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PRDV205: Business Law and Legal Procedures

Unit 1: AN OVERVIEW OF THE LAW AND BUSINESS   This unit introduces you to the foundations of law in the United States and provides you with an overview of how various US laws can affect the operation of American businesses.  *The unique US legal system, which combines the principles of separation of powers with those of federalism, has shaped the development of law and policy in the United States throughout the past 200 years. The three branches of the federal government – the US president, or executive branch; the US Congress, or legislative branch; and the federal courts, or judicial branch – each have separate powers that the other two branches may not influence (a system known as “checks and balances”).  For example, federal judges are given lifetime appointments and cannot be removed by the president or Congress without an impeachment trial.  The separation of powers between the federal and state governments also shapes the legal process.  Add to these diverse relationships the existence of laws at the regional, county, and local levels, and you can see that businesses must deal with an extensive multitude of various bodies of law.

Following your introduction to the American legal system, you will learn about the theoretical and legal background of business regulation in the United States.  Commerce in the US, as in most countries, operates under a presumption that the rule of law will guide the actions of businesses and their leaders, particularly with regard to the regulation of professional relationships, company disputes, and the exercise of rights.  In this unit, you will explore the impact of the rule of law on US businesses and gain an overview of several important laws that regulate companies in the United States.*

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you should be able to:
- describe the separation of powers within the US government; - describe key aspects of American federalism; and - explain how the law relates to business.

1.1 Key Aspects o fthe American System of Law   1.1.1 The Separation of Powers   - Reading: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 5, Section 1: Federalism and Preemption" Link: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 5, Section 1: Federalism and Preemption" (PDF)

 Instructions: Read Section 1 from Chapter 5 of the textbook. Focus
on this section’s discussion of the separation of powers within the
United States government.  When the idea of separation of powers was
introduced in 1789, the concept was considered revolutionary
because, unlike other governmental models, it ensured that the three
branches of the American federal government – the legislative,
executive, and judicial wings – would check and balance each other’s
duties, scope, and powers.  This concept has had a critically
important impact on American law, particularly with regard to the
powers, size, and functions of the federal judicial branch.  Today,
an independent judiciary is considered a critical component of a
true system of justice.  

 Reading this textbook section should take approximately 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution, as requested by the work’s original creator or
licensee.

1.1.2 Federalism   - Lecture: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation Channel: Dr. Patrick Scott’s “Federalism I” and “Federalism II” Link: YouTube: The Saylor Foundation Channel: Dr. Patrick Scott’s “Federalism I” (YouTube) and “Federalism II” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Click on the two links above and watch both videos. 
Dr. Scott’s lectures provide a more in-depth discussion of
federalism and its impact on US law.  Note that other contemporary
democratic countries, such as Canada and Germany, also have federal
systems of government.  

 Watching these videos and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1.5 hours.  
    
 Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted by the kind
permission of Dr. Patrick Scott of Missouri State University, and
can be viewed in its original form
[here](http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/pls-101-american-democracy/id416088286#_blank). 
Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be
reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the
copyright holder.

1.2 How Does Law Relate to Business   1.2.1 Business in a Law-Based Society   - Reading: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 1, Section 4: Importance of Rule of Law to Business" Link: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 1, Section 4: Importance of Rule of Law to Business” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read Section 4 from Chapter 1 of the textbook.  Focus
on the discussion of how the rule of law provides guidance in all
areas of business.  When you have finished reading this section,
complete the four exercises following the “Key Takeaways” box at the
end of the section.  

 Reading this textbook section and completing the exercises should
take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution, as requested by the work’s original creator or
licensee.

1.2.2 An Overview of Laws Affecting Business   - Reading: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 1, Section 5: How Law Affects Business Disciplines" Link: The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business: “Chapter 1, Section 5: How Law Affects Business Disciplines” (PDF)

 Instructions: It would be counterproductive to operate in the
business world – in any capacity – without a sound familiarity with
the application of law to business.  The law impacts every area of
company operations – from accounting and finance to management and
marketing.  This textbook section will help you understand how the
law influences various business disciplines.  When you are finished
reading this section, complete the four exercises under the “Key
Takeaways” box at the end of the section.  

 Reading this textbook section and completing the exercises should
take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution, as requested by the work’s original creator or
licensee.