52

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 usually resolved by the golden rule: Determine the ordinary and natural meaning of the words used Consider the context of the contract including its purpose, ...


43

Mail from financial institutions; including checking, savings, credit card statements or investment account statements Pay a bank or credit card company $2 or some other nominal fee to have them send you a physical copy of a statement.


27

Request a Social Security statement. Get a library card. Write a letter to your senator or representative or a local government office that requires a response. Order something online. Register to vote (you can do this with the last 4 digits of your social security number and without having to prove your address).


22

Personal mail that does not list the recipient as “occupant”. Example: Magazines, journals, etc. Get some friends to write to you.


21

The technical difference is that theft is illegal, and adverse possession is not. I'm assuming you're talking about why there's a difference. Historically, there are two basic reasons for adverse possession. First, land lasts for a very long time, and a sale is generally invalid unless the seller has valid title. That means that no property title is secure, ...


19

Is this a real legal principle? Yes. It is known as the doctrine of contra proferentem. The Restatement (Second) of Contracts at § 206 calls it "interpretation against the draftsman". This doctrine is present in both common law and civil law. The presumption is that the party who drafts the terms of the contract has greater bargaining power than ...


17

The following answer is based on general common law jurisdictions; many jurisdictions have statutes that will change some of these. In particular, consumer contracts, real estate contracts and employment contracts are typically heavily regulated and may have additional requirements. What is a contract? A simple definition of a contract [Guest, AG (ed), ...


16

No, it's not legal. This is the tort of assault, not to be confused with criminal assault. A tort of assault does not require actual contact, whereas some jurisdictions define criminal assault elements as those of battery; in others, it is an intended battery without the contact. The elements of common law assault are: A positive, voluntary act You can't ...


13

There are both statutes and customs aimed at preventing "Malicious Prosecution" and "Abuse of Process." (In Pennsylvania, for example, the 1980 Dragonetti Act allows the victim of a frivolous lawsuit to counter-sue for compensatory damages.) One can also buy insurance against this type of risk: Umbrella liability policies will generally provide a defense ...


11

So my understanding is that the phrase "common law" can refer to either the concept of laws established by court precedent or it can refer to a specific body of laws that have been established that way. Yes. Should I just be inferring that from context? Yes. Is there a single body of "common law"? No. Are there distinct bodies of "U.K. common law"...


11

I haven't found any cases where this defence has worked. I strongly suspect that that's because it never has. Every piece of advice I've read on this unsurprisingly suggests you'd be a fool to attempt to rely on this defence in court, including some cases in which defendants have attempted to rely on it and have failed. There are a couple of Freedom of ...


11

It is true that in the US, valid Federal law supersedes state law or regulation when there is a conflict. Precisely because of this, state laws and regulations are normally carefully written to avoid such conflicts. It is very unusual for a federal law issue to apply in traffic court. The question does not say what Federal law issue you think will apply to ...


10

Based solely on what you've described, what the lawyer did is inappropriate if, in fact, it occurred without any prior permissions. However, since you are not the actual client, it may be that you lack pertinent info, because this would be exceedingly rare behavior. Lawyers are allowed to make procedural and "expert"/professional decisions about your case ...


9

No. These theories are legally unrecognisable. The concept of governance by consent is misapplied, as is the 'private corporation' nonsense; almost all of Magna Carta has been repealed; Black's is not an instrument of law and does not bind the courts. You may wish to consider the implications of discarding all statute law. The age of sexual consent, for ...


9

Lawyers have two primary ethical duties: to the client, and to the legal system. I'm not going to tell you whether your lawyer was right in your case, because I don't know the specifics of your case. However, there are some decisions that are the lawyer's to make, even if the client disagrees. The allocation of responsibility, in most jurisdictions, is ...


9

Common law is based on the system of law established in England following the Norman Conquest in 1066. Its principle was simple: that like cases should be treated alike. This differed from the prior laws, which varied between the different local courts, and in doing this, the kings (who, in the beginning, were the ones who held court) avoided arbitrariness. ...


9

You are confusing a few concepts. One is the distinction between what are known as "common law" jurisdictions derived from the English legal system, and "civil law" jurisdictions derived from one of the continental European legal systems that is ultimately derived from Roman law. Another is the distinction between determining the meaning ...


7

I am not a lawyer; I am not your lawyer. You do not cite a jurisdiction so this makes it very difficult to get a definitive answer. What follows is for Australia but the general principles are common law and would be applicable to other common law jurisdictions except where statues apply or case law has diverged. In the first instance, it seems that you ...


7

Courts look to primary authority first, and then to secondary authority if ambiguity remains. Primary Authority providing definition for the legal use of a word would be previous case opinions that give meaning to a word in a given context, how the word is actually defined in the statutes for the state, or, in the case of federal law, the federal statutes ...


7

The core principle of stare decisis is that the law should not depend on what judge you got; two cases with the same facts should have the same outcome. In the common-law tradition, there weren't really written statutes; there was only "what's been done in the past," and so the only reference you'd have to what the law should be in some situation is past ...


7

The distinction exists because land is special. There is only so much of it and the law encourages productive use of land. The nineteenth century ideology which nurtured adverse possession prioritized economic development. There's that and there's also the goal of avoiding stale claims. You can't sleep on your rights. We have similar rules for physical ...


7

Your question is addressed in the opening paragraph of Ballantine, Title by Adverse Possession 32:2 Harvard Law Review 135–159 (1918): Title by adverse possession sounds, at first blush, like title by theft or robbery, a primitive method of acquiring land without paying for it. When the novice is told that by the weight of authority not even good faith is a ...


7

IMO this is a perfectly reasonable question, amenable to a common law analysis: (1) indicates that A has committed the tort of false imprisonment (Restatement of Torts, 2d, §35). Because of 2-4, we can see that A intends to confine B (though vide infra). The confinement is complete (§36), this being a single aisle plane although the same would be true if ...


7

Generally speaking, the law in almost every common law and civil law jurisdiction does not allow incarceration to be a punishment for a mere breach of contract (when that breach of the contract was not intended at the time the contract was entered into by the parties by one of the parties but not the other). Historically, there was a remedy called "body ...


7

A receipt is just a written proof that money was taken. It is hard to imagine a place on Earth where the legality of giving such a proof would be questionable at all so that you would need to talk about an "authority to issue receipts". Only if you find a place where money itself is illegal. Now, the real question here is whether such receipts (issued by ...


6

Since you asked about any jurisdiction, and presumably any common law jurisdiction, in which one of the elements of theft is the intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property, here's the UK* answer. Regarding borrowing specifically, the UK statute referring to theft - the Theft Act 1968 - provides for this in section 6(1): A person ...


6

It is the lower courts' interpretation of a senior court's judgment—specifically the ratio—that determines what is the precedent. If a court doesn't want its opinion to bind lower courts, it can be clear in its judgment that this is not what was intended. For example, a court could say that this judgment turns on the particular facts of this ...


6

Actions in common law tort exist for both scenarios. Potential torts are negligence, trespass to chattel, and/or conversion. Putting the largely apparent tort of negligence aside, since that is nearly always available when something and/or someone is damaged by another (requiring only the [negligent] act, causation and damages) I'll focus on the other tort ...


6

Congratulations, intrepid legal enthusiast or learner! What you'll need A legal dictionary, especially if you're just getting started. If you don't own one, you can try Black's Law Dictionary A little bit of patience and time. Or maybe a lot, depending on the particular case and the particular question you're trying to answer. Maybe a normal dictionary, ...


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