, “The Legal System in the United States.” Finally, but still decisive for the case brief, reasoning is reasoning.

The reasoning deals with the reasoning of judges when deciding the case. Justifications may establish guidelines that are not technically jurisprudence, but may still serve as precedents in some cases. The federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases involving personal, commercial, or agricultural bankruptcy. This means that a bankruptcy case cannot be filed in state court. In bankruptcy proceedings, individuals or companies that can no longer pay their creditors can either apply for the compulsory liquidation of their assets or reorganize their financial affairs and draw up a plan for the settlement of their debts. U.S. law derives primarily from the English common law tradition. When the American colonies of England revolted in 1776, English common law traditions were well established in the colonial courts.

English common law was a system that gave the force of law to written judicial decisions throughout the country. So if an English court gives an opinion on what constitutes the common law crime of burglary, other courts would uphold that decision, so that a common law develops throughout the country. The common law is essentially an abbreviation for the idea that a common body of law based on previous written decisions is desirable and necessary. A precedent is usually an appeal rather than a trial. There is often more than one appellate body, so some appeals come from higher courts than others. This book discusses the judicial system, including appellate courts, in Chapter 2, “The Legal System in the United States.” Constitutions, laws, regulations, treaties and court decisions may provide a legal basis in positive law. You may believe that you have been wronged, but in order for you to have an enforceable right in court, you must have something in the positive law that you can indicate that supports a cause of action against the defendant you have chosen. In the old England, before the colonization of the United States, jurisdiction was the most widespread source of law. This contrasted with countries that followed the Roman legal system, which was based mainly on written codes of conduct promulgated by the legislator. Case law in England was entangled in local tradition and customs.

The social principles of law and justice were the guiding principles when the courts announced their judgments. In an effort to ensure consistency, it is the policy of English judges to follow previous judicial decisions, creating for the first time a unified legal system across the country. Case law was called common law because it was common to the entire nation (Duhaime, L., 2010). The courts decide what really happened and what to do about it. They decide whether a person has committed a crime and what the penalty should be.