Legal Literacy

To understand how the legal system works, students must consider the law in terms of its structures, processes, language, and modes of thought and argument—in short, they must become literate in the field. Legal Literacy fulfills this aim by providing a foundational understanding of key concepts such as legal personhood, jurisdiction, and precedent, and by introducing students to legal research and writing skills. Examples of cases, statutes, and other legal materials support these concepts.

While Legal Literacy is an introductory text, it also challenges students to consider critically the system they are studying. Touching on significant socio-legal issues such as access to justice, legal jargon, and plain language, Zariski critiques common legal traditions and practices, and analyzes what it means “to think like a lawyer.” As such, the text provides a sound basis for those who wish to pursue further studies in law or legal studies as well as those seeking a better understanding of how the legal field relates to the society that it serves.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Cover 1
Contents 8
Preface 12
Chapter 1. Introduction 16
Procedural Justice 18
The Adversarial System and Adversarialism in Law 21
Uncertainty and Indeterminacy in Law 24
The Tools of Legal Literacy 27
Critical Legal Literacy 30
Chapter Review 31
Literacy and Law 34
Chapter 2. Legal Literacy and Other Literacies: Examining the Concept and Objectives of Legal Literacy 34
Evolution of the Concept of Legal Literacy 36
Other Literacies 37
Related Socio-legal Concepts 39
Goals and Objectives of Legal Literacy Education 41
Chapter Review 43
Conceptual Structure of Law 44
Chapter 3. Legal Structures: Structures of Law and Legal Institutions 44
Framing Using Legal Concepts 48
Institutional Structures of Law 51
Jurisdiction in Law 53
Critical Perspectives on Structure 56
Chapter Review 58
Chapter 4. Legal Systems: Legal Systems—Linking Legal Institutions 60
Functions of Legal Systems 62
Court Systems 64
Administrative Systems 67
Alternative Systems 69
Critical Systems Analysis 71
Chapter Review 75
Chapter 5. Legal Processes and Procedures: Planning and Procedures for Processes used by Legal Institutions 76
Civil Litigation Process 78
Civil Procedure 81
Criminal Litigation Process 86
Criminal Procedure 89
Administrative Processes and Procedures 94
Critical Analysis of Process and Procedure 97
Chapter Review 100
Chapter 6. Legal Language: Examining Language in Legal Institutions 102
Legal Discourse 103
Legal Vocabulary 106
Plain Legal Language 108
Language Rights 111
Critical Perspectives on Legal Language 113
Chapter Review 117
Chapter 7. Legal Research: Skills and Techniques for Researching Law 118
Types of Legal Research 120
Law Libraries 122
Legal Citation 124
Legal Research Strategy 129
Legal Research Online 133
Critical Perspective on Legal Research 135
Chapter Review 138
Chapter 8. Legal Interpretation: Skills and Techniques for Making Sense of Law 140
Reading Legislation 144
Reading Cases 149
Reading Contracts 155
Critical Perspectives on Legal Interpretation 157
Chapter Review 163
Chapter 9. Legal Communication: Oral and Written Communication to Achieve Legal Objectives 164
Proof of Facts in Law 165
Legal Argument 167
Legal Writing 172
Legal Speech 176
Critical Perspective on Legal Communication 179
Chapter Review 182
Notes 184
A 194
Glossary of Terms 194
B 195
C 196
D 198
E 199
G 200
F 200
H 201
I 201
J 202
L 202
N 205
M 205
O 206
P 206
Q 208
R 208
S 209
T 211
U 212
V 212
W 212
Bibliography 214