Cases are legal decisions based on a specific set of facts involving parties who have a real interest in the controversy. Some systems are a mixed parliamentary/presidential structure. In France, for example, the president is far from being a mere titular head of state. Since 1962, he has been directly elected by the people, appoints the Prime Minister, has emergency powers and signs decrees resulting from the extensive legislative functions of the executive. In cooperation with the government, he or she may submit bills to the people, which are adopted by referendum, bypassing parliament, dissolving the National Assembly and calling new elections. But despite this great diversity, it is important to first emphasize the separation between religious and secular legal systems. Everyone has very different views on the law, in terms of source, scope, sanctions and function. The source of religious law is the Godhead, who makes the laws through the prophets. However, secular law is man-made. In a religious legal system, disputes are usually settled by an official of that religion, so that the same person is both judge and priest. In a secular system, on the other hand, the function of judge is distinct and is often reinforced by guarantees of judicial independence. Second, the federal judicial system is based on a system of “jurisdiction,” that is, the geographical distribution of courts at certain levels. For example, while there is only one Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal is divided into 13 counties and there are 94 district courts.
In addition, each state judicial system has its own “jurisdiction”. As already mentioned, the jurisdiction in which a case has been raised determines which judicial decisions constitute binding precedents. The basis for the application of the law consists of (1) a written or oral constitution; (2) primary laws, statutes and laws; authorized by a legislative body authorized by the Constitution; (3) a body approved by primary law adopts subsidiary laws or statutes; (4) traditional practices confirmed by the courts; (5) Civil, general, Roman or other code as the source of these principles or practices. (*Legal Dictionary: What is a Legal System? Definition) The principle that defines the common law is the requirement that courts follow the decisions of the superior courts of the same jurisdiction. From this legacy of stare decisis, a reasonably predictable and coherent body of law emerged. Although the length of constitutions varies considerably, most details are usually devoted to the legislative and executive branches and the relationship between them. Federal systems, of course, have bicameral legislation. But also many unitary systems, where the House of Commons is directly elected and the House of Lords is composed of those who can represent rural interests (France) or have particular competences (Ireland). In most countries (but not in the United States), the House of Commons can ultimately override the House of Lords. Most modern legal systems can be described as either common law, civil law, or a mixture of both. All these people can own property and hold it for their own property (house, clothing, etc.) or as a business or investment (office buildings, factories, stocks, savings accounts).
Only socialist systems have attempted to prevent this second function of property by forbidding individuals to own “the means of production.” The property in question may be tangible and is often referred to as immovable and movable (or, at common law, immovable and personal). Ownership can also be intangible, such as debts, copyrights and patents. If owners have full legal capacity, they can generally manage their property as they wish, subject to public policy rules (e.g. zoning by-laws). They can manage their assets during their lifetime or their will, although many systems ensure that a portion of the deceased`s assets go to close relatives. As a general rule, there are few generalizations that can be made between different constitutions. First, constitutions seek to regulate the division of powers, functions and duties among various agencies and government officials, and to define the relationship between them and the public. Second, no constitution, no matter how good, can protect a political system from effective usurpation.
Third, those in power in many countries are more or less completely ignorant of the constitution. Fourth, even when constitutions do, none is complete: each operates within a matrix of compromises, customary laws or jurisprudence. Fifth, most begin by identifying (at least on paper) the constituent authority (as “the people”) and often invoke the deity (i.e., Canada, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Pakistan, Switzerland). Sixth, as a rule, they separate the legislative, executive and judicial organs of the State. Seventh, they usually contain or incorporate a bill of rights. Eighth, they often provide a method of repealing laws and other unconstitutional instruments, including the Bill of Rights. Ninth, they approach the international scene only in general terms and in practice confer extensive powers on the (federal) executive. Finally, they deal with the status of international law, either by giving it direct internal effect or by denying it. The U.S. system is a common law system that relies heavily on precedent for formal judgments. In our common law system, court decisions in previous court proceedings are extremely important to the court`s decision on the pending case, even if it is a statute. The level or hierarchy of courts largely defines the extent to which a decision of one court has binding effect on another court.