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EC115 Legal Environment of Business: Legal Sources

Guide to aid with the U.S. legal system and courts along with the role of law in business and personal decision-making.

The Law is Constantly Evolving

"The law" is a complex combination of three types of law in the US.

  • Statutory Law:
    • laws passed by a legislative body
      • ex. US Congress or state Legislatures
  • Administrative Law:
    • decisions, rules, and regulations made by administrative agencies
      specifying how they will carry out legislation
      • ex. US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Case Law:
    • court decisions, usually opinions written by appellate courts,
      which are binding law on the lower courts in the jurisdiction

Legal research can be confusing and time-consuming.
Be prepared to spend a fair amount of time in your research
as you become familiar with legal terms and citations.

Graphic view of the sources of American law

Legistative History


Legislative histories provide more information about a statute and its background such as why the law was passed or what effect the legislature intended a particular section of the statute to have.

Reviewing a statute's legislative history is helpful when trying to determine the legislature's intent in passing a law

A statute's legislative hisotry refers to the the various documents created during a bills progress through the legislature.
  These often include

  1. revisions
  2. debates
  3. hearings
  4. reports about the bill