Bashar Malkawi
General Law
Material Type:
Lecture Notes
Graduate / Professional
  • Civil Cases
  • Judiciary
  • Procedurec
  • U.S. Court System
    Creative Commons Attribution

    Bashar Malkawi, Procedures Law in the US


    This sources provides basic structure of the court system in the U.S. The slides provide easy description of the federal and state court system. 


    Types of Disputes and Participants


    Civil vs. criminal dispute


    Award of money in civil cases is called "damage".


    Doing something or refrain from doing something is called "injunction"


    In civil cases, Plaintiff and defendant


    In criminal cases, the prosecutor charges someone with a crime and asks for punishment such as jail or fine.


    Lawyer or attorney or counsel


    Address a judge as "your honor"

    Terms in Appellate Litigation


    Appeal (sometimes called petition) is the review the court of the opinion rendered by a lower court, trial court (district court).


    The court that hears the appeal is called "Appellate Court".


    Trial court consists of a single judge, while appellate court consists of several judges (three judges).


    The United States Supreme Court consists of 9 judges called justices. There is the chief justice.


    Party who files an appeal is called "appellant" or "Petitioner".


    The disposition of the case is the action the court took. For example, the higher court can affirm, uphold, or reverse the decision of the lower court, or the higher court can "vacate and remand".


    Laws that court use could include the constitution, statues (laws), regulations, previous cases (precedents or stare decisis).


    Hierarchy of Law





    When issuing a decision the judge will not rely only on statues, but also precedents, principles of fairness, justice, and morality.


    When a new rule is applied in a court opinion, this is called "holdings".


    A "Dicta" is an opinion not relevant to resolve the case.