About This Chapter
Below is a sample breakdown of the American Legal Systems chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.
|Day||Topics||Key Terms and Concepts Covered|
|Monday||Types of law||Differences between private and public law, criminal and civil law, and substantive and procedural law|
|Tuesday||Court functions||Processes involved in civil and criminal trials; possible outcomes of appellate court cases; stages in federal and state supreme court cases|
|Wednesday||Federal court structure||Roles of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals; writ of certiorari and the functions of U.S. Supreme Court justices|
|Thursday||State court structure||Roles of superior courts, special courts, intermediate appellate courts, and state supreme courts|
|Friday||Court jurisdiction||The long arm statute; jurisdiction over property, personal jurisdiction, and subject matter jurisdiction of federal and state courts; the U.S. Supreme Court's diversity and federal question jurisdiction; factors determining federal and state court venues|
1. Public Law vs. Private Law: Definitions and Differences
The simple difference between public and private law is in those that each affects. Public law affects society as a whole, while private law affects individuals, families, businesses and small groups.
2. Criminal Law vs. Civil Law: Definitions and Differences
There are two main classifications of law. Criminal laws regulate crimes, or wrongs committed against the government. Civil laws regulate disputes between private parties. This lesson explains the main differences between criminal and civil law.
3. Substantive Law vs. Procedural Law: Definitions and Differences
Substantive law and procedural law work together to ensure that in a criminal or civil case, the appropriate laws are applied and the proper procedures are followed to bring a case to trial. In this lesson, we'll discuss the differences between the two and how they relate to the legal system as a whole.
4. The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court
There are three separate levels of courts in our legal system, each serving a different function. Trial courts settle disputes as the first court of instance, appellate courts review cases moved up from trial courts and supreme courts hear cases of national importance or those appealed in the court of appeals.
5. The 3 Levels of the Federal Court System: Structure and Organization
The federal court system has three main levels: U.S. District Court, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Each level of court serves a different legal function for both civil and criminal cases.
6. Overview of the US Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court justices reside over cases involving original jurisdiction under certain circumstances and appellate jurisdiction when a decision from a lower court involving constitutional law is at issue. Appellate cases require a writ of certiorari requesting permission to address this court.
7. State Court System: Structure & Overview
There is no uniform structure to the State Court System. Each state has its own system but most states operate similarly to the Federal Court System in that there are several levels of courts including trial courts, intermediate appellate courts and supreme courts.
8. Long Arm Statute: Definition & Example
Long-arm statute refers to the jurisdiction a court has over out-of-state defendant corporations. International Shoe v. State of Washington was a landmark case that set precedent for establishing the right for government to use the long-arm statute to bring an action against a defendant corporation.
9. Court Functions: Original and Appellate Jurisdiction
Courts exercise two types of jurisdiction over cases: original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction for cases previously heard in a lower court. Judges have the option, when hearing an appeals case, to reverse or remand a decision based on a violation of law like abuse of discretion.
10. Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Federal, State and Concurrent
One of the ways a court determines whether a case will be heard is based on subject matter jurisdiction. We will explore several factors that determine subject matter jurisdiction in state and federal courts, including concurrent subject matter jurisdiction.
11. Jurisdiction over Property: Definition & Types
In rem and quasi in rem jurisdiction give a court power over property. The court's power over the property can be used as leverage or as a means of satisfying a civil action against a defendant. The conditions that are required determine the court's ability to exercise both types of jurisdiction of property.
12. What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?
The U.S. Supreme Court exercises a right to preside over specific cases and is considered the court of original jurisdiction based on subject-matter jurisdiction. It is considered an appellate court for cases involving constitutional law under certain circumstances.
13. How Venue is Determined for a Court Case
Venue is the location where a civil or criminal case is decided. The venue is decided similarly in civil and criminal trials. However, the venue is decided differently in state and federal courts.
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