Law of North Carolina

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The law of North Carolina consists of several levels, including constitutional, statutory, regulatory, case law, and local law.

Sources[edit]

The Constitution of North Carolina is the foremost source of state law. Legislation is enacted by the General Assembly, published in the North Carolina Session Laws, and codified in the North Carolina General Statutes. State agency regulations (sometimes called administrative law) are published in the North Carolina Register and codified in the North Carolina Administrative Code. North Carolina's legal system is based on common law, which is interpreted by case law through the decisions of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, which are published in the North Carolina Reports and North Carolina Court of Appeals Reports, respectively. Counties, cities, towns, and villages may also promulgate local ordinances.

Constitution[edit]

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

Legislation[edit]

Pursuant to the state constitution, the North Carolina General Assembly has enacted legislation. Its session laws are published in the official Session Laws of North Carolina.[1] They are in turn codified as the General Statutes of North Carolina.[1] The General Statutes are published by LexisNexis and are annotated.[1] West's North Carolina General Statutes Annotated are an unofficial version published by West and are also annotated.[1] The North Carolina Colonial Session Laws contain the session laws of 1715–1776.[1]

Regulations[edit]

Pursuant to certain statutes, state agencies have promulgated regulations, also known as administrative law. The North Carolina Register includes information about state agency rules, administrative rules, executive orders and other notices, and is published bimonthly.[1] The State of North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC) contains all the rules adopted by the state agencies and occupational licensing boards in North Carolina.[1] Both are compiled and published by the Rules Division of the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings.[2]

Case law[edit]

The legal system of North Carolina is based on the common law. Like all U.S. states except Louisiana, North Carolina 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 North Carolina have developed a large body of case law through the decisions of the North Carolina Supreme Court and North Carolina Court of Appeals.

The decisions of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are published in the North Carolina Reports and North Carolina Court of Appeals Reports, respectively.[3] Opinions are first published online on filing day as slip opinions, and may be withdrawn or corrected until the mandate issues 20 days later.[3] Slip opinions are then printed with headnotes and other finding aids in soft-bound books called Advance Sheets and online, and are given citations to the official reports. Advance sheets are then compiled and printed in the hard-bound volumes of the North Carolina Reports and North Carolina Court of Appeals Reports, respectively.[3] Trial court opinions are often neither written nor published.[4]

Local ordinances[edit]

Local governments are created by acts of the General Assembly, which define their boundaries and approve their charters.[5] These charters can be changed by legislative action or, in certain cases, by home rule amendments adopted by the local governments.[5] Local government charters and legislative amendments can be found in the North Carolina Session Laws, and all home rule changes must be filed with the Secretary of State and the Legislative Library.[5]

See also[edit]

Topics[edit]

Other[edit]

References[edit]

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