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Common law as a paradigm: The case of Dorset Yacht Co. v. Home Office

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  1. Introduction
  2. Common law: The primary source of American Law
  3. Applying common law to particular cases
    1. Illustrating the concepts of issue identification
    2. Understanding the law of negligence
    3. The importance of inductive and deductive reasoning
    4. Constructing the logical form
  4. Displaying the certain acts for which a neighbor is not directly responsible
  5. Making a decision within a case of common law
  6. Conclusion

The concept of law can be explained in many different ways and methods, however to easily sum it up one could say it's mainly used as a dispute resolving mechanism that minimizes or altogether prevent the practice of self help. Law can also be described as a social system, something that is utilized to separate one culture from another, to keep civil order and to maintain a balance within a population. Law, in a general sense, can also be an organization of rules or conduct set by an authoritative source, thus having binding legal force. The study of law is known as jurisprudence, which includes eight different schools of law, while at the same time there are also seven total sources of law. To review the seven sources of law, one must start with common law, which takes a role as most important and will explained in detail in a moment.

[...] To fully understand why the case of Dorset Yacht Co. v. Home Office is an example of common law, one must first be educated about the case itself. The case can be summed up as Seven Borstal boys (British juvenile detention residents) were working on an island under the control and supervision of three officers from the Home Office. During the night, the boys left the island, boarded, cast adrift and damaged the plaintiffs' yacht, which was moored offshore. The plaintiffs brought an action for damages against the Home Office which charged negligence. [...]


[...] It is the law of the case, with which the facts (major premise) will be compared, so as to reach a decision (conclusion) (48). To fully understand the importance of inductive and deductive reasoning, one must realize the law is neither entirely inductive nor entirely deductive. In an instance where the law is clear and precise, and the use of facts of the law are even, the argument can be classified as exclusively deductive reasoning. On the other hand, where the law is clear and understandable, while the only question is the application of the facts to the law, one would employ both inductive and deductive reasoning. [...]


[...] Civil law can be classified under the basis of positive law (or Laissez-Faire economics), where as common law would be natural law (or custom and tradition). When applying common law to particular cases, Aldisert brings up the case of Dorset Yacht Co. v. Home Office in Chapter Seven of Logic for Lawyers. When analyzing this case, one comes to the conclusion that it is truly paradigm to common law and what it entails. By being an example of common law, it must share many of it attributes, which will be investigated and explained in further detail. [...]

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