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Chapter © 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning Dispute Resolution The Legal System Other Redress Solutions 30
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 2 Chapter 30 Lesson 30.1 The Legal System GOALS Describe the structure of the legal system in the United States. Explain the legal procedures from complaint to judgment.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 3 Chapter 30 Structure of the Legal System The legal system in the United States is built on several sources of law, including constitutional law, statutory law, agency law, maritime law, and common law. Common law is a system of laws based on decisions made in court cases. These decisions set legal precedents, which serve as models for deciding similar cases in the future.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 4 Chapter 30 The Courts There are many types of courts—federal, state, and local. Each court is empowered to decide certain types or classes of cases. Trial courts have original jurisdiction, they are the first court to hear a case. Appellate courts are said to have appellate jurisdiction, or the authority to review the judgment of lower courts.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 5 Chapter 30 Court Cases A civil case involves one person who has a dispute with another person or entity. A criminal case involves a government unit who is accusing an individual of committing a crime. When a law has been broken, a prosecutor files criminal charges against the accused person. The losing parties may appeal the decision of a civil or criminal court if they believe the court made an error in applying the law.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 6 Chapter 30 Court Personnel Judge Clerk of court Court reporter Bailiff Jury
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 7 Chapter 30 The Three-Tiered Court System Both the state and the federal levels have a three-tiered court system. It starts with the trial court level. Cases are then appealed to the appellate court level. Finally cases can be appealed to the supreme court level.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 8 Chapter 30 The Federal Court System U.S. District Courts These are the trial courts at the federal level. The United States is currently divided into 94 federal districts, with a court assigned to each.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 9 Chapter 30 The Federal Court System U.S. Courts of Appeal The United States is divided into 12 judicial circuits. Each circuit has a court of appeals. Each appellate court has a panel of judges who review final decisions of the district courts. The decisions of the courts of appeal can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. (continued)
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 10 Chapter 30 The Federal Court System The United States Supreme Court The U.S. Supreme Court is the top court of the federal court system and is located in Washington, D.C. There are nine Supreme Court justices, including a chief justice. (continued)
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 11 Chapter 30 Special Federal Courts Congress established special courts to hear only particular kinds of cases. These special federal courts include the Court of Claims, Customs Court, Court of International Trade, Tax Court, Court of Military Appeals, and the territorial courts. If you want to sue the United States, you would file a claim in a U.S. district or special federal court.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 12 Chapter 30 State Court Systems District and circuit courts General trial courts, often called state district courts, circuit courts, or superior courts, decide matters that can be appealed to higher courts. These courts hear civil cases involving large sums of money, criminal matters with major penalties, and cases that are appealed from local courts whose decisions are questionable. Judges at this level are usually appointed by the governor, although some may be elected.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 13 Chapter 30 State Court Systems State courts of appeal Most states also have an appellate court level, where trials at the state level can be appealed. A panel of judges renders a decision or refuses to hear the cases, whereupon they may be appealed to the next level. (continued)
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 14 Chapter 30 State Court Systems State supreme courts In most states, the highest court is the state supreme court, sometimes called the court of final appeal. Ordinarily, the state supreme court has appellate jurisdiction. The decision of a state supreme court is final, except in cases involving the federal Constitution, laws, and treaties. These decisions can be appealed from the state supreme court to the U.S. Supreme Court. (continued)
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 15 Chapter 30 County and City Courts Municipal or justice courts These courts have authority limited by geographic boundaries. Civil and criminal cases are heard at the local level. Disputes usually are heard and decided by judges. A judge may be called a justice of the peace.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 16 Chapter 30 County and City Courts Special courts at the local level These courts may be called police courts, traffic courts, small claims courts, and justice-of-the-peace courts. Generally, the types of cases heard in special courts cannot be appealed to a higher level. (continued)
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 17 Chapter 30 Court Proceedings Filing a lawsuit involves many steps, costs, and possible outcomes. The statute of limitations is a legally defined time limit in which a lawsuit may be filed for various complaints. Generally, a lawsuit involves the following four phases—pleadings, discovery, trial, and appeal.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 18 Chapter 30 Pleadings In the pleadings phase, documents are filed. The complaint is a document outlining the issues of the case and the relief (damages) that the plaintiff requests. The plaintiff is the person who brings a lawsuit by filing the complaint. The defendant is the person against whom the lawsuit is filed. A counterclaim is an accusation that the plaintiff is at fault and should pay damages to the defendant.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 19 Chapter 30 Discovery In the discovery phase, attorneys gather information, talk to witnesses, prepare legal arguments, take depositions, perform investigations, examine reports, and negotiate with the opposing party. The purposes of discovery are (1) to preserve evidence, (2) to eliminate surprise, and (3) to lead to settlement. A deposition is a sworn statement of a witness that is recorded and often videotaped to preserve the memory of the issues at hand.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 20 Chapter 30 Trial The trial phase begins with the setting of a court date. For a jury trial, the first step is jury selection. Jury selection is followed by opening statements, presentation of evidence, and closing arguments. The jury deliberates and then reaches a decision, called the verdict. A judgment is the final court ruling that resolves the key issues and establishes the rights and obligations of each party.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 21 Chapter 30 Appeal The final phase begins if the losing party files an appeal. An appeal is a request to a higher court to review the decision of a lower court. Appeals are based on errors of law made at the trial court level that led to the verdict.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 22 Chapter 30 Lesson 30.2 Other Redress Solutions GOALS Define remedies available to consumers other than individual lawsuits. Explain alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 23 Chapter 30 Self-Help Remedies Lawsuits are lengthy, expensive, and emotionally draining. If you have a consumer problem, pursue a settlement yourself before deciding to sue. In many cases, when you approach the other person with your side of the dispute, you can resolve the issue without taking further action.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 24 Chapter 30 Informal Discussions Withholding payment Returning or refusing merchandise Disputing a charge Disputing a charge generally means that you are asking the credit issuer to reverse the charge on your account.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 25 Chapter 30 Small Claims Court A small claims court is a court of limited jurisdiction. It decides small matters quickly with a minimum of cost, and the decision is final.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 26 Chapter 30 Class-Action Lawsuits A class-action lawsuit is one in which a large number of people with similar complaints against the same defendant join together to sue. Such lawsuits often involve products that injured many people, and the defendant is the product’s manufacturer and others in the supply chain.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 27 Chapter 30 Governmental Assistance You may wish to seek help from a government agency to stop some objectionable practice and help you get your money back.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 28 Chapter 30 Alternate Dispute Resolution Alternate dispute resolution (ADR) is a general term covering several other formal methods of settling disputes without using the court system. The services provided in ADR are not free, but they are much less expensive than taking a case to trial. State-certified professionals can help you with negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 29 Chapter 30 Negotiation Negotiation is the process of finding a solution that is acceptable to both sides. A neutral third party, called a negotiator, assists the parties. Often a negotiator is needed because the parties cannot meet together due to strong emotions that would prohibit them from talking out the problem without yelling or other disruption.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 30 Chapter 30 Mediation When the parties cannot negotiate a settlement, the next level of ADR is called mediation. Mediation is a dispute resolution method in which an independent third person, a mediator, helps the parties to reach a solution in a controlled environment.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 31 Chapter 30 Arbitration The highest level of ADR is arbitration. Arbitration involves an independent third person, called an arbitrator, who helps resolve the dispute. In voluntary arbitration, the arbitrator listens to both sides and makes a recommendation but cannot impose it. With binding arbitration, the arbitrator makes a decision that is binding on the parties.
© 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning SLIDE 32 Chapter 30 Arbitration Labor disputes are often settled with arbitration deals. Many labor contracts specify that in the event the employee feels that the employer has done something illegal (or against the terms of the labor contract), they will submit to binding arbitration. If the employee works for the state or other contracted employer, the employee would begin the process by filing a complaint called an unfair labor practice (ULP), which is formal notification to the employer. (continued)
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