Chapter 02 - Sources of the Law
1. Cyber-commerce is the term applied to all cyber-transactions.
2. The NCCUSL has created several new uniform laws in the area of e-commerce.
a. The Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act deals with contracts that
involve the sale or licensing of digital information.
b. The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act points out principles which should be
used to make certain cyber-contracts are enforceable.
IV. Court Decisions (2-4)
A. Common Law
1. The term common law comes from attempts of early English kings to establish a body
of law that all courts in the kingdom would hold in common.
2. Common law is the body of previously recorded legal decisions.
3. The process of relying on previous legal decisions is called stare decisis.
4. The legal system of the U.S., except for Louisiana, is rooted in the common law of
5. Over time, English common law has been eroded in the U.S. by passing of statutes
and court decisions; but parts of the common law as practiced in England still exist in
the laws of the U.S.
6. Today’s judges still rely on precedent which is a model law that a court can follow
when facing a similar situation.
a. One type of precedent is binding precedent.
b. A second type of precedent is persuasive precedent.
c. Generally, whether a precedent is binding or persuasive is determined by the
B. Statutory Interpretation
1. Court decisions may make law through the interpretation of statutes.
2. Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts analyze aspects of a statute that
are unclear, ambiguous, or unanticipated when the statute was passed.
3. In interpreting a statute, the court looks, for example, at the legislative history of the
statute; the old statute that the new statute replaced, if any; and binding precedent
interpreting the statute.
C. Judicial Review
1. Courts may make law through judicial review.
2. Judicial review is the process of determining the constitutionality of legislative
statutes, administrative regulations, or executive actions.
3. In exercising the power of judicial review, a court will compare the statute,
regulation, or action with the Constitution.
4. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land; therefore, any inconsistent
statute, regulation, or action is unconstitutional.
5. In exercising judicial review, the court must review binding precedent.
6. The final word on issues of constitutionality lies with the U.S. Supreme Court.
V. Administrative Regulations (2-5)
A. Administrative Agencies
1. Federal administrative agencies administer statutes enacted by Congress in specific
2. States have designated agencies to supervise intrastate activities.
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