It is important to note that legal issues can be extremely complex and specific, and competent legal advice is essential. The following is therefore only a general introduction to the subject and is not a substitute for formal legal advice.
Business law: basic information
Business law is the area of law that regulates business activities, including those carried out by businesses, companies and other organisations. It includes company law, contract law, intellectual property law, tax law and many other areas of law related to business operations.
Company law governs the creation, operation and dissolution of companies. There are many types of legal structures under company law, including limited liability companies, joint stock companies and sole proprietorships.
Contract law governs the creation, interpretation and enforcement of contracts. Contracts are fundamental to business because they allow parties to agree on the tasks to be performed and the terms of payment in a legally binding way.
Intellectual property rights
Intellectual property law covers copyrights, patents, trademarks and confidential business information. This area of law is particularly important in creative industries and technology businesses, where protecting new ideas and technologies is vital.
Tax law regulates tax obligations. This includes tax liabilities, tax planning and various tax disputes. Tax compliance is vital for all businesses
My business legal briefing has so far covered the following:
The American legal system has its roots in the British legal system. The system is designed to create standards that define minimum acceptable behavior, provide a system of punishment for breaking the rules, establish a system for ensuring compliance, and resolve disputes amicably. The ultimate aim of the legal system is to promote the common good. The legal system is designed to establish rules of acceptable behaviour, promote consistency, ensure order and resolve disputes1.
The US legal system includes a number of codified legal forms, the most important source of law being the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution defines the boundaries of federal law and must be followed by all citizens, organizations and entities. US law derives mainly from constitutional law, legislative law, treaties, administrative regulations and common law (which includes the practice of law)2.
American public law follows the public law tradition of British law. In the common law system, judges shape the law through their judgments and interpretations. This body of prior decisions is called case law, which judges use to make their own judgments. In effect, judges rely on precedents, i.e. previous judicial decisions in similar cases, to decide their own cases2.
The Constitution allows for federal legislation by Congress, which makes laws for certain limited purposes, such as regulating interstate commerce. Federal law overrides conflicting state and local laws. However, federal preemption has limits, as states have their own constitutions.
The Constitution allows for federal legislation by Congress, which makes laws for certain limited purposes, such as regulating interstate commerce. Federal law overrides conflicting state and local laws. However, federal preemption has limits because states have their own constitutions and are sovereign. Therefore, federal law can override state law only if it is enacted within the limited powers enumerated in the Constitution and granted to Congress1.
Individual states have their own constitutions and legislatures, which enact laws in addition to and in response to federal laws. State laws are made up of laws enacted by the legislatures, constitutional law, public law and administrative law. State laws are considered sovereign2.
So far, the general legal information has covered the foundations of the legal system and the sources of law. We should now turn to contract law, property law, corporate structure and other business law issues.
The US legal system, which follows the British legal system, is fundamentally designed to promote the common good. As part of this, the legal system sets out standards of what constitutes acceptable behaviour. Based on this, federal law is a set of rules that all US citizens must obey. State and local laws are often similar to federal laws, but may also differ significantly and apply only to citizens of a particular state1.
Another key element of the legal system is the promotion of consistency. The US legal system follows the British common law system, which seeks to use past judicial decisions and promote fairness through consistency. Judges in the common law system help to shape the law through their decisions and interpretations. The resulting collection of past decisions is called case law. Judges use case law in making their own decisions. Indeed, judges rely on precedent, i.e. previous judicial decisions in similar cases2.
The third essential element of the legal system is the maintenance of order. Rights also exist to promote, secure and maintain public order1.
The US legal system is a component of a number of codified forms of law, with the US Constitution as the primary source of US law. The Constitution defines the boundaries of federal law and must be respected by all citizens, organizations and entities. It includes legislative acts of Congress, treaties ratified by the Senate, executive orders, and federal case law. The United States Code (“USC”) collects these laws.
More info: Legal knowledge