Primary Sources Of Law Essay

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There are two sources of law in the United States, primary and secondary. Primary sources consist of both Federal and State Constitutions, Federal and State statutes, administrative rules, case laws. Primary sources of law are defined as “the sources that provide the actual law” (pg. 588). Another source of the law are secondary sources. Secondary sources consist of legal dictionaries, legal encyclopedias, legal forms books, periodicals, digests, treatises, and citators. Secondary sources are defined as “Tools used to understand the law” (pg. 590). When conducting legal research for a case, secondary sources would be utilized to gain a better understanding in areas of the law the researcher is unfamiliar with, and to identify the appropriate …show more content…
Case law is the basis of the U.S. legal system, compiling previous court decisions that inferior courts need to adhere to in similar cases. These previous decisions create stare decisis, or precedent. Precedent is the written decision from a court, that requires all inferior courts to resolve similar issues previously decided in higher courts in the same manner. This provides consistency within our courts, and ensures the laws are applied correctly. The system also allows for the interpretation and application of laws to adjust to current societal norms. After all, what was considered acceptable behavior in the 1800’s is certainly far removed from the current societal norms (pg. 29-33). Next, we will discuss Federal and State …show more content…
Legal Encyclopedias are another secondary source of the law, and are used to find background material for the law in question. Legal encyclopedias are available for most states and two federal encyclopedias, the corpus duris secundom, and the American jurisprudence. They typically include a table of contents to assist the researcher in finding the correct area to begin. In addition, they typically include annotations that direct the researcher to other sources for a deeper understanding of the law. The final secondary source we will discuss are legal digests. Legal digests are sets of books that compile case law by topic, and serve to direct the researcher to the appropriate primary source. Legal digests are available in most state, all of the federal districts, and include all of the Supreme Court decisions (p.

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