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Law is defined as binding rules that govern behavior aimed at enforcing obligation, justice, or prescribed duty. A legislature or ruler derives it mainly from formal enactments or customs. These rules carry with them the authority and power of the enactor and stipulated penalties for refusal or failure to comply. Law gains its authority mainly from globally accepted principles like the sovereign power of parliament to implement them or the essential justness of the rules (Apple & Deyling, 1995).
Law is essentially derived from three sources. The first one is the Constitution, also referred to as the supreme law. This means that no other law in the country can go against the rights, rules, and laws outlined in the Constitution. Constitutional laws apply throughout the country. They also dictate the types of laws that can pass or not. Even though every state has its own laws, it does not violate the constitution (Apple & Deyling, 1995).
The second source is statutes that are the laws passed by Congress or state legislatures. They also apply to the whole country. The only exception is on state legislature laws, which apply only in their states and mainly help the local governments to pass their own relevant laws, which are known as Ordinances. These statutes are collected together and categorized according to the subject in order to create a collection called a code.
The third is regulations that rule that the executive branch of congress makes. Different states have their own agencies, and they issue state regulations accordingly. They have the same power as law and dictate what people can/cannot do. They also describe how things work (Apple & Deyling, 1995).
Objectives of Torts Law
The law of torts is a mixture of legislative ratification and law values. These laws are not dependent on the action of the parties upon their agreement. Unlike criminal trials that are brought by the government, private citizens bring the tort cases. The torts law has four main objectives.
- First, it aims mainly to compensate the victims for any injuries suffered due to the responsible inaction or action of others.
- Secondly, it aims at shifting all the blame to the person or persons responsible for causing them either direct/indirect harm.
- Thirdly, it helps to discourage any future careless, dangerous or injurious behaviors.
- Lastly, its objective is to defend any interests and legal rights that have been violated, compromised, emasculated, or compromised in the whole process.
Theoretically, these main objectives are addressed when tort charges are enacted on tortfeasors, for negligence international wrongdoing, or any hazardous activities (White, 2003).
Elements of Negligence
Legal offenses compose of several clearly defined parts. These parts are usually known as elements, and they form the basis of negligence claims. For a negligence claim to be successful, the plaintiff needs to prove all elements. This means that the case can be destroyed if there is an inability to prove any element. There are four main types of negligence elements, including duty, breach, damage, and causation.
The element of damages, which dictates that the plaintiff needs to be restored/compensated, can be in the form of money equivalent to his/her initial state before the occurrence of the negligence. Plaintiffs are allowed by the court to collect for suffering, medical bills, pain, lost wages, and other losses.
In the causation element, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant's actions are actually, what caused the suffering/harm they are experiencing. This element has two different aspects in it. They include the proximate cause and cause in fact. "Cause in fact" refers to the situations where the issue/harm would have not been possible without the unlawful action. In a proximity cause, case a connection has to be there between the harm caused and the wrongful act, this makes the result of the harm seen from the wrong act.
The element of breach and duty is explained from the perspective that everyone has a general responsibility of taking care of other people and their property. Thus, if an individual behaves unreasonably, he/she will have breached their duty of care. The law judges an individual's conduct by asking whether a person of general regard and average intelligence would have the basis for acting that way.
If not, then their conduct is found unreasonable, since reasonable people would not go against the law knowingly. Even minors are susceptible to this torts law, but in such cases, they are judged based on comparison of intelligence and experience using individuals of their same age.
Objectives of Criminal Law
The main objectives of the criminal laws are to lessen the harm people might cause one another and maintain order in society. This set of laws creates customary conducts that all citizens and residents are guided by. People charged with serious crimes have to go through a trial process then, a punishment or criminal sentence is passed. These criminal punishments may include prison/jail time or payment of fines, community-based punishments, or probation.
The above understanding of the function of the criminal laws/punishment has four main objectives in the criminal justice system; these mainly act as a prevention of possible future crimes by enacting the punishments. The only difference is the person is made aware of his crime before the punishment is enacted.
Another main objective is implementing punishment by incarceration/restraint, whereby the individual is under state control. Even though it is only for a limited time, it is effective in preventing the person from committing another crime.
Criminal justice also enacts rehabilitation as an option whenever it is possible. Through its enactment, the individual learns to become a better citizen while changing his/her behavior. Lastly, retribution mainly entails making an individual suffer for the injuries inflicted on the victim's family. In cases of a violent crime, this is often the most relevant means of punishment regarding the victims' families.
Elements of a Contract
In order to have a legally binding contract, the law requires the meeting of a few requirements by the contracting parties. These requirements are stipulated by the law of contracts and are a must before the agreement can be enforced as either duties or rights that can require enforcement by law. They are the basic elements of a contract and they are as follows.
An offer denotes an expression of the willingness to enter into a bargain with the offeror, on a specific set of terms, with the intention that if the offer is accepted, he/she will be bound by the contract. Acceptance denotes the response by the party to the given offer by either an act or a statement. Acceptance must be communicated and unequivocal to the offeror. There should be an unconditional and absolute agreement to all the offers and terms stipulated in writing or orally, which should mirror the original offer (Evers, 1977).
Consideration, which is also an important aspect of any binding contract, consists of either a detriment to the promisee or benefit to the promisor. Since it is an exchange of present bargain in return for a promise, it might have some profit, right, interest, or benefit that leans favors one side, on the other hand, loss, responsibility or forbearance that is, incurred or undertaken by various principles. It is also important to note that a contract is not necessarily, supported by monetary consideration (Evers, 1977).
There are certain defenses a defendant can use to refute a plaintiff's evidence, under these conditions, an act ceases to be wrongful and instead be justified or excused. There are several forms of the defendant's defenses.
Inevitable Accidents: these acts could not be prevented by exercising ordinary, skill, or care. This means the exercise is physically unavoidable. Defense by Necessity is simply explained, as necessity knows no law. Defense by claiming Act of God is mainly caused by natural events unconnected to human intervention, for example, floods. The defense would mainly state that there was no human interference and the event could not be foreseen by using reasonable foresight or care (Harlow, 2001).
Defense by Mistake or fact may be a defense in certain exceptional cases. Parental and quasi-parental authority is the defense of exercising restrain or force for the purpose of training, chastisement, or correction if done by parents towards their schoolmasters or children towards pupils. Defense by Act of State is mainly an exercise of sovereign power. Defense of Statutory Authority is the power or authority given by law to perform certain acts (Harlow, 2001).
Defense by violent non-fit injuria (consent): this is the voluntary assumption of risk. For it to apply, it needs the voluntary acceptance of the risk and knowledge that the risk is present. Use of Self Defense is referred to the cases when a person was attacked and he/she did not owe the attacker any duty of escaping. Defense of act involves issues that touch on factors, which cause slight harm (Harlow, 2001).