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Questions tagged [common-law]

For questions regarding English common law, or legal systems based on judge-made law descended from it.

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30
votes
4answers
122k views

How to prove I live in a specific address?

https://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/address.html I need to provide proof of address for the DMV, but the process can be difficult because: I live with someone else; I do not pay rent/utilities; and they will ...
16
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3answers
1k views

Has a common law defence ever held water?

The UK is a common law country. It is a widely held belief of many people that statute Acts of parliament (i.e. most 'laws') only apply with the "consent of the governed"; and that one may be a "free ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Can someone more wealthy than me bury me in legal fees?

USA Federal Law - I have a company worth about $6m. I got on the bad side of a person with a company worth well over $750m (with attorneys on staff). The CEO threatened to bury me in an endless sea ...
15
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3answers
1k views

How can a court avoid creating precedent?

There are a number of ways in which a judge may avoid following precedent – overturning or distinguishing a previous ruling, for instance. However, is there any way for a court (particularly a ...
12
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1answer
3k views

Is an implied physical threat via looming over someone legal?

Lets say that two individuals approach another person and start asking him questions or ask him to do something (for instance leave an area). They do not make any explicit verbal threats. However, ...
11
votes
9answers
4k views

What distinguishes adverse possession from theft?

I understand that, in the United States, adverse possession is a legal (but very rare) way to take ownership of someone else's real property against their will. What I don't understand is how this is ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Lawyer made a key decision without consulting me. Is this normal?

While this case is happening to a relative of mine rather than myself, I will speak in first person for the sake of simplicity. I had a medical procedure performed by a licensed doctor (Dr. A). This ...
11
votes
1answer
7k views

What is a contract and what is required for them to be valid?

What is a contract? What elements are required for validity?
10
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3answers
5k views

How is the “permanent deprivation” element of theft proven in practice?

I never gave this much thought until I saw a prosecutor and then a judge dismiss charges of theft because it would be impossible to prove the accused intended to deprive the owner of the property ...
10
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3answers
2k views

What is stare decisis?

I know in general that stare decisis effectively means that once a court rules on a law that other courts can use that decision when considering their cases. But why is that the case, how is it ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Is there one body of common law?

I'm a bit confused by the usage of the phrase "common law" on this site. The Wikipedia article initially describes it as an abstract concept. The first paragraph reads: Common law (also known as ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I interpret a court judgement? What does it mean?

So I've figured out how to read a case citation and find the text of the judgement - maybe using some of the online resources. As a novice, I'm trying to decide when the judgement actually applies. ...
7
votes
2answers
292 views

Can a company handle paying taxes and other bureaucracy work for a freelancer

Pardon my terminology. I'm very much not a lawyer, but I used to watch Ally McBeal as a kid, so I think I got the hang of this. This is actually a subset of a vastly larger problem, so the ...
7
votes
1answer
97 views

Does expected value bear upon the calculation of compensatory damages?

Suppose I am given a lottery ticket. This ticket has a 1 in 1000 chance of winning me one million dollars, and will otherwise be worth nothing. Before I can see whether I've won, some guy comes along ...
6
votes
2answers
312 views

Legal definitions in the United States

When trying to learn about and understand law, one of the most important aspects of it is the legal definition of a word. Is there a source in which the courts refer to when looking to define a word? ...
6
votes
2answers
163 views

When can punching be legal?

My neighbor kissed my wife. I was pissed and wanted to punch him in his face. But I was able to suppress my anger. If I did punch him, would that be okay? I saw people punch one another over this in ...
6
votes
1answer
101 views

Are Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics enshrined in the law of any (inter)national jurisdiction?

The Three Laws are: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

Is the law of unjust enrichment based on an 'absence of basis' or 'unjust factors' approach?

Many common-law practitioners should be familiar with the competing theories on how to conceptualise the law of unjust enrichment. Is the law still confined to an 'unjust factors' approach as ...
5
votes
3answers
318 views

Can contracts include irrevocable terms of imprisonment for breach?

As noted here: At least in Israel, by agreeing to marry under religious law a person is irrevocably subject to that law's rulings, to the extent that a religious court can sentence one to a term in ...
5
votes
1answer
621 views

Can I teach those careless kids a lesson and destroy their ball?

As we learned from the hypothetical In California, if a baseball lands in my yard, is it legally mine? I could face detinue for not returning the baseball upon request. But what if: I accidentally ...
5
votes
3answers
633 views

What's the difference between “a question of fact” and “a question of law”?

I'm trying to understand the difference between questions of fact and questions of law but it's difficult to find any good definitions of either, and it would be helpful to have some illustrative ...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

Legal action that can be taken by nannies?

If the child being watched (9-10 years old) by a nanny frequently physically attacks the nanny, sometimes causing severe pain, can the nanny take any form of legal action? The nanny in question is a ...
4
votes
2answers
498 views

Pay electricity bill after being evicted on no contract?

I moved into a house and started paying rent of $110 per week however I was unaware that none of the other tenants (and hence myself) were on a contract so we were essentially squatters. The ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the minimum speed limit?

I was wondering if there was a minimum speed limit? I.e. if the speed limit is for example 60, is there a limit to how slow I can go before it counts as breaking the road rules? Is it relative to each ...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

Can a sitting president of the United States be indicted by one of the states?

Some lawyers say a sitting president cannot be indicted, other lawyers disagree. Apart from that, does what they are saying apply to both federal and state indictments? I mean could the president be ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Can you take back a gift?

Suppose that I unconditionally and unambiguously give a person a thing such as a necklace with a moderate value (say $1000): I hand it to them and say "Here, you can have this, I don't need it anymore"...
4
votes
1answer
56 views

At what point could courts in England no longer legally create new Common Law offenses?

Common Law offenses, of course, were crimes created solely through case law rather than statute. At what point was the legal authority of courts in England to create new Common Law offenses abolished?...
4
votes
1answer
441 views

Can a fugitive make a pleading?

Can a fugitive make a pleading in court to quash the warrant for their arrest? For example, let's imagine a warrant has been issued for the arrest of some person who is nowhere to be found, but ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How are the precepts of common law known? Is common law written?

The first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on common law: Common law (also known as case law or precedent) is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals that ...
4
votes
2answers
119 views

Do courts in a common law system ever make decisions about law without a presented case?

In the United States, the Supreme Court does not make a decision about the validity of a law without a specific case presented to them. Are there any examples of common law systems in which a court is ...
3
votes
3answers
196 views

What happens to court precedent after a constitutional amendment?

What happens to the precedent (or whatever their interpretation is called) of the judicial branch when a constitution (like in the USA), is amended? Like, if a constitution said some meats were ...
3
votes
2answers
510 views

Could the USA abandon common law?

I understand that the USA has a "common law" system and that ambiguous written legislation is turned into unambiguous law by courts, such as has happened in many famous Supreme Court rulings. My ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Was new law created when the UK Supreme Court ruled against the prorogation?

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that: a ruling on a prorogation was justiciable and that the duration of the prorogation Boris Johnson advised the Queen to enact, was unlawful Does this mean new ...
3
votes
2answers
528 views

Can US courts be made to define whether a given search is reasonable (i.e. constitutional)?

In 2014, regarding the forced disclosure of the encryption keys of his email service provider company Lavabit, Ladar Levison wrote: The largest technological question we raised in our appeal (which ...
3
votes
1answer
194 views

Are judges limited in their reasoning to arguments raised by the parties?

Bob files a civil lawsuit agaist Rob. For simplicity, let's assume they both represent themselves. At the hearing, Bob says: "Here is the evidence. Rob was wrong because of reason A, so he owes me ...
3
votes
1answer
184 views

How deterministic are modern legal systems?

I am a software engineer trying to understand how judges make decisions in lawsuits. In computer and other sciences there is a concept of deterministic system: In mathematics and physics, a ...
3
votes
1answer
223 views

Implied insults

What are the legal differences between an explicit insult, that qualifies as slander, and an implication of the same insult? I am a German citizen, so I'd prefer answers applicable to Germany. But ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Arizona Common Law Marriage and Kids

In Arizona, Common Law Marriage is not recognized. I heard if a couple has a common law marriage and has kids, if the man dies without a will, the kids/wife don't end up inheriting his possessions. ...
3
votes
2answers
240 views

Can a bailiff seize items belonging to a debtor's spouse or children when executing a writ of seizure?

When a writ of seizure and sale is executed against a debtor, how does the bailiff establish ownership of items that could be co-owned or bought by other family members staying in the residence. Do ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

If a petition is dismissed without prejudice can it be refiled?

If the rules and laws of a court allow a party to bring a petition, and that petition is dismissed with an explanation but with no mention of "prejudice," can the petitioner refile what is ...
3
votes
1answer
188 views

Can a real-life example be used to describe the difference between common and civil law?

I've done a lot of research into trying to understand the difference between the two systems, but their definitions are so verbose, and without examples it's more challenging. The only thing I was ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

Is there a legal analogy of a publisher for physical things

Background Long and complex story short, we're essentially building a legal & software framework for self-organizing 'ad-hoc' organizations. It seems like some set of our issues could be solved ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

What is the difference between Common Law and Civil Law in the U.S.?

Is there a difference between Common Law and Civil Law in the U.S., and if so, what is it?
2
votes
1answer
171 views

Legal principles in refusing to pay advertised reward for return of lost item if it was returned without knowledge of the ad

Say person X lost his valuable item and advertised a reward for the return of it. Person Y, who knew X personally, found the item before reading the ad, and returned it to X, who just thanked Y for ...
2
votes
2answers
485 views

What statutes constrain an insurance provider's treatment of suicide?

Many insurance companies have explicit suicide clauses: exclusions that allow the company to deny benefits to the policy holder's estate. Essentially, suicide voids the benefits policy. What ...
2
votes
2answers
113 views

Legal status of an ongoing situation pending an appeal

Apologies for the title. I could not think of a concise and accurate way to phrase it. I will phrase this question in terms of charitable trusts, but my question is really about the general principle....
2
votes
1answer
83 views

Does intent affect whether or not repudiation or fundamental breach has occurred?

Consider the case of nonpayment under a very simple contract, where the only promise made is that Person A will perform and deliver some specific work, and Business B will pay them a stated amount for ...
2
votes
2answers
134 views

Good Samaritan / Bad Samaritan

While I know that in common law countries there's no legal requirement to provide assistance, is there any liability for failing to do so once you've volunteered to? I'm interested both in a general ...
2
votes
1answer
205 views

Exclusive sport fishing easement/profit with no dominant land: nature, alienation, apportionement, term and jurisdiction specifics?

This question is about easements, profits-à-prendre and fundamentals of Property Law.1 I. Suppose you have a riparian land owner (A). By a deed of exchange, they trade to someone (B) an exclusive ...
2
votes
1answer
157 views

Is there a defence of persecution by law?

Justice derives from just, what is right and fair. If you are guilty (as in, you've committed the offence not been judged) of an offence but your arrest/prosecution is unfair in its application can ...