Introduction To Law


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Introduction To Law

  1. 1. Chapter 1: Introduction to Law
  2. 2. What Is Law? <ul><li>At a minimum, law consists of enforceable rules governing relationships among persons and between persons and society. (USA – legal realism: pragmatic) </li></ul><ul><li>Law is the body of rules that can be enforced by the courts or other government agencies (Canada –legal positivism – because of parliamentary sovereignty ) </li></ul><ul><li>Definition is affected by: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>History </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Theory </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Legal System in Place </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social Realities </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Schools of Jurisprudential Thought <ul><li>There are several different “schools” of law: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Natural Law. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positivist view. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historical view. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal Realism view. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Natural Law School <ul><li>Assumes that law, rights and ethics are based on universal moral principals inherent in nature discoverable through the human reason. </li></ul><ul><li>The oldest view of jurisprudence dating back to Aristotle. </li></ul><ul><li>The Declaration of Independence assumes “the Laws of Nature.” </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Positivist School <ul><li>Law is the supreme will of the State that applies only to the citizens of that nation at that time. </li></ul><ul><li>Law, and therefore rights and ethics, are not universal. The morality of a law, or whether the law is “bad or good”, is irrelevant. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Historical School <ul><li>Emphasizes the evolutionary process of law. </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrates on the origin and history of the legal system. </li></ul><ul><li>Law derives its legitimacy from the principles and standards that have proved historically workable. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Legal Realism <ul><li>Jurisprudence that holds law is not simply a result of the written law, but a product of the views of judicial decision makers, as well as social, economic, and contextual influences. </li></ul><ul><li>Law is a tool to promote social justice. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Becoming a Sophisticated Client <ul><li>Confident, knowledgeable, up-to-date </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the role of lawyer and client </li></ul><ul><li>Understands the costs </li></ul><ul><li>How to deal with dissatisfaction with lawyer </li></ul>
  9. 9. Role of Lawyer <ul><li>Provides relevant legal advice </li></ul><ul><li>Client is decision maker </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyer bound to follow client’s instructions </li></ul>
  10. 10. Question for Discussion <ul><li>What experience have you had with the legal system? </li></ul><ul><li>How did you feel about it? </li></ul>
  11. 11. When to Hire a Lawyer <ul><li>New business, buying existing business </li></ul><ul><li>Compliance issues </li></ul><ul><li>Physical location </li></ul><ul><li>Financial issues </li></ul><ul><li>Contracts </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectual property </li></ul>
  12. 12. When to Represent Yourself <ul><li>Obtaining legal information </li></ul><ul><li>On-line sources </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding the information </li></ul><ul><li>Type of issue at stake </li></ul>
  13. 13. How to Find a Good Lawyer <ul><li>Yellow pages </li></ul><ul><li>Referrals </li></ul><ul><li>Provincial Law Society/Canadian Bar Association </li></ul><ul><li>Legal referral services </li></ul>
  14. 14. Legal Aid <ul><li>Eligibility varies from province to province </li></ul><ul><li>Financial guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Subject matter guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Duty counsel </li></ul>
  15. 15. Billing <ul><li>Fixed fee </li></ul><ul><li>Hourly rate </li></ul><ul><li>Contingency fee </li></ul><ul><li>Disbursements </li></ul><ul><li>Retainer </li></ul>
  16. 16. Question for Discussion <ul><li>Is there a limit on contingency fees in your jurisdiction? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you agree with the concepts of limits? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the limit in your jurisdiction too high or too low? </li></ul><ul><li>Should it change based on the risk of success with the case? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Complaints <ul><li>Provincial law societies are self-governing </li></ul><ul><li>Complaint resolution process varies </li></ul><ul><li>Mediation services may be available </li></ul><ul><li>Investigation, formal hearing if warranted </li></ul><ul><li>Compensation requires additional civil action </li></ul>
  18. 18. Ethics of Lawyers <ul><li>Every provincial law society has rules of professional conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Will prompt complaint and investigation if not followed </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical behaviour implies integrity, honesty and professionalism </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to observe ethical behaviour may result in disbarment </li></ul>
  19. 19. Ethics of Clients <ul><li>No code of conduct for business people </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses should establish their own code of conduct for the organization and their employees </li></ul>
  20. 20. Question for Discussion <ul><li>Does your business/employer have a mission statement? </li></ul><ul><li>Does your business/employer have a code of conduct? </li></ul><ul><li>Are these referred to and used in the daily conduct of business? </li></ul>