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a body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by controlling authority and having binding legal force.
Functions of Law
- Keeping the peace
- Shaping moral standards
- Promoting social justice
-Maintaining the status quo
-facilitating orderly change
-facilitating planning
-providing a basis for compromise
-maximizing individual freedom
schools of jurisprudence
Natural Law School
think the law is based on "correctness".  believe in the moral theory of law:  law is based on ethics and morals.
Historical School
believe the law is an aggregate of social traditions and customs that have developed over the centuries.  It believes that changes in the norms of society will be reflected in the changes of law. 
Analytical school
- law is shaped by logic
- emphasize logic of the result of law rather than how the result is reached.
Sociological School
law is a means of achieving and advancing certain sociological goals.  REALISTS.  purpose of law is to shape social behavior.
Command School
believe that the law is a set of rules developed, communicated, and enforced by the ruling party rather than a reflection of the society's morality, history, logic, or sociology.
Critical Legal Studies School
believe legal rules are unnecessary and are used as an obstacle by the powerful to maintain the status quo.  legal disputes should be solved by applying arbitrary rules that are based on broad notions of what is fair
Law and Economics School or
"Chicago School"
believe that promoting market efficiency should be the central goal of legal decision making.
Common Laws
developed by judges who issued their opinions when deciding cases.  principles announde in these cases became precedent for later judges deciding similar cases.
Law Court
charged with the task of administering the law in a uniform manner.
Chancery Court
equity court
under the authority of the lord chancellor.  inquired into the merit of the case. 
Merchant Court
administered the law of merchants that were based on common trade practices and rules. 
written law enacted by the legislative branch of the federal and state governments that establishes certain courses of conduct that covered parties must adhere to.
laws enacted by local government bodies such as cities and municiplaities, counties, school districts, and water districts.
Administrative agencies
SEC and FTA.  established by the legislative, executive branches of state and federal law.
judicial decision
a decision about an individual lawsuit issued by a federal or state court.
a rule of law established in a court decision.  lower courts must follow the precedent established by higher courts.
doctrine of Stare Decisis
latin: to stand by the decision.  adherence to precedent.
Ethical Fundamentalism
a person looks for an outside source(laws) for ethical rules or commands.
Qui tam lawsuit
permits private parties to sue companies for fraud on behalf of the government
greatest good for society
kantian ethics
people owe moral duties that are based on universal rules.  "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Rawl's Social Justice theory
implied social contract.  fairness is justice. 
ethical relativism
decide what is ethical based on your own feelings.
limited jurisdiction trial court
hears: matters of specialized or limited nature.
small claims court
hears: civil cases involving small dollar amounts.
general jurisdiction trial court
hears: cases of general nature that are outside of limited-jurisdiction courts.  testimony and evidence is presented and recorded.  court of record.
intermediate appellate court, appellate court, court of appeals.
hears: appeals from trial court.
state supreme court
highest in state court system. 
hears: appeals from intermediate appellate state court and certain trial courts.
special federal courts
hear: matters of specialized or limited jurisdiction
U.S. District Court
trial court of general jurisdiction
U.S. Courts of Appeals
intermediate appellate courts.
Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
special appellate jurisdiction, review decisions of the Court of Federal Claims, the Patent and Trademark Office, and the Court of International trade.
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