Law of Massachusetts

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The law of Massachusetts consists of several levels, including constitutional, statutory, regulatory, case law, and local ordinances. The General Laws of Massachusetts form the general statutory law.

Contents

Sources

The Constitution of Massachusetts is the foremost source of state law. Legislation is enacted by the General Court, published in the Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts , and codified in the General Laws of Massachusetts . State agency regulations (sometimes called administrative law) are published in the Massachusetts Register and codified in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations . The legal system is based on common law, which is interpreted by case law through the decisions of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and the Appellate Divisions of the Massachusetts District Court and the Boston Municipal Court departments, which are published in the Massachusetts Reports , Massachusetts Appeals Court Reports , and Massachusetts Appellate Division Reports , respectively. Cities and towns may also promulgate bylaws and local ordinances.

Constitution

The foremost source of state law is the Constitution of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Constitution in turn is subordinate to the Constitution of the United States, which is the supreme law of the land.

Legislation

Pursuant to the state constitution, the Massachusetts General Court has enacted legislation. Its session laws are published in the official Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts . They are in turn codified as the General Laws of Massachusetts .

Regulations

Pursuant to certain statutes, state agencies have promulgated regulations, which along with administrative orders and decisions form part of the body of administrative law. [1] The Massachusetts Register is the bi-weekly publication that contains new and amended (permanent and emergency) regulations, notices of hearings and comment periods, notices of public interest, executive orders by the Governor, Attorney General opinions, a cumulative table of changes to regulations published during the current calendar year, and a list of Acts and Resolves passed by the General Court. [1] [2] The Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) is the canonical compilation of regulations promulgated by state agencies pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act and is updated through the Massachusetts Register. [1] Both the Code of Massachusetts Regulations and Massachusetts Register are published by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. [1]

Case law

The legal system of Massachusetts is based on the common law. Like all U.S. states except Louisiana, Massachusetts has a reception statute providing for the "reception" of English law. All statutes, regulations, and ordinances are subject to judicial review. Pursuant to common law tradition, the courts of Massachusetts have developed a large body of case law through the decisions of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Massachusetts Appeals Court. The decisions of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and the Appellate Divisions of the Massachusetts District Court and the Boston Municipal Court departments, which are published in the Massachusetts Reports , Massachusetts Appeals Court Reports , and Massachusetts Appellate Division Reports , respectively. [3] [4] The Massachusetts Law Reporter publishes decisions from the Massachusetts Superior Court. [4] [5] MassCourts is the case management system used by the courts. [6]

Local ordinances

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Code of Massachusetts Regulations FAQ". Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries . Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  2. "Massachusetts Register Subscription Information". Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth . Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  3. "Civil Procedure Research Guide". Northeastern University School of Law . Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  4. 1 2 "Massachusetts Law". Massachusetts. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  5. "The Massachusetts Law Reporter". Connecticut Law Book Company. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  6. Wallack, Todd (12 April 2015). "Massachusetts courts' long-delayed computer system may leave public out". The Boston Globe .