American law: an introduction by Lawrence Meir Friedman

By Lawrence Meir Friedman

This paintings presents an creation to the yank felony procedure for a huge readership. Its concentration is on legislations in perform, at the position of the legislations in American society; and the way the social context impacts the dwelling legislation of the United States

summary: This paintings offers an creation to the yank felony procedure for a vast readership. Its concentration is on legislations in perform, at the function of the legislations in American society; and the way the social context impacts the dwelling legislations of the USA

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We can also draw a line between legitimate and illegitimate processes. Usually, a system is not illegitimate just because it is informal or private; nor is there anything illegitimate about the formal private systems (like the work of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association or a university hearing about alleged cheating on a test). The informal part of the public system is a more complicated story. Some aspects of it are illegitimate, or downright illegal. It is a basic fact about the American legal system (and the legal systems in other modern countries) that the way the system is described, on paper, its official form, does not tell us how it actually works in real life.

But his word is usually final, just like a judge’s. If a soap company and one of its suppliers agree to arbitrate their disputes, they are going to have to abide by this agreement. The courts will, if pushed, force the losing side to carry out what the arbitrator decided. It is in this sense that arbitration is a kind of mixture of the public and the private. Just as every institution, down to the family, has the habit, and need to, make rules, so too there is a general need to find ways and means to enforce the rules; otherwise they are perfectly meaningless.

What is important is to see how the form of the economy and the structure of society fundamentally alter the legal system of each particular country. In general, it is a fairly crude business to assign legal systems to this or that family. There are always troublesome cases at the margin. The Scandinavian countries, for example, do not precisely fit the technical patterns of law among their European neighbors; some scholars assign them a family of their own. In general, we have to remember that a legal system is not an exercise in history; it is a working system, very much here and now.

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