Friday, January 6, 2012

Knowing What to Research First

When one embarks down the road of doing legal research, either in prosecuting a civil action or defending in a civil or criminal action, one must understand the basics of the law.  I previously discussed "God's Law & Mans Law" within that posting. Now we must move on to "Mans Laws" and or a more detailed look at the laws our government has passed and we consent to follow.

The first source of law one should turn to is the law that sets up the system of government itself.  This law comes in the form of the "Constitution."  A constitution declares basic rights of persons, it grants or declares religious freedom, freedom of speech, trial by jury, and the peoples right to be left alone. 

In the U.S. we have the "Constitution of the United States of America" and the individual States have their own "State Constitutions" as well.  Acting under the power of the Constitution the Legislatures are empowered to pass laws called "Statutes," or the collection of the statutes are called "legislation."  Federal and State legislation may be passed on any subject within the limits imposed by their respective constitutions.

The Legislatures do not have the time nor expertise to enact all the laws that are needed, so it often creates agencies of government to make special rules.  An example would be New Jersey's CasinoControl Commission.  Rules made by departments or agencies of the government are called "Administrative Regulations" or codes. In New Jersey they have the New Jersey CasinoControl Act, which enables the New Jersey Administrative Codes on Casino Gaming in that state.

The Legislature further delegates power to local governments on the municipal level.  At the municipal level these local governments have the authority to enact "Municipal Ordinances."  ( Look up your city's Ordinances at  So within this post we see how law starts with the "Constitution", which allows for "Statutes" to be enacted and government agencies to be formed, which intern enact "Administrative Regulations."  We have also looked at laws on the city or municipal level which are called "Municipal Ordinances", and they are enacted under the power granted by government agencies.

It is important to remember this hierarchy of laws because the same applies to courts, and depending on which court you will be involved with, you must know these levels of law so that you may use them in support of your legal positions or arguments.  As you can see we can't, nor should we just jump into a civil or criminal action.  Research has to be done, and we have to learn to do proper research.

Please continue to join me as I share with you, what I have learned.
Thank you, EDH Pro Se! 

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