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Definition of Common law

Babylon English

law which is determined by judges, method of lawmaking that began in England; unwritten law, law that is based on past legal decisions
Common law Definition from Language, Idioms & Slang Dictionaries & Glossaries
hEnglish - advanced version

common law
n : (civil law) a law established by following earlier judicial decisions [syn: case law, precedent]

WordNet 2.0

1. (civil law) a law established by following earlier judicial decisions
(synonym) case law, precedent
(hypernym) civil law
(classification) civil law
(class) service
2. a system of jurisprudence based on judicial precedents rather than statutory laws; "common law originated in the unwritten laws of England and was later applied in the United States"
(synonym) case law, precedent
(hypernym) law, jurisprudence
(classification) law, jurisprudence

1. based on common law; "a common-law right"
(synonym) common-law(p)
(similar) unwritten
Common law Definition from Business & Finance Dictionaries & Glossaries
UNODC Money-Laundering Terms
A judge-made law that originated in England from the decisions shaped according to prevailing custom. Decisions were reapplied to similar situations and, thus, gradually became common to the nation.
Copyright © 2005 UNODC - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Common law Definition from Social Science Dictionaries & Glossaries
A Glossary of Political Economy Terms
Legally binding rules or principles of justice developed in the course of history from the gradual accumulation of rulings by judges in individual cases, as differentiated from the kind of statute law embodied in special legal codes or statutes enacted by legislative assemblies or imposed by executive decrees. The importance of the common law heritage is particularly great in the legal systems of Great Britain and of most former British colonies, including the U.S.

[See also: tort, contract, property rights]

National Standards for Civics and Government
Body of unwritten law developed in England from judicial decisions based on custom and earlier judicial decisions. It constituted the basis of the English legal system and became part of American law.
Common law Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
English Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia
Common law (also known as case law or precedent) is law developed by judges, courts, and similar tribunals, stated in decisions that nominally decide individual cases but that in addition have precedential effect on future cases. Common law is a third branch of law, in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, and regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch.

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Common law Definition from Law Dictionaries & Glossaries
The 'Lectric Law Library
That which derives its force and authority from the universal consent and immemorial practice of the people. The system of jurisprudence that originated in England and which was latter adopted in the U.S. that is based on precedent instead of statutory laws.

Traditional law of an area or region; also known as case law. The law created by judges when deciding individual disputes or cases. The body of law which includes both the unwritten law of England and the statutes passed before the settlement of the United States.

In Old England there were two types of Courts - law and equity. In the law court the Judge applied statutes. As time went on situations that were not covered by statutes were uncovered and Judges 'created' law, usually in equity. This is 'common law.'

The U.S. is a common law country. In all states except Louisiana (which is based on the French civil code), the common law of England was adopted as the general law of the state, EXCEPT when a statute provides otherwise. Common law has no statutory basis; judges establish common law through written opinions that are binding on future decisions of lower courts in the same jurisdiction. Broad areas of the law, most notably relating to property, contracts and torts are traditionally part of the common law. These areas of the law are mostly within the jurisdiction of the states and thus state courts are the primary source of common law. Thus, 'common law' is used to fill in gaps. Common law changes over time, and at this time, each state has its own common law on many topics. The area of federal common law is primarily limited to federal issues that have not been addressed by a statute.

Even if federal common law otherwise would operate, it is displaced when Congress has decided the matter. See, e.g., Central Bank v. First Interstate Bank of Denver, N.A., 114 S.Ct. 1439, 1448 (1994) (holding that the conclusion that Congress did not intend to impose aiding and abetting liability under section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act 'resolve[d] the case' notwithstanding the acknowledged power of the federal courts, with respect to the section 10(b) actions, to fashion federal common law that 'attempt[s] to infer `how . . . Congress would have addressed the issue,'' (quoting Musick, Peeler & Garrett v. Employers Ins. of Wausau, 113 S.Ct. 2085, 2090 (1993).
Courtesy of the 'Lectric Law Library. Legal Dictionary
Judge-made law. Law which exists and applies to a group on the basis of historical legal precedents developed over hundreds of years. - (read more on Common law)
2008 All rights reserved.
A body of law, sometimes referred to as "case law," developed by judges over many years which establishes how courts interpret statutes and handle matters not specifically covered by statutes.
Massachusetts Divorce Law Dictionary
A body of law, sometimes referred to as "case law," developed by judges over many years which establishes how courts interpret statutes and handle matters not specifically covered by statutes.
HMCS Legal Terms
The law established, by precedent, from judicial decisions and established within a community 
By Her Majesty's Courts Service. Published under Crown Copyright.
Common law Definition from Sports Dictionaries & Glossaries
Law that derives its force and authority from precedent, custom and usage rather than from statutes, particularly with reference to the laws of England and the United States.
Common law Definition from Society & Culture Dictionaries & Glossaries
Social Work in Canada
the body of law developed as a result of custom and judicial decisions, as distinct from the law laid down by legislative assemblies.