Companies have an interest in ensuring that their disputes with others are resolved fairly, in a jurisdiction that is perceived to treat all litigants equally before the law, regardless of their size, wealth or power. In healthcare, we know that our work touches lives, often in personal ways. In order to be credible in the outcome of litigation involving such issues and to maintain public trust, the system must be fair not only to Merck and other companies, but also to individuals, including those with whom companies seek a legal solution. Scotland, Louisiana, Mauritius and Quebec are examples of private law based on older civil and customary rules (not codified in Scotland) that persist in a common law environment. Israel has its own system, in which the former Ottoman and British mandates are now supplanted by a modern system. It does not have a single constitutional document, but much of modern law combines the great legislative simplicity of the main civil codes with the careful transparency of the common law judgment. This was only the second time the Supreme Court had ruled on a sexual harassment case. Many feminist jurists feared that the court would raise the bar and make it harder to win hostile working conditions cases under Title VII. That did not happen. If the issue to be decided is combined with the court`s decision, we get the decision of the case. In the present case, the question referred by the Court and its answer lead to the conclusion that `a worker does not have to prove serious psychological harm in order to succeed in a case of sexual harassment in Title VII`.
That finding is valid until the Court of First Instance takes up a similar question and answers it differently. It happens, but it rarely happens. Most of what we discuss in this book is positive law – especially American positive law. We will also examine the laws and legal systems of other nations. But first, it will be useful to cover some basic concepts and distinctions. Private law defines who is considered to have legal capacity and deals with their legal capacity (for the protection of the very young or mentally ill). These natural persons may create other “artificial” legal entities such as associations, foundations and companies. On the other hand, procedural laws are the rules of courts and administrative authorities. They tell us what to do if there is a fundamental problem. For example, if you drive fifty-three miles per hour in a forty-mile-per-hour zone on Main Street on a Saturday night and receive a ticket, you have violated a substantial legal standard (the specified speed limit). How the court decides and what is decided is a matter of procedural law. It is up to the courts to interpret the laws.
It is up to judges and juries to decide whether we have actually broken the law. In nations that were former colonies of European nations, different ethnic and tribal factions often made it difficult for a single, unified government to govern effectively. In Rwanda, for example, power struggles between Hutu and Tutsi led to the genocide of the Tutsi minority. (Genocide is the deliberate and systematic killing or expulsion of one group of people by another group.