Read an Excerpt
The Bluffer's Guide to Law
By Mitchell, David
Oval BooksCopyright © 1999 Mitchell, David
All right reserved.
The English legal system is adversarial as opposed to inquisitorial. What this means is that lawyer A tries to outwit lawyer B and the court decides on the winner by adding up points for technical merit and artistic impression.
In the law, Latin looms large as a necessary weapon in the armoury, and the distinction between 'ratio decidendi' and 'obiter dictum' is a useful one to know. Where a judgement is being given, the 'ratio decidendi' is the precise bit that is actually relevant to the case in point and intended to hit the button as the precedent for the future. The 'obiter dictum' means the judge in question was rambling on about something else at the time so one need not take much notice of what he said.
Civil law is all about people's rights and duties to one another and covers dozens of different and complex subjects, all enormous on their own and all subdivided into dozens more areas which are just as complicated. Each of those areas will have its textbooks and specialists. This allows you to pretend a rare speciality (such as 'employment contracts of second division football managers' or 'environmental law and the wood louse') and then to feign ignorance of any law outside that field.
Excerpted from The Bluffer's Guide to Law by Mitchell, David Copyright © 1999 by Mitchell, David. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.