Anyone can threaten to sue, but not every case is eligible to be adjudicated or should be. There must first be some kind of case or controversy for a lawsuit to exist. The plaintiff must also be the person or organization that was directly affected by the defendant’s actions. The court in question must also have both subject matter jurisdiction (the right to hear the case) and personal jurisdiction (the power to exercise authority over both parties and enforce a judgement).

A legal requirement that no citizen be deprived of their Constitutionally protected rights. You cannot be thrown in jail or have your property seized without first going through the legal system to determine if you are guilty first. Due process guarantees that all citizens are treated fairly and have their case heard before a jury of their peers in a fair and timely manner.

Most legally enforceable contracts can be either written or verbal, but it’s always best to opt for a written contract. Verbal contracts offer no clear record of an offer, consideration, or acceptance. However, there are some contracts that must be in writing.

  • Real estate sales
  • The transfer of property after death
  • Contracts with a length of over one year
  • An agreement to pay someone else’s debt
  • Real estate leases with a length of over one year
  • Contracts for a specified amount of money
  • Contracts that last longer than the life of the party

A court will not enforce a contract if it is deemed to be an illegal agreement. A contract cannot be enforced if:

  • One or both parties do not have mental capacity to agree to the terms offered
  • Either party agrees to the contract under duress or is subject to undue influence. Undue influence can arise in an instance the contracting parties are in a special relationship (husband and wife, caretaker and patient, employer and employee)
  • Misrepresentation – when one party makes an untrue statement in order to get the other party to agree to the contract

A trust is an agreement between the grantor and the trustee (manager) to hold onto or manage property for the benefit of a third party (beneficiary). By creating a trust for the beneficiary, you (the grantor) agree to transfer assets over to a trust that will then be managed by the trustee for the good of the beneficiary. Unlike wills, trusts are private documents, can be executed while the grantor is alive, and can avoid probate.

Law enforcement can conduct a search and seizure if they receive a warrant from a judge who has decided there is probable cause that the suspect committed a crime. Law enforcement can enter your property without a warrant if they believe someone is in danger or if they believe evidence may be destroyed if they do not get to it in a timely manner. Evidence obtained during an unreasonable search and seizure cannot be used against the defendant.

Civil procedure is the body of law that structures the litigation process, the legal system’s mechanism for resolving disputes between parties. Generally speaking, it consists of the rules by which courts hold civil trials.

Tort law deals with legal cases in which one party believes it’s been done wrong by another one. Common examples include acts of negligence that hurt someone, such as a negligent driver damaging another driver’s vehicle by failing to yield at an intersection. As with criminal law, the injured party must prove it has been damaged in some way in order to receive compensation. Tort law is needed because it provides a legal framework to hold people accountable for their actions and to deter others from acting in ways that cause damage.

Contract law regulates the relationship between two or more parties within a binding contract. It’s needed to protect people and businesses in these legal agreements. Specifically, it ensures that contracts are enforceable by law and that an injured party has the power to receive compensation in the event of a breach of contract, holding all parties involved accountable.

Property law is an area of law that governs the ownership of property. Notably, property law protects both real property, such as a home, and personal property, which includes personal possessions like a computer. This type of law is needed to protect the legal property claims of individuals and businesses as well as to facilitate the transfer of property between two or more parties.

A criminal act is a violation of criminal law. It can be either a misdemeanor, a lower-level criminal violation, a more severe violation known as a felony, or a wobbler, which is a criminal act that can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

The steps in the criminal justice process are as follows:

  • Investigation of a crime by the police.
  • Arrest of a suspect by the police.
  • Prosecution of a criminal defendant.
  • Indictment by a grand jury.
  • Arraignment by a judge.
  • Pretrial detention or bail.
  • Plea bargaining.
  • Trial of the defendant.
  • Sentencing by a judge.
  • Appeals filing by attorneys.
  • Punishment of a defendant found guilty.