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Authorities

court legal authority law

Governmental entities that have been created and delegated with official responsibilities, such as a county highway authority. In legal research and citation, entities cited as sources of law, such as statutes, judicial decisions, and legal textbooks. Parties support their positions in a lawsuit by citing authorities in briefs, motions, and other documents submitted to the court.

Primary authorities are citations to statutes, court decisions, and government regulations that, if having the force of law, must be applied by the court to dispose of the issue in dispute if they are relevant to the matter. Secondary authorities are references to treatises, textbooks, or restatements that explain and review general principles of law that buttress a party's position in a lawsuit. Such authorities have no legal effect and can be disregarded by the court.

Authorities are also cited by scholars in legal treatises, hornbooks and restatements to establish the bases of the statements and conclusions contained in the works.

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