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Flashcards in Law Deck (11)
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Types of Legal Systems


Civil Codes

Law comes from legislatures
Courts enforce and interpret what the legislators decide but do not make laws.

Civil codes are an expression of democracy: usually representative democracy (because not everyone can be on the legislative committee)


Common Law

Judges make the laws
Based on precedents (“stare decisis”, to stand by things decided)
Higher court can defy precedents
The judge can either rule after receiving a recommendation from a jury (jury trial) or can rule alone or with other judges (bench trial)

In the U.S., most state and local law follows common law
Contract law
Agency law (vicarious liability)
Tort law
Disputes are settled by the judge, often with a jury.


Religious Law

Plays a small role in many legal systems, such as Isreali law and Hindu law (to some extent, U.S. law too)
Usually governs family and sexual relationships
Broader role in some places: e.g., Sharia law
Sharia law is applied more broadly versus more narrowly in different countries


Law by Custom

Based on traditional practice
“usage of trade”
International Court of Justice Article 38:
1. The Court, whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it, shall apply:
2. international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states;
3. international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law;

4. the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations;
5. subject to the provisions of Article 59, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law


Benefits of Law

Keeps Chaos from happening

Harm and Fault and the Mens Rea: intention matters
Reason for having Laws 2: Protecting property rights
Real, personal, intellectual, reputation
Patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets
Reason for Laws 3: Allowing trade


Benfits of Trade: The Edgeworth Box


Problems with Trade

Uncompensated People do not win in the trade



Benefits of Law


More Benfits of Law