Dispute resolution
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30. Dispute Resolution. 30.1 The Legal System 30.2 Other Redress Solutions. Lesson 30.1 The Legal System. GOALS Describe the structure of the legal system in the United States. Explain the legal procedures from complaint to judgment. Structure of the Legal System.

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Dispute Resolution

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Dispute resolution

30

Dispute Resolution

30.1The Legal System

30.2Other Redress Solutions


Lesson 30 1 the legal system

Lesson 30.1The Legal System

GOALS

  • Describe the structure of the legal system in the United States.

  • Explain the legal procedures from complaint to judgment.

Chapter 30


Structure of the legal system

Structure of the Legal System

  • The legal system in the United States is built on several sources of law, including constitutional law, statutory law, agency law, maritime law, and common law.

  • Common law is a system of laws based on decisions made in court cases.

  • These decisions set legal precedents, which serve as models for deciding similar cases in the future.

Chapter 30


The courts

The Courts

  • There are many types of courts—federal, state, and local.

  • Each court is empowered to decide certain types or classes of cases.

  • Trial courts have original jurisdiction, they are the first court to hear a case.

  • Appellate courts are said to have appellate jurisdiction, or the authority to review the judgment of lower courts.

Chapter 30


Court cases

Court Cases

  • A civil case involves one person who has a dispute with another person or entity.

  • A criminal case involves a government unit who is accusing an individual of committing a crime.

  • When a law has been broken, a prosecutor files criminal charges against the accused person.

  • The losing parties may appeal the decision of a civil or criminal court if they believe the court made an error in applying the law.

Chapter 30


Court personnel

Court Personnel

  • Judge

  • Clerk of court

  • Court reporter

  • Bailiff

  • Jury

Chapter 30


The three tiered court system

The Three-Tiered Court System

  • Both the state and the federal levels have a three-tiered court system.

    • It starts with the trial court level.

    • Cases are then appealed to the appellate court level.

    • Finally cases can be appealed to the supreme court level.

Chapter 30


The federal court system

The Federal Court System

  • U.S. District Courts

    • These are the trial courts at the federal level.

    • The United States is currently divided into 94 federal districts, with a court assigned to each.

Chapter 30


The federal court system1

(continued)

The Federal Court System

  • U.S. Courts of Appeal

    • The United States is divided into 12 judicial circuits.

    • Each circuit has a court of appeals.

    • Each appellate court has a panel of judges who review final decisions of the district courts.

    • The decisions of the courts of appeal can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chapter 30


The federal court system2

(continued)

The Federal Court System

  • The United States Supreme Court

    • The U.S. Supreme Court is the top court of the federal court system and is located in Washington, D.C.

    • There are nine Supreme Court justices, including a chief justice.

Chapter 30


Special federal courts

Special Federal Courts

  • Congress established special courts to hear only particular kinds of cases.

  • These special federal courts include the Court of Claims, Customs Court, Court of International Trade, Tax Court, Court of Military Appeals, and the territorial courts.

  • If you want to sue the United States, you would file a claim in a U.S. district or special federal court.

Chapter 30


State court systems

State Court Systems

  • District and circuit courts

    • General trial courts, often called state district courts, circuit courts, or superior courts, decide matters that can be appealed to higher courts.

    • These courts hear civil cases involving large sums of money, criminal matters with major penalties, and cases that are appealed from local courts whose decisions are questionable.

    • Judges at this level are usually appointed by the governor, although some may be elected.

Chapter 30


State court systems1

(continued)

State Court Systems

  • State courts of appeal

    • Most states also have an appellate court level, where trials at the state level can be appealed.

    • A panel of judges renders a decision or refuses to hear the cases, whereupon they may be appealed to the next level.

Chapter 30


State court systems2

(continued)

State Court Systems

  • State supreme courts

    • In most states, the highest court is the state supreme court, sometimes called the court of final appeal.

    • Ordinarily, the state supreme court has appellate jurisdiction.

    • The decision of a state supreme court is final, except in cases involving the federal Constitution, laws, and treaties.

    • These decisions can be appealed from the state supreme court to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chapter 30


County and city courts

County and City Courts

  • Municipal or justice courts

    • These courts have authority limited by geographic boundaries.

    • Civil and criminal cases are heard at the local level.

    • Disputes usually are heard and decided by judges.

    • A judge may be called a justice of the peace.

Chapter 30


County and city courts1

(continued)

County and City Courts

  • Special courts at the local level

    • These courts may be called police courts, traffic courts, small claims courts, and justice-of-the-peace courts.

    • Generally, the types of cases heard in special courts cannot be appealed to a higher level.

Chapter 30


Court proceedings

Court Proceedings

  • Filing a lawsuit involves many steps, costs, and possible outcomes.

  • The statute of limitations is a legally defined time limit in which a lawsuit may be filed for various complaints.

  • Generally, a lawsuit involves the following four phases—pleadings, discovery, trial, and appeal.

Chapter 30


Pleadings

Pleadings

  • In the pleadings phase, documents are filed.

  • The complaint is a document outlining the issues of the case and the relief (damages) that the plaintiff requests.

    • The plaintiff is the person who brings a lawsuit by filing the complaint.

    • The defendant is the person against whom the lawsuit is filed.

  • A counterclaim is an accusation that the plaintiff is at fault and should pay damages to the defendant.

Chapter 30


Discovery

Discovery

  • In the discovery phase, attorneys gather information, talk to witnesses, prepare legal arguments, take depositions, perform investigations, examine reports, and negotiate with the opposing party.

  • The purposes of discovery are (1) to preserve evidence, (2) to eliminate surprise, and (3) to lead to settlement.

  • A deposition is a sworn statement of a witness that is recorded and often videotaped to preserve the memory of the issues at hand.

Chapter 30


Trial

Trial

  • The trial phase begins with the setting of a court date.

  • For a jury trial, the first step is jury selection.

  • Jury selection is followed by opening statements, presentation of evidence, and closing arguments.

  • The jury deliberates and then reaches a decision, called the verdict.

  • A judgment is the final court ruling that resolves the key issues and establishes the rights and obligations of each party.

Chapter 30


Appeal

Appeal

  • The final phase begins if the losing party files an appeal.

  • An appeal is a request to a higher court to review the decision of a lower court.

  • Appeals are based on errors of law made at the trial court level that led to the verdict.

Chapter 30


Lesson 30 2 other redress solutions

Lesson 30.2Other Redress Solutions

GOALS

  • Define remedies available to consumers other than individual lawsuits.

  • Explain alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options.

Chapter 30


Self help remedies

Self-Help Remedies

  • Lawsuits are lengthy, expensive, and emotionally draining. If you have a consumer problem, pursue a settlement yourself before deciding to sue.

  • In many cases, when you approach the other person with your side of the dispute, you can resolve the issue without taking further action.

Chapter 30


Informal discussions

Informal Discussions

  • Withholding payment

  • Returning or refusing merchandise

  • Disputing a charge

    • Disputing a charge generally means that you are asking the credit issuer to reverse the charge on your account.

Chapter 30


Small claims court

Small Claims Court

  • A small claims court is a court of limited jurisdiction.

  • It decides small matters quickly with a minimum of cost, and the decision is final.

Chapter 30


Class action lawsuits

Class-Action Lawsuits

  • A class-action lawsuit is one in which a large number of people with similar complaints against the same defendant join together to sue.

  • Such lawsuits often involve products that injured many people, and the defendant is the product’s manufacturer and others in the supply chain.

Chapter 30


Governmental assistance

Governmental Assistance

  • You may wish to seek help from a government agency to stop some objectionable practice and help you get your money back.

Chapter 30


Alternate dispute resolution

Alternate Dispute Resolution

  • Alternate dispute resolution (ADR) is a general term covering several other formal methods of settling disputes without using the court system.

  • The services provided in ADR are not free, but they are much less expensive than taking a case to trial.

  • State-certified professionals can help you with negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.

Chapter 30


Negotiation

Negotiation

  • Negotiation is the process of finding a solution that is acceptable to both sides.

  • A neutral third party, called a negotiator, assists the parties.

  • Often a negotiator is needed because the parties cannot meet together due to strong emotions that would prohibit them from talking out the problem without yelling or other disruption.

Chapter 30


Mediation

Mediation

  • When the parties cannot negotiate a settlement, the next level of ADR is called mediation.

  • Mediation is a dispute resolution method in which an independent third person, a mediator, helps the parties to reach a solution in a controlled environment.

Chapter 30


Arbitration

Arbitration

  • The highest level of ADR is arbitration.

  • Arbitration involves an independent third person, called an arbitrator, who helps resolve the dispute.

    • In voluntary arbitration, the arbitrator listens to both sides and makes a recommendation but cannot impose it.

    • With binding arbitration, the arbitrator makes a decision that is binding on the parties.

Chapter 30


Arbitration1

(continued)

Arbitration

  • Labor disputes are often settled with arbitration deals.

    • Many labor contracts specify that in the event the employee feels that the employer has done something illegal (or against the terms of the labor contract), they will submit to binding arbitration.

    • If the employee works for the state or other contracted employer, the employee would begin the process by filing a complaint called an unfair labor practice (ULP), which is formal notification to the employer.

Chapter 30


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