Lecture 1 introduction and sources of law


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Lecture 1 introduction and sources of law

  1. 1. 4Law1006 – Law for Accounts and Finance Teaching team: Module leader - Miles Hurley Jerome Chan Justin Brunskell
  2. 2. Before we start…    Law can seem demanding But….it is not impossible, and can be rewarding Why are you studying law?
  3. 3. 6 simple rules… Rule 1 – keep calm Rule 2 – be logical
  4. 4. 6 simple rules… Rule 3 - Turn up! Rule 4 – get involved!
  5. 5. 6 simple rules… Rule 5 – read! Rule 6 – turn it off!!
  6. 6. Resources     Module guide is on Studynet Recommended text available as “ebook”, via studynet Other resources via studynet include Justcite, Westlaw, Lawt el, LexisNexis – see link on module site N.B. “Wikipedia” is not a proper learning resource
  7. 7. Assessment Coursework element (50% of final mark) – An online MCQ test, and a group work exercise - submitted via studynet.  Exam element – 3 problem questions (out of 6 available). Similar to seminar questions, so use seminars to PRACTICE!! 
  8. 8. Answering legal questions 
  9. 9. Answering legal questions 1. 2. 3. 4. Read the entire question carefully. Identify the main legal area the question covers and then all the legal issues raised. Select from your knowledge of the law the legal principles applicable to those legal issues. Make a short abbreviated outline of your answer indicating the order in which you will tackle the various issues, i.e. by separate thematic paragraphs; jot down in abbreviated form the content of each paragraph, i.e. the issue, the applicable principle, the legal authority (case or statute) from which the principle derives, any relevant commentary, and side issues.
  10. 10. Answering legal questions
  11. 11. So…Law – what is it good for?       At its most basic level, law exists to protect members of a society from those who would do them harm. this includes bad businesses as much as it includes criminals. Law exists to ensure the citizen is kept safe. Consider your own life:law ensures that you have been educated to a certain level before arriving at University law ensures the bus you travel to University on is safe law ensures that food you buy at a supermarket is safe.
  12. 12. Why do you need to know the law?     In business, law has many functions, e.g.:protecting consumers allowing businesses to plan providing employees with rights
  13. 13. Types of Law   “criminal law”; - a public wrong, committed by an individual, who is prosecuted and punished by the state. “civil law”; basically covers all other aspects of law. Regulates disputes arising from rights & obligations parties have between each other
  14. 14. Sources of Law       Parliament The Courts/Precedent European Union Delegated legislation International Treaties Custom
  15. 15. Source 1 – Parliament •House •First of Commons reading – purely formal •Second reading – critical stage, extensive debate on general principles •Committee stage – MPs amend and tidy bill •Report – the committee reports changes to the House of Commons •Third reading – restricted debate House of Lords Now the bill does the same again…in the House of Lords. Then the Commons consider any changes Royal Assent is given
  16. 16. How Parliament makes law
  17. 17. Source 2 - The Courts   Some areas of law are not governed by acts of Parliament. Judges develop and apply common law – known as “judicial precedent”
  18. 18. Precedent – what is it?     1. 2. A judicial decision which provides a pattern for subsequent cases to follow Judges are bound by the law of binding precedent, i.e. they are bound by a decision reached in a previous case Lower courts must follow higher ones Two factors are crucial to determining whether a precedent is “binding”:court hierarchy - position in the court hierarchy of the court which decided the precedent and the position of the court trying the case the facts of the case to be decided come within the scope of the principle of law in the previous decision
  19. 19. It’s Latin time…!!!  stare decisis – “to stand by the decided”.   Ratio decidendi – “reason for the decision” Obiter dicta – things said “by the way”.
  20. 20. “Ratio Decidendi” – The reason for the decision   Donoghue v Stevenson (1932) The HoL held that a manufacturer owed a duty of care to the consumer that products are safe. Followed by …   Grant v Australian Knitting Mills (1936) The claimant bought some underwear but the material contained a chemical which caused dermatitis. Compensation was awarded based on the precedent set by Donoghue v Stevenson.
  21. 21. Obiter Dicta – things said “by the way”   Hill v Baxter (1958) The defendant driver fell asleep and drove into some people. His conviction for driving offences was upheld as he was at fault for not stopping when he felt drowsy Judge gave fictional example of being stung by bees while driving, and losing control as an example of a driver not being at fault.
  22. 22. Court Hierarchy  Supreme Court (previously House of Lords) – binds lower courts; avoids binding itself by Practice Statement (Judicial Precedent) 1966 1  High Court -  County and Magistrates Courts - WLR 1234.  Court of Appeal - bound by decisions of the House of Lords even if it considers them to be wrong; Young v Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd [1944] KB 718, provides Court of Appeal (civil division) with 3 exemptions to being bound by its own previous decisions  bound by the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords; not bound by other High Court decisions. decisions of these courts are not binding. N.B.: Under the Human Rights Act 1998, English courts must now have regard to decisions of the ECHR
  23. 23. Precedent - Good or Bad?        Advantages Certainty Consistency Efficiency Flexible Detailed Practical     Disadvantages Inconsistency Uncertainty Delay
  24. 24. Source 3 - The European Union       Treaties - primary source of EU law - need to be enacted (e.g. Tr. of R + ECA 1972) Regulations – secondary source - “directly applicable” (take effect immediately) Directives – secondary source - need interpreting by domestic law (usually within a set time) Decisions of ECJ Decisions Recommendations/opinions (not binding)
  25. 25. Source 4 - Delegated Legislation      Parliament passes an enabling act giving law-making power to a delegate – e.g. Welwyn & Hatfield Council, Education Secretary. This delegate then draws up detailed regulations Statutory Instruments Orders in Council Bylaws Professional regulations
  26. 26. Delegated legislation:          Advantages:Saves time Brings in expertise Flexible – can be changed quickly Disadvantages:Accountability – who is making law? Difficult to scrutinise Huge amount of it Is it controlled properly by Parliament and the courts?
  27. 27. Source 5 – International treaties   These are influential but only become law if Parliament passes an act to incorporate them. E.g. Human Rights Act derived from European Convention on Human Rights
  28. 28. Source 6 - Custom     Strict rules must be satisfied if a custom is to be recognised. It has existed since 1189 – “time immemorial” Must have been exercised continuously and peaceably Must be reasonable
  29. 29. Summary   Major sources: Parliament, delegat ed legislation, Europea n Union, Courts Less significant: custom, internation al treaties
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