Business Law

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Chapter

1

THE NATURE

AND

SOURCES

OF

LAW

A. Nature of Law and Legal Rights
1. LEGAL RIGHTS 2. INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS 3. THE RIGHT OF PRIVACY 4. PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY

B. Sources of Law C. Uniform State Laws D. Classifications of Law

Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part.

Licensed to: iChapters User
4 Part 1 The Legal and Social Environment of Business

law – the order or pattern of rules that society establishes to govern the conduct of individuals and the relationships among them.

hy have law? If you have ever been stuck in a traffic jam or jostled in a crowd leaving a stadium, you have observed the need for order to keep those involved moving in an efficient and safe manner. The interruptions and damages from Internet viruses demonstrate the need for rules and order in this era of new technology. When our interactions are not orderly, whether at our concerts or through our e-mail, all of us and our rights are affected. The order or pattern of rules that society uses to govern the conduct of individuals and their relationships is called law. Law keeps society running smoothly and efficiently.

W

A. NATURE

OF

LAW

AND

LEGAL RIGHTS

Law consists of the body of principles that govern conduct and that can be enforced in courts or by administrative agencies. The law could also be described as a collection or bundle of rights.

1. Legal Rights
right – legal capacity to require another person to perform or refrain from an action. duty – an obligation of law imposed on a person to perform or refrain from performing a certain act.

A right is a legal capacity to require another person to perform or refrain from performing an act. Our rights flow from the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions, federal and state statutes, and ordinances at the local levels, including cities, counties, and boroughs. Within these sources of rights are also duties. A duty is an obligation of law imposed on a person to perform or refrain from performing a certain act. Duties and rights coexist. No right exists in one person without a corresponding duty resting on some other person or persons. For example, if the terms of a lease provide that the premises will remain in a condition of good repair so that the tenant can live there comfortably, the landlord has a corresponding duty to provide a dwelling that has hot and cold running water.

2. Individual Rights
The U.S. Constitution gives individuals certain rights. Those rights include the right to freedom of speech, the right to due process or the right to have a hearing before any freedom is taken away, and the right to vote. There are also duties that accompany individual rights, such as the duty to speak in a way that does not cause harm to others. For example, individuals are free to express their opinions about the government or its officials, but they would not be permitted to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater and cause unnecessary harm to others. The rights given in the U.S. Constitution are rights that cannot be taken away or violated by any statutes, ordinances, or court decisions. These rights provide a framework for the structure of government and other laws.

3. The Right of Privacy
One very important individual legal right is the right of privacy, which has two components. The first is the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

Copyright 2010 Cengage Learning, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part.

Licensed to: iChapters User
Chapter 1 The Nature and Sources of Law 5

right of privacy – the right to be free from unreasonable intrusion by others.

guarantees this portion of the right of privacy. A police officer, for example, may not search your home unless the officer has a reasonable suspicion (which...
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