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51 votes
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Is it a real legal principle that any ambiguity in a contract is interpreted to the benefit of the side that did not write the contract?

Contra proferentem However, it's a principle that is rarely applied in practice since it's at the end of a long line of judicial reasoning that gets applied first. Ambiguity in contract provisions are ...
Dale M's user avatar
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51 votes
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Why do many "No Trespassing" signs say "POSTED"?

"Posted" is a Term of Art "Posted" is a term of art in trespass law, specifically meaning that signs forbidding entry have been placed at the borders of a parcel. The page "...
David Siegel's user avatar
43 votes

In a state with the common law definition of theft, can you force a store to take cash by "pretending" to steal?

This is a good example of the life of the law being experience and not reason. While there is a logical argument that this isn't theft, in reality, this conduct would universally be considered an open ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
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35 votes
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Can I trick an innocent third party into doing something that would be illegal if the third party had mens rea without either of us being guilty?

It depends on the jurisdiction, but generally speaking, this will not permit you to evade criminal responsibility. In Ohio, for instance, the complicity statute treats the conduct you're describing as ...
bdb484's user avatar
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33 votes
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Do various common law sovereign citizen movement theories have any kernels of basis in fact?

Does this theory have any basis in current or historical fact? Not really. The sovereign citizen movement uses legal terms, but not correctly, and often confounded with Biblical doctrine, and hones ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
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32 votes

How to "withdraw consent" without implying consent was ever given?

You could say something like "I do not consent to [XYZ], and I revoke any consent I may have given in the past." That makes it clear that you intend to revoke consent, without acknowledging ...
Richard Phillips's user avatar
31 votes

When does silence imply consent?

Silence itself does not generally imply consent, but in the context of a history of transacting, silence in the face of continued actions by the other side can indicate consent. Here's a fun little ...
Jen's user avatar
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29 votes
Accepted

How is anti discrimination legislation reconciled with freedom of contract?

Freedom of contract has always been subject to current law. A contract to hire a hitman has never been legal. Neither was a contract to invade one of the royal monopolies that the English kings used ...
David Siegel's user avatar
29 votes

What is the status (and value) of the day’s unsold newspapers being put out for collection by the paper boy?

Paper put out for waste collection is owned by the waste disposal service Abdul's News & Wine contracts with the city's waste disposal company. Under that contract, he may give his waste to the ...
Trish's user avatar
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26 votes

Why do many "No Trespassing" signs say "POSTED"?

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has a web page about this. If you read the current law you will see the exact wording of the signs is not specified. But in the past, the exact wording of the ...
Gerard Ashton's user avatar
24 votes

Is natural law a type of common law?

No, Natural law is not a type or subset of Common Law Natural Law is derived from what some person thinks is a logical and obvious rule, or what some person thinks is God's Law. There are many ...
David Siegel's user avatar
24 votes

What is the origin and basis of stare decisis?

I assume you are asking about horizontal stare decisis: a court following its own previous holdings or those of courts of coordinate jurisdiction (e.g. courts at the same "level" in the ...
Jen's user avatar
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21 votes

How willing is the US Supreme Court to declare itself wrong?

As for SCOTUS being willing to overrule itself, here is a table of such cases, starting with Hudson v. Guestier 10 U.S. (6 Cr.) 281 (1810) which overturned Rose v. Himely, 8 U.S. (4 Cr.) 241 (1808) up ...
user6726's user avatar
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21 votes

Law about adult video websites retaining actors' PII

united-states Are there laws in the United States which obligate adult video websites to retain personal information (such as first and second names) of the actors/actresses in the videos uploaded on ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 221k
20 votes
Accepted

Can a previously binding precedent be overturned based on its rationale being outdated?

An "outdated rationale" is one factor to be considered when overruling precedent. Yes. Precedent relies on respect for the principle of stare decisis, the idea that courts should stand by ...
bdb484's user avatar
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18 votes

How to "withdraw consent" without implying consent was ever given?

If you have previously given consent, the most honest and correct response is “I withdraw consent.” If you state “I have not given consent” that could be proven false, and undermine your credibility. ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 4,611
18 votes

What is the origin and basis of stare decisis?

The underlying idea has been implicit in law for over a millenium in England. The term dates back at least to Sir Matthew Hale who cites his doctrine of stare decisis in Hanslap v. Cater (1673). ...
user6726's user avatar
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18 votes
Accepted

What is the principle of “finders keepers until the owner claims” called?

This common law property concept is sometimes called the "finders principle" or even sometimes simply "finders keepers." See e.g. Skrypnyk (Liddiard) c. R., 2014 QCCQ 21445, at ...
Jen's user avatar
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17 votes
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Notice of uncontroverted facts in criminal trials

This is known as Judicial notice and is used in many jurisdictions. It is normally supposed to be used only for facts about which there could be no possible controversy. The Wikipedia article linked ...
David Siegel's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Why are jurors still asked to apply the law if their primary role is to find facts?

Sometimes, juries are asked to make pure findings of fact. These are called special verdicts, and they used to be more common, especially when juries decided civil cases. For example, Trustees of ...
sjy's user avatar
  • 9,286
15 votes

Minimum penalty for extradition makes no sense?

You might be misreading the extradition criterion The UK–USA extradition treaty has an example of the clause you're asking about: An offense shall be an extraditable offense if the conduct on which ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 59.6k
15 votes
Accepted

Is a mistakenly sent bank transfer a cause for unjust enrichment?

Not only does Bob have an unjust enrichment cause of action to demand that the recipient return the money, but the recipient can be criminally prosecuted if they refuse. Refusing to make reasonable ...
Acccumulation's user avatar
13 votes

How willing is the US Supreme Court to declare itself wrong?

Less than 1% of the time From this article: In my forthcoming book, “Constitutional Precedent in Supreme Court Reasoning,” I point out that from 1789 to 2020 there were 25,544 Supreme Court opinions ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
13 votes
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Is there ever any consultation between judiciary and legislative draftspeople?

For the same reason you can’t ask the parties to a contract what they meant Legislation, once enacted, stands on its own independent of the people who drafted it, introduced it to Parliament and voted ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 213k
13 votes
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How was the court in Abingdon RDC v O'Gorman (1968 EWCA Civ) aware of Thornton v Cruther & ors (1769)?

The Law Reports at Abingdon Rural District Council v. O'Gorman [1968] 2 QB 811, 820 read as follows: [T]he judges held that in order to "impound or otherwise secure" the distress on the ...
sjy's user avatar
  • 9,286
13 votes

Why are jurors still asked to apply the law if their primary role is to find facts?

It's impossible to fully separate deciding the law from deciding the fact. Without deciding what the law is, it is impossible to say what question of fact is relevant. No one can decide all possible ...
bdsl's user avatar
  • 902
12 votes

Can I trick an innocent third party into doing something that would be illegal if the third party had mens rea without either of us being guilty?

canada General intent is usually enough I believe you are largely conflating motive and intent (see generally R. v. Hibbert, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 973, para. 24; The Queen v. George, [1960] S.C.R. 871, p. ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 59.6k
12 votes
Accepted

When does transfer of ownership occur in amateur sale-purchase contracts?

In the united-states, the parties are generally free to agree to a different rule, but by default, the rule under UCC Article 2-401 is that: title passes to the buyer at the time and place at which ...
bdb484's user avatar
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