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  1. #1

    Default Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    My question relates to legal practice in the state of: Texas

    I was looking for books which compare and contrast the similarities and difference between the American and British legal systems, such as the law itself, the practice of law, and the civil and criminal court processes.

    I have the book "The Common Law" by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, and find that the history and philosophy of the law is fascinating.

    I also find that many people are ignorant of the law (e.x. the basics of how the law works, the court processes, etc), and that much of this misinformation comes from mass media, such as social media, television and court or crime-related TV shows rather than actual books or education on the subject. (e.x. Many in the US don't know the difference between state or federal law, or "international law" in theory or practice, what their basic rights are under the law, and so-forth, or have archaic ideas about what the law is, how it works, the philosophy behind it, and so on - such as someone conflating the UN's declaration with "human rights" with basic civil or Constitutional rights under the law in America). Not to mention, some books which outline the processes of actually changing the law, to give a better insight into how men and women who work in a legal profession, whether lawyers, judges, or legislators actually do, as well as an example of effective legal and political activism, as opposed to "slacktivism" or childish proposals about the law which have no chance of happening in the real world, and are typically just fodder for sensationalist media headlines which seem more designed to attract attention or "sell" to people using exaggerated or sensationalist claims rather than be honest or informative.

    As an example, I read a sensationalist news article the other day claiming that "self-defense is now illegal in the UK", and it turns out this isn't true (I'm not an expert on UK law, but my understanding is that "self-defense" is not illegal, but using a weapon in self-defense is).

    I'm also aware that the UK does not have its law organized into a single "code" as the US law does - so if someone could provide resources which give a concise way of reading about the UK law, and comparing it to that of the US, as well as how government in the UK functions in comparison to that of the US, I would appreciate this.

    Thank you very much for your time. - Sam

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    the UK does not have its law organized into a single "code" as the US law does
    No, the US law doesn't have a "single" code. The US has tens of thousands of federal laws that comprise the US Code plus a myriad of rules and regulations buried in the hundreds of departments throughout the US government that have the force of law. The US has 50 states and a few territories and they all have their own laws and each state has cities, counties, towns and villages, each with their own laws that often contradict each other to the extent that even appellate courts from state to state can't agree with each other.

    if someone could provide resources which give a concise way of reading about the UK law, and comparing it to that of the US, as well as how government in the UK functions in comparison to that of the US, I would appreciate this.
    "Concise"?

    Very amusing. I googled "Compare and contrast US and British legal systems" and got 112,000,000 hits.

    https://www.google.com/search?source...4dUDCAc&uact=5

    Have fun.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    You need to find a more contemporary legal Scholar to study, you might find it more difficult to understand as there are an abundance of legal doctrines in study now that were not ingrained in American Jurisprudence when Holmes was on the bench. You will find the maxim of "ignorance of the law" is basically desuetude, as the law is so much more complicated in practice since 1789.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    Quote Quoting RJR
    View Post
    You need to find a more contemporary legal Scholar to study, you might find it more difficult to understand as there are an abundance of legal doctrines in study now that were not ingrained in American Jurisprudence when Holmes was on the bench. You will find the maxim of "ignorance of the law" is basically desuetude, as the law is so much more complicated in practice since 1789.
    Thanks, I appreciate the help.

    Also, while I'm on it - can you point me to somewhere where I can read records of actual court cases (e.x. family, civil, criminal or otherwise) which show how the trials or procedures actually took place? Thanks.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    pacer DOT gov is a website that will give you access to records of US federal court cases including federal district court cases which are the courts in which the trials take place.
    It is free to establish an account, but one may incur usage charges depending on how many records one accesses.

    At least within the state court systems with which I am familiar, state trial court records, although presumptively public, have not been made anywhere near as accessible online as those in the federal court system. One would really have to go state by state to figure out what's easily available online and what isn't for state trial court documents.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    Quote Quoting IvoryBlackBishop
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    Also, while I'm on it - can you point me to somewhere where I can read records of actual court cases (e.x. family, civil, criminal or otherwise) which show how the trials or procedures actually took place? Thanks.
    The easiest way is to go to a court, walk in to the courtroom, sit down and watch. Trials might be as short as an hour or run weeks or months.

    PACER is good, up to a point. It will get you court documents, I think at 10 cents a page, but I don't think it will get you the interaction between the parties, the witnesses and the judge. For that you'll need a transcript or a duplicate of the recording. That you'll have to pay for, and quite a lot because that's how court stenographers make a living.

    Same goes for local courts. Most courts have online case search features which will bring up the dockets and allow you to order copies of the court documents, also at a cost. But you'll still have to buy a transcript or sit in the courtroom.

    You can look up famous cases that were televised live from the courtroom. You'll probably find the videos on youtube. O. J. Simpson is one that comes to mind.

    Google Scholar is a site where you can read state and federal appellate decisions so you can see how the laws are actually applied.

    And just for entertainment, there are a couple of movies that come to mind that are loosely based on actual trials:

    The Andersonville Trial
    Inherit the Wind

  7. #7

    Default Re: Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    For a movie that presents a depiction of a trial of more recent vintage than those two, and that is, on the whole, a pretty good representation of a trial, try
    My Cousin Vinny

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    There are actual and complete videos of trials on YouTube.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    Quote Quoting IvoryBlackBishop
    View Post
    Thanks, I appreciate the help.

    Also, while I'm on it - can you point me to somewhere where I can read records of actual court cases (e.x. family, civil, criminal or otherwise) which show how the trials or procedures actually took place? Thanks.
    This link is a good study guide I have bookmarked and read time to time.

    https://www.famous-trials.com/

    The Salem witchcraft trials link, one entry is "evidence and examinations", parts of transcripts from the trials. I've been to Salem before, very interesting place to visit.

    Also included is the Sheriff Shipp trial. The only time in history the U.S. Supreme Court held a criminal trial themselves.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Books Which Compare USA and UK Legal Systems

    Do you know where to find any public court trial or transcript records in the state of Texas? I did a few searches but didn't find any public ones; I just instead found a handful of pay websites, thanks.

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