Virtually all laws that govern today’s civilization draw their influence from the England and Wales. The laws in these countries were arrived at through tribunals and precedents made by judges. The precedents are also known as case laws. These are previous legal decisions arrived at by judges which are used in similar subsequent scenarios or instances. They were also informed by the then governing customs societal norms. These laws provided for the protection of individuals and property. These laws were known as common laws. Common law made way for civil law that also draws its roots to England and Wales. Civil law unlike common law was codified in a referable form instead of judicial precedents or past court rulings. Civil law is highly intellectual with a set of well-established principles and it bases much precedence on statutory law as compared to case law (Slapper G. & Kelly D, 2o10, p.11). Civil law and common law have other fundamental differences. In the former judges, dominate cases while in the latter they act as neutral referees.
It is prudent to understand that the legal history cannot be complete without mentioning the role of parliament. Parliament in many democracies is the supreme law making body. It is involved in drafting bills, which are subject to debate. After debate and thorough scrutiny of the draft bills parliament oversees the passage of the bills into acts. The parliament is also tasked with the role of amending laws. Parliament has the ability to review exist laws to establish their applicability. Some of the laws usually found in the constitution are not applicable to current situation or scenario. It is thus the role of the parliament to amend them appropriately for the sake of applicability and smooth running of affairs. The parliament further has the mandate to approve the national budget. It scrutinizes the public spending and revenue appropriating it for the smooth running of the government affairs (Keeman &Smith, 2007, p.51). It also keeps the executive on its toes by constantly reviewing the appointments and decrees made. Parliament notably at times delegates some power to individuals or organizations that it deems fit to create laws. This is informed mostly where there are technicalities or expert help needed.
Statutory interpretation is defined as the manner in which courts of law analyze, interpret, and apply laws or legislation. The intensity of the interpretation however is limited if the case in the court involves a statute. In some cases, the words contained in the statute are clear and straightforward in meaning. Whenever there is ambiguity in these words contained in the statute a judge is called upon to clarify. To establish the sober meaning of the words contained in the statute, a judge employs certain tools. These tools are contextual, substantive and deference. The textual tool dwells on the understanding of the words contained in the statutory text. Substantive tool dwells on interpretations of the statutes with the intent of promotion of certain ideals. Deference tool advises the courts to ignore interpretations made by any other body (Keeman &Smith, 2007, p. 49).
A contract is defined as a legally binding agreement between two parties or entities. A contract has five core elements that make it valid. These elements are offer, acceptance, consideration, contractual intention, and form (Andrews, 2011 p.17). The first element offer is captured in the Case v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company. It held that distinguished invitation to treat from an offer. In this case, a medical firm advertised that its new drug, a carbolic smoke ball would act as a flu cure, and if it proved ineffective buyers would receive £1oo. Carbolic argued that the advertisement was not taken as a legally binding document but rather an invitation to treat a mere puff or gimmick. The court held that the advertisement amounted to an offer.
Acceptance as the next element is defined as a final expression of assent to the terms of an offer. Hyde v Wrency seeks to expound this element further where a counteroffer takes place (Beale, 2010, p.46). The precedent holds that making a counter offer amounts to the rejection of the original offer. Stevenson v McLean on the other hand differentiates a mere inquiry that is devoid an offer from a rejection of the initial offer.
The third element in the law of contract, consideration, entails something of value, which is given for a promise and is given in order to make a promise legally enforceable. Consideration must be sufficient but need not be adequate and must move from the promise. Consideration also must not be from the past. Price v Easton is a case law that expounds more on consideration as an element of a contract. Easton supposedly made a contract with X where X would work for him for £19 that would be handed to Price. Easton failed to pay Price X even after the completion of the work. Price sued but it was ruled that his claim was invalid, as he had not provided any form of consideration (Beale, 2010, p.63).
The fourth element, contractual intention dwells on the intention to make a contract legally binding. Not every arrangement amounts to a contract as exhibited by Balfour v Balfour. A husband defaulted paying allowances to his wife (Beale, 2010, p.31). The wife’s attempt to enforce the promise failed, as the parties did not intend for the arrangement to be legally binding. The fifth element of a contract is form. It is prudent to understand contracts can be made orally, informally and in some cases, no oral or written communication at all is needed.
An agency is defined as a legal relationship where another, a principal, authorizes an individual, an agent, to act on that individual’s behalf, and is empowered to do what the principle could lawfully do in person. Law of agency establishes responsibilities, obligations, and duties of the principal and agent. It also touches on the responsibilities of these two parties with regards to parties (Bowstead, 2007, p.12).
The principal-agent relationship is generally made via an employment agreement between the two parties ion form of a listing contract. A mutual consent is enough to create an agent-principal relationship. The principal expressly or by implication indicates willingness to be represented by another individual, with the agent, either expressly or impliedly, indicating a willingness to act under the direction and control of the principle and control of the principal (Munday, 2010, p.17).
The agency has two types of authority actual and apparent. Actual authority is the most common type of agency authority. It consists of implied authority and expressed authority. Implied authority is that which the agent reasonably needs as to perform expressed authority. An example of implied authority is where an assistant is employed to mange an administrative office. He is not told expressly to hire or fire personnel but implied authority allows the assistant to do so (Munday, 2010, p.29).
Expressed authority is given to the agent orally or in writing and even at times the conduct of the principal. The most common form of expressed authority is a listing agreement or employment contract. An employer may expressly inform an agent of his new tasks that he must carry out.
The second form of agency authority is agency. This is where an agent is conferred with authority by force of law to protect third parties who rely on the impression created by the principal that appropriate authority has been given to a would-be agent.
There are two types of agency: special and general. A special agent is employed or tasked with particular roles. On completing the specific tasks, the agent-principal relationship ceases to exist unless the principal accords the individual new tasks. A general agent is defined as an individual with unspecified or wide-ranging authority to carry out transactions on behalf of clients or principals (Bowstead, 2007, p.28).
Equality Act of 2010 was made by the UK parliament as an anti-discrimination law. It covers various aspects of the public sectors in Great Britain such as education, employment, contracts et cetera. It espouses the need to establish equal treatment in access of private and public services as well as employment regardless of an individual’s gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and marital status (Fredman, 2011, p.47). The Act with regards to employment focuses on discrimination in job application, terms of employment, opportunities for job training, workplace environment, and employment termination. The law however does not cover the following types of workers: volunteers, members of the armed forces and individuals employed wholly outside Great Britain (City Law School, 2012, p.11).
The gender factor in the Equality act has a special clause that extends certain protections to pregnant women. For example, a pregnant women cannot be denied access to certain services on account of her condition. The act particularly protects women from discrimination in various platforms such as the workplace and schools. The act appreciates that the members of the fair gender tend to be overlooked in many areas. In the past women were not considered in job promotions or salary increases. The Equality Act will ensure that members of all genders are not discriminated against and that measures effected to ensure equality prevails (Equality Act, 2010, p.16).
Age as the next premise of the act seeks to ensure that all citizens of Great Britain are treated with dignity regardless of their age. The act establishes measures should be created to ensure that individuals are treated equally at the workplace despite the seniority or youthfulness. Individuals are also protected by religious discrimination at the work place. Religious holidays are mandatory to individuals that profess certain religions. Religious-influenced dressing is also factored in these considerations at the workplace (Equality Act, 2010, p.16).
Sexual orientation of individuals is protected in the act. Employers are cautioned against discriminating individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. This law comes at a time where homophobia thrives in many workplaces. Disability as the next premise of the act notes that some employees may be impaired mentally or physically. The act cites that employers ought to ensure that the work environment is conducive to the impaired employees. Marital status as the last factor in the act ensures that employers do not discriminate individuals on the basis of whether they are married or not. The marital status question should not influence any of the employment processes or decisions at the workplace.
Andrews, N. 2011. Contract law. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Beale, H. G. 2010. Cases, materials and text on contract law. Oxford [England: Hart Pub.
Bowstead, W. 2007. A digest of the law of agency. Clark, N.J: Lawbook Exchange.
Equality Act 2010: Chapter 15. 2010. Norwich: TSO.
Fredman, S. 2011. Discrimination law. Oxford [England: Oxford University Press.
Frey, M. A., & Frey, P. H. 2001. Essentials of contract law. Albany, NY: West/Thomson Learning.
Keenan, D. J., & Smith, K. 2007. Smith & Keenan's English law: Text and cases. Harlow: Pearson Longman.
Munday, R. J. 2010. Agency: Law and principles. Oxford [England: New York.
Slapper, G., & Kelly, D. 2010. English law. London: Routledge-Cavendish.