Court decisions that are binding on all lower courts. Ex: The Constitution, the enactments of the legislative branch of government, and the case law decisions of the judicial branch of government. Mandatory authority is legal authority that the courts must follow. The decisions of the Supreme Court are mandatory on all lesser federal and state courts. The highest appellate court of a state are mandatory authority for the lesser courts. An ex; of Mandatory Authority would be hate crimes they are handled the same in all courts throughout the US. Persuasive Authority
Court decisions the court are not required to follow but are well reasoned and from a respected court. Courts can be persuaded to make decisions on findings from other similar cases that have already been tried ex; would be that of Justice Cardozo in New York Court of Appeals case of Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Company, 248N.Y. 339. An ex; of Persuasive Authority would be a crime like petty theft each court in each state has the authority to decide how this will be handled. Primary Source
A Primary source is the actual Law itself. Which includes the Statues ex; there are time lines on how long the D.A. has to file charges on a suspect after they have been arrested for a crime. The Constitution of the U.S. is also a primary source. Ex; We have the right to freedom of speech. Secondary Source
Secondary sources are not the actual laws but instead, are writings about the laws ex; encyclopedias and digest, and books like our school book where we find our research. This source is used to gather information on certain cases. Secondary sources are a great way to fully understand an area of law or learn the court language. It also gives you an overall view of an area and point the research to the appropriate primary source.
The Paralegal Professional by; Thomas F. Goldman and Henry R. Cheeseman The Constitution of the US.