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North Castle Books

The Dynamics of Law, Fourth Edition
Authored by: Michael S. Hamilton; George W. Spiro

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-2086-6 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-2087-3
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USD: $110.95 USD: $59.95
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Available to all countries
Information: 232pp. Figures, cases, bibliographic references, index.
Publication Date: January 2008.  


Description: Thoroughly revised and updated, this widely used text offers a concise introduction to the American legal system for students without a legal background. The book's coverage is cross-disciplinary, informed by the literature of law, business administration and the social sciences, especially public administration and policy. Its goal is to give non-lawyers in all these areas a lucid overview of the workings of the American legal system as it may affect individuals and organizations in their interactions with each other and the environment.

Unlike longer, more expensive competing works, The Dynamics of Law presents its subject with clarity and precision, and minimal use of legal terms. It offers clear explanations of how to brief a case and how statutes and regulations are codified in the United States. Study problems and review questions in each chapter, drawn from legal literature as well as general interest articles and books, are designed to stimulate classroom discussion.

Selected Contents:


1. The Nature and Function of Law
Why Do We Need a System of Rules?
Private Rules for Social Ordering
Customs and Morals versus Law
The Various Perspectives of Law
Some Requirements for an Effective Legal System
The Creation and Application of Law: An Introduction
Chapter Problem
Questions for Review

2. The Courts and Adjudication
Criminal Law and Civil Law
Court Systems: Organization and Jurisdiction
The Process of Adjudication
Boyle v. Vista Eyewear
Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation
How to Read and Abstract an Appellate Decision
Chapter Problem
Questions for Review

3. The Trial Stage
Trial Procedure in a Civil Case Before a Jury
The Adversary System
The Trial Process: Some Problem Areas
Pennsylvania v. Napper
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Shearson/American Express v. McMahon
Chapter Problem
Questions for Review

4. Judicial Lawmaking I: Law Built on Precedents
The Common-Law Tradition
The Role of Precedents: The Doctrine of Stare Decisis and Its Rationale
An Illustrative Case: MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co.
Hinman v. Pacific Air, Hinman v. United Air Lines Transport
Escola v. Coca-Cola
Hynes v. New York Central Railroad
Restraints on Judicial Lawmaking
Common Law and Equity Theories in Statutory Law
Chapter Problem
Questions for Review

5. Lawmaking by Legislatures
The Legislative Process
Differences Between Decisional and Legislative Lawmaking
Some Problems of Legislative Drafting
Chapter Problem
Questions for Review

6. Judicial Lawmaking II: Interpretation of Statutes
The Intention of the Legislature
Temple v. City of Petersburg
The Use of Legislative History
United Steelworkers of America v. Weber
Other Aids to Statutory Interpretation
Chapter Problem
Questions for Review

7. Judicial Lawmaking III: Interpreting the Constitution
Examples of Constitutional Issues
U.S. Constitutions
The Supreme Court as the Final Constitutional Arbiter
Takings of Private Property for Public Purposes
Kelo et al. v. City of New London et al.
Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council
Free Speech and Flag Burning
Texas v. Johnson
Chapter Problem
Questions for Review

8. Administrative Lawmaking and Adjudication
The Emergence of Administrative Agencies
Legislative Rulemaking by Administrators
Yakus v. United States
Adjudication and Decisional Rulemaking by Administrators
Board of Governors of the Federal System v. Dimension Financial Corporation
Achievements and Disappointments
Chapter Problem
Questions for Review

9. Private Contributions to the Legal System
Private Contributions to Lawmaking
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Collective-Bargaining Agreements: An Example of Industrial Self-Government
Chapter Problem
Questions for Review

10. Law in Society: A Conclusion
Chapter Problem

Bibliographic Note
About the Authors

Comment(s): "The Dynamics of Law is a proven text that introduces non-lawyers to the American legal system. As our society and economy grows in complexity, an understanding of the system of law that governs us is essential for any educated person. Hamilton and Spiro have once again written a clear, straightforward, and useful text." -- Steven Cohen, Columbia University

"Hamilton has revived and updated one of the best introductions to the way law works in this country. From the nature of law to the trial process, this book provides a lucid tour of the legal system. There is no better introduction to the legal system and legal processes. From philosophical arguments about why we should obey the law to specific cases that present legal and moral quandaries, Hamilton and Spiro cover it all--clearly and without oversimplification." -- Larry S. Luton, Eastern Washington University

"For George Spiro, teaching and scholarship were a one-sided coin. He made the classroom--and the textbook--an exercise in intellectual and emotional growth. His students learned the law, and they learned its human context. Michael Hamilton's stewardship of this new edition is a tribute to a great teacher and to the permanence of great teaching." -- Mark A. Schlesinger, University of Massachusetts

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