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Encyclopedia > Common law

In common law legal systems, the law is created and/or refined by judges: a decision in the case currently pending depends on decisions in previous cases and affects the law to be applied in future cases. When there is no authoritative statement of the law, common law judges have the authority and duty to make law by creating precedent.[1] The body of precedent is called "common law" and it binds future decisions. In future cases, when parties disagree on what the law is, an idealized common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision (this principle is known as stare decisis). If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, it will decide as a "matter of first impression." Thereafter, the new decision becomes precedent, and will bind future courts under the principle of stare decisis. For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... Judges may refer to the Book of Judges in the Bible more than one judge. ... This article is about the legal term. ... This article is about the legal term. ... Stare decisis (Latin: , Anglicisation: , to stand by things decided) is a Latin legal term, used in common law systems to express the notion that prior court decisions must be recognized as precedents, according to case law. ... A case of first impression is a case or controversy over an interpretation of law never before reported or decided by that court. ... Stare decisis (Latin: , Anglicisation: , to stand by things decided) is a Latin legal term, used in common law systems to express the notion that prior court decisions must be recognized as precedents, according to case law. ...


In practice, common law systems are considerably more complicated than the idealized system described above. The decisions of a court are binding only in a particular jurisdiction, and even within a given jurisdiction, some courts have more power than others. For example, in most jurisdictions, decisions by appellate courts are binding on lower courts in the same jurisdiction and on future decisions of the same appellate court, but decisions of non-appellate courts are only non-binding persuasive authority. Interactions between common law, constitutional law, statutory law and regulatory law also give rise to considerable complexity. However stare decisis, the principle that similar cases should be decided according to similar rules, lies at the heart of all common law systems. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... An appellate court is a court that hears cases in which a lower court -- either a trial court or a lower-level appellate court — has already made some decision, which at least one party to the action wants to challenge based upon some legal grounds that are allowed to be... The French Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen, whose principles still have constitutional value Constitutional law is the study of foundational or basic laws of nation states and other political organizations. ... A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... Administrative law in the United States often relates to, or arises from, so-called independent agencies- such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Here is FTCs headquarters in Washington D.C. Administrative law (or regulatory law) is the body of law that arises from the activities of administrative agencies...


Common law legal systems are in widespread use, particularly in those nations which trace their legal heritage to Britain, including the United Kingdom, most of the United States and Canada, and other former colonies of the British Empire but not in India where legal system goes by written law. The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...

Contents

Primary definitions

There are three main connotations to the term common law, and several historical ones worth mentioning:


1. Common law as opposed to statutory law and regulatory law

This connotation distinguishes the authority that promulgated a law. For example, in most areas of law in most jurisdictions in the United States, there are "statutes" enacted by a legislature, "regulations" promulgated by executive branch agencies pursuant to a delegation of rule-making authority from a legislature, and common law or "case law", i.e. decisions issued by courts (or quasi-judicial tribunals within agencies). This first connotation can be further differentiated, into (a) laws that arise purely from the common law with no express statutory authority, e.g. most criminal law and procedural law before the 20th century, and even today, most of contract law and the law of torts, and (b) decisions that discuss and decide the fine boundaries and distinctions in written laws promulgated by other bodies, such as the Constitution, statutes and regulations. See statutory law and non-statutory law. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Statute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... A legislatureis a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to ratify laws. ... Case law (also known as decisional law) is that body of reported judicial opinions in countries that have common law legal systems that are published and thereby become precedent, i. ... This article is about courts of law. ... A tribunal is a generic term for any body acting judicially, whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title. ... for other uses please see Crime (disambiguation) A crime is an act that violates a political or moral law. ... A contract is any promise or set of promises made by one party to another for the breach of which the law provides a remedy. ... Statutory law is written law (as opposed to oral or customary law) set down by a legislature or other governing authority such as the executive branch of government in response to a perceived need to clarify the functioning of government, improve civil order, answer a public need, to codify existing... Common Law, now often referred to as Non-statutory law is the foundation for justice in the Union States under our constitional scheme. ...


2. Common law legal systems as opposed to civil law legal systems

This connotation differentiates "common law" jurisdictions and legal systems from "civil law" or "code" jurisdictions. Common law systems place great weight on court decisions, which are considered "law" just as are statutes. By contrast, in civil law jurisdictions (the legal tradition that prevails in, or is combined with common law in, almost all non-Islamic, non-common law countries), judicial precedent is given less weight, and contributions by scholars are also considered. For example, the Napoleonic code expressly forbade French judges from pronouncing the law.[2] For other uses of civil law, see civil law. ... In law, codification is the process of collecting and restating the law of a jurisdiction in certain areas, usually by subject, forming the legal code. ...


3. Law as opposed to equity

This connotation differentiates "common law" (or just "law") from "equity". Before 1873, England had two parallel court systems: courts of "law" that could only award money damages and recognized only the legal owner of property, and courts of "equity" that could issue injunctive relief and recognized trusts of property. This split propagated to many of the colonies, including the United States (see "Reception Statutes," below). The distinction between "law" and "equity" was important in: (a) categorising and prioritizing rights to property; (b) in the United States, determining whether the Seventh Amendment's right to a jury trial applies (a determination of a fact necessary to resolution of a "common law" claim[3]) or whether the issue may be decided by a judge (issues of what the law is, and all issues relating to equity); and (c) in the principles that apply to the grant of equitable remedies by the courts. For most purposes, most jurisdictions, including those within the US, have merged the two courts. Additionally, even before the separate courts were merged together, most courts were permitted to apply both law and equity (though under potentially different laws of procedure). Even so, the split survives and remains relevant for determining at least these three classes of issues. Other exceptions are discussed in "Common Law Systems," below. The Court of Chancery, London, early 19th century This article is about the concept of equity in the jurisprudence of common law countries. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... Look up Injunction in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The term trust has several meanings: In sociology, trust is willing acceptance of one persons power to affect another. ... Property designates those things that are commonly recognized as the entities that a person or group has exclusive rights in respect of. ... “Seventh Amendment” redirects here. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Jury. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In law, equitable remedies are the remedies developed and granted by the old courts of equity, such as the Courts of Chancery in England, and still available today in common law jurisdictions. ...


4. Historical uses

In addition, there are several historical uses of the term that provide some background as to its meaning. The English Court of Common Pleas dealt with lawsuits in which the king had no interest, i.e. between commoners. Additionally, from at least the 11th century and continuing for several centuries after that, there were several different circuits in the royal court system, served by itinerant judges who would travel from town to town dispensing the King's justice. The term "common law" was used to describe the law held in common between the circuits and the different stops in each circuit. The more widely a particular law was recognized, the more weight it held, whereas purely local customs were generally subordinate to law recognized in a plurality of jurisdictions. These definitions are archaic, their relevance having dissipated with the development of the English legal system over the centuries, but they do explain the origin of the term. English common law courts before the Judicature Acts The Court of Common Pleas was a common law court in the English legal system before the reforms of the Judicature Act 1873. ...


Basic principles of common law

Common law adjudication

In a common law jurisdiction several stages of research and analysis are required to determine what "the law is" in a given situation. First, one must ascertain the facts. Then, one must locate any relevant statutes and cases. Then one must extract the principles, analogies and statements by various courts of what they consider important to determine how the next court is likely to rule on the facts of the present case. Later decisions, and decisions of higher courts or legislatures carry more weight than earlier cases and those of lower courts.[4] Finally, one integrates all the lines drawn and reasons given, and determines what "the law is". Then, one applies that law to the facts.


The common law is more malleable than statutory law. First, common law courts are not absolutely bound by precedent, but can (when extraordinarily good reason is shown) reinterpret and revise the law, without legislative intervention, to adapt to new trends in political, legal and social philosophy. Second, the common law evolves through a series of gradual steps, that gradually works out all the details, so that over a decade or more, the law can change substantially but without a sharp break, thereby reducing disruptive effects. In contrast, the legislative process is very difficult to get started: legislatures do not act until a situation is totally intolerable. Because of this, legislative changes tend to be large, jarring and disruptive (either positively or negatively).


One example of the gradual change that typifies the common law is the gradual change in liability for negligence. For example, the traditional common law rule through most of the 19th century was that a plaintiff could not recover for a defendant's negligence unless the two were in privity of contract. Thus, only the immediate purchaser could recover for a product defect, and if a part was built up out of parts from parts manufacturers, the ultimate buyer could not recover for injury caused by a defect in the part. Winterbottom v. Wright, 10 M&W 109, 152 Eng.Rep. 402, 1842 WL 5519 (Exchequer of pleas 1842). In Winterbottom, the postal service had contracted with Wright to maintain its coaches. Winterbottom was a driver for the post. When the coach failed and injured Winterbottom, he sued Wright. The Winterbottom court recognized that there would be "absurd and outrageous consequences" if an injured person could sue any person peripherally involved, but could not find a good place to draw a line around the causal connection between the negligent conduct and the injury other than to limit liability to only the immediate person in contract with the negligent party. A first exception to this rule arose in Thomas v. Winchester, 6 N.Y. 397 (N.Y. 1852) which held that mislabeling a poison as an innocuous herb, and then selling the mislabeled poison through a dealer who would be expected to resell it, put "human life in imminent danger." Thomas used this as a reason to create an exception to the "privity" rule. In Statler v. Ray Mfg. Co., 195 N.Y. 478, 480 (N.Y. 1909) held that a coffee urn manufacturer was liable to a person injured when the urn exploded, because the urn "was of such a character inherently that, when applied to the purposes for which it was designed, it was liable to become a source of great danger to many people if not carefully and properly constructed." Winterbottom v. ...


Yet the privity rule survived. In Cadillac Motor Car Co. v Johnson, 221 F. 801 (2nd Cir. 1915) (decided by the federal appeals court for New York and several neighboring states), the court held that a car owner could not recover for injuries from a defective wheel, when the automobile owner only had a contract with the automobile dealer, not with the manufacturer, even though there was "no question that the wheel was made of dead and ‘dozy‘ wood, quite insufficient for its purposes."


Finally, in the famous case of MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co., 217 N.Y. 382, 111 N.E. 1050 (N.Y. 1916), Judge Cardozo pulled a broader principle out of these predecessor cases. The facts were almost identical to Cadillac a year earlier: a wheel from a wheel manufacturer was sold to Buick, to a dealer, to MacPherson, and the wheel failed, injuring MacPherson. Judge Cardozo held:

We hold, then, that the principle of Thomas v. Winchester is not limited to poisons, explosives, and things of like nature, to things which in their normal operation are implements of destruction. If the nature of a thing is such that it is reasonably certain to place life and limb in peril when negligently made, it is then a thing of danger. Its nature gives warning of the consequences to be expected. If to the element of danger there is added knowledge that the thing will be used by persons other than the purchaser, and used without new tests then, irrespective of contract, the manufacturer of this thing of danger is under a duty to make it carefully. ... There must be knowledge of a danger, not merely possible, but probable.

Note that Cardozo's new "rule" exists in no prior case, but is inferable as a synthesis of the principles stated in them, and represents a foreseeable progression. Importantly, note that Judge Cardozo continues to adhere to the original principle of Winterbottom, that "absurd and outrageous consequences" must be avoided, and he does so by drawing a new line in the last sentence quoted above: "There must be knowledge of a danger, not merely possible, but probable." But while adhering to the underlying principle, MacPherson overruled the rule of the prior common law by stating that privity was irrelevant. Winterbottom v. ... MacPherson v. ...


Interaction of constitutional, statute and common law

In common law legal systems (connotation 2), the common law (connotation 1) is crucial to understanding almost all important areas of law. For example, in England and Wales and in most states of the United States, the basic laws of contracts, torts and property do not exist in statute, but only in common law (though there may be isolated modifications enacted by statute). In almost all areas of the law (even those where there is a statutory framework, such as contracts for the sale of goods[5], or the criminal law[6]), other written laws generally give only terse statements of general principle, and the fine boundaries and definitions exist only in the common law (connotation 1). To find out what the precise law is that applies to a particular set of facts, one has to locate precedential decisions on the topic, and reason from those decisions by analogy. To consider but one example, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" – but interpretation (that is, determining the fine boundaries, and resolving the tension between the "establishment" and "free exercise" clauses) of each of the important terms was delegated by Article III of the Constitution to the judicial branch[7], so that the current legal boundaries of the Constitutional text can only be determined by consulting the common law. A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties that the law will enforce. ... Not to be confused with torte, an iced cake. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the legal term. ... Analogy is both the cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. ... “First Amendment” redirects here. ... Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate President pro tempore Dick Cheney, (R) since January 20, 2001 Robert C. Byrd, (D) since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D) since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political...


In common law jurisdictions, legislatures operate under the assumption that statutes will be interpreted against the backdrop of the pre-existing common law case law and custom, and so may leave a number of things unsaid. For example, in most U.S. states, the criminal statutes are primarily codification of pre-existing common law. (Codification is the process of enacting a statute that collects and restates pre-existing law in a single document - when that pre-existing law is common law, the common law remains relevant to the interpretation of these statutes.) In reliance on this assumption, modern statutes often leave a number of terms and fine distinctions unstated -- for example, a statute might be very brief, leaving the precise definition of terms unstated, under the assumption that these fine distinctions will be inherited from pre-existing common law. For this reason, even today American law schools teach the common law of crime as practised in England in 1789, because the backdrop of centuries-old English common law is necessary to interpret and fully understand the literal words of the modern criminal statute. The Statute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... Case law (also known as decisional law) is that body of reported judicial opinions in countries that have common law legal systems that are published and thereby become precedent, i. ... In law, codification is the process of collecting and restating the law of a jurisdiction in certain areas, usually by subject, forming the legal code. ...


With the transition from English law, which had common law crimes, to the new legal system under the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited ex post facto laws at both the federal and state level, the question was raised whether there could be common law crimes in the United States. It was settled in the case of United States v. Hudson and Goodwin[8] which decided that common law crimes were prohibited (at least at the Federal level), and that there must always be a (constitutional) statute defining the offense and the penalty for it. Page I of the Constitution of the United States of America Page II of the United States Constitution Page III of the United States Constitution Page IV of the United States Constitution The Syng inkstand, with which the Constitution was signed The Constitution of the United States is the supreme... An ex post facto law (from the Latin for from something done afterward) or retroactive law, is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of acts committed or the legal status of facts and relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law. ...


By contrast to the statutory codifications of common law, some laws are purely statutory, and may create a new cause of action beyond the common law. An example is the tort of wrongful death, which allows certain persons, usually a spouse, child or estate, to sue for damages on behalf of the deceased. There is no such tort in English common law; thus, any jurisdiction that lacks a wrongful death statute will not allow a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a loved one. Where a wrongful death statute exists, the compensation or other remedy available is limited to the remedy specified in the statute (typically, an upper limit on the amount of damages). Courts generally interpret statutes that create new causes of action narrowly – that is, limited to their precise terms – because the courts generally recognize the legislature as being supreme in deciding the reach of judge-made law unless such statute should violate some "second order" constitutional law provision (cf. judicial activism). In the law, a cause of action is a recognized kind of legal claim that a plaintiff pleads or alleges in a complaint to start a lawsuit. ... Not to be confused with torte, an iced cake. ... Wrongful death is a claim in tort against a person who can be held liable for a death. ... At common law, an estate is the totality of the legal rights, interests, entitlements and obligations attaching to property. ... The French Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen, whose principles still have constitutional value Constitutional law is the study of foundational or basic laws of nation states and other political organizations. ... Judicial activism is a term used by political commentators to describe a tendency by judges to consider outcomes, attitudinal preferences, and other public policy issues in interpreting applicable existing law. ...


Where a tort is rooted in common law, then all traditionally recognized damages for that tort may be sued for, whether or not there is mention of those damages in the current statutory law. For instance, a person who sustains bodily injury through the negligence of another may sue for medical costs, pain, suffering, loss of earnings or earning capacity, mental and/or emotional distress, loss of quality of life, disfigurement and more. These damages need not be set forth in statute as they already exist in the tradition of common law. However, without a wrongful death statute, most of them are extinguished upon death. In law, damages refers to the money paid or awarded to a claimant (as it is known in the UK) or plaintiff (in the US) following their successful claim in a civil action. ... Statutory law is written law (as opposed to oral or customary law) set down by a legislature or other governing authority such as the executive branch of government in response to a perceived need to clarify the functioning of government, improve civil order, answer a public need, to codify existing... Negligence is a legal concept usually used to achieve compensation for injuries (not accidents). ...


Contrasting role of treatises and academic writings in common law and civil law systems

In many subject matter areas, legal treatises compile common law decisions, and state overarching principles that (in the author's opinion) explain the results of the cases. However, in common law jurisdictions, treatises are not the law, and lawyers and judges tend to use these treatises as only "finding aids" to locate the relevant cases.


This is one of the "cultural" differences between common law and civil law jurisdictions (connotation 2): in civil law jurisdictions, the writings of law professors are given significant weight by courts. In common law jurisdictions, scholarly work is seldom cited as authority for what the law is.[9] When common law courts rely on scholarly work, it is almost always only for factual findings, policy justification, or the history and evolution of the law, but the court's legal conclusion is reached through analysis of relevant statutes and common law, seldom scholarly commentary. // A law school is an institution where future lawyers obtain legal degrees. ... Legal history is a term that has at least two meanings. ...


Common law as a foundation for commercial economies

This reliance on judicial opinion is a strength of common law systems, and is a significant contributor to the robust commercial systems in the United Kingdom and United States. Because there is common law to give reasonably precise guidance on almost every issue, parties (especially commercial parties) can predict whether a proposed course of action is likely to be lawful or unlawful. This ability to predict gives more freedom to come close to the boundaries of the law.[10] For example, many commercial contracts are more economically efficient, and create greater wealth, because the parties know ahead of time that the proposed arrangement, though perhaps close to the line, is almost certainly legal. Newspapers, taxpayer-funded entities with some religious affiliation, and political parties can obtain fairly clear guidance on the boundaries within which their freedom of expression rights apply. In contrast, in non-common-law countries, fine questions of law are redetermined anew each time they arise, making consistency and prediction more difficult. Thus, in jurisdictions that do not have a strong allegiance to a large body of precedent, parties have less a priori guidance must often leave a bigger "safety margin" of unexploited opportunities.


This is the reason for the frequent choice of the law of the State of New York in commercial contacts from throughout the United States. In particular, English law and New York law are often used in contracts throughout the world, even where the relationship of the contact parties and transaction to England or New York is quite attenuated. Because of its history as the nation's commercial center, English and New York common law have a depth and predictability not (yet) available in any other jurisdiction.


History of the common law

Common law originally developed under the inquisitorial system in England during the 12th and 13th centuries,[11] as the collective judicial decisions that were based in tradition, custom and precedent. Such forms of legal institutions and culture bear resemblance to those which existed historically in societies where precedent and custom have at times played a substantial role in the legal process, including Germanic law[12] and particularly Islamic law.[13] An inquisitorial system is a legal system where the court or a part of the court is actively involved in determining the facts of the case, as opposed to an adversarial system where the role of the court is solely that of an impartial referee between parties. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Tradition (disambiguation). ... In law, custom can be described as the established patterns of behavior that can be objectively verified within a particular social setting. ... This article is about the legal term. ... Customary law codes of the Germans before their contact with the Romans. ... Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic religious law. ...


The form of reasoning used in common law is known as casuistry or case-based reasoning. The common law, as applied in civil cases (as distinct from criminal cases), was devised as a means of compensating someone for wrongful acts known as torts, including both intentional torts and torts caused by negligence, and as developing the body of law recognizing and regulating contracts. The type of procedure practiced in common law courts is known as the adversarial system; this is also a development of the common law. Casuistry is a broad term that refers to a variety of forms of case-based reasoning. ... Case-based reasoning (CBR), broadly construed, is the process of solving new problems based on the solutions of similar past problems. ... Civil law has at least three meanings. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of law that regulates governmental sanctions (such as imprisonment and/or fines) as retaliation for crimes against the social order. ... In law, damages refers to the money paid or awarded to a claimant (as it is known in the UK) or plaintiff (in the US) following their successful claim in a civil action. ... Not to be confused with torte, an iced cake. ... Negligence is a legal concept usually used to achieve compensation for injuries (not accidents). ... A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties that the law will enforce. ... Legal procedure is the body of law and rules used in the administration of justice in the court system, including such areas as civil procedure, criminal procedure, appellate procedure, administrative procedure, labour procedure, and probate. ... The adversarial system (or adversary system) of law is the system of law, generally adopted in common law countries, that relies on the skill of each advocate representing his or her partys positions and involves a neutral person, usually the judge, trying to determine the truth of the case. ...


Medieval English common law

Before the Norman conquest in 1066, justice was administered primarily by county courts, presided by the diocesan bishop and the sheriff, exercising both ecclesiastical and civil jurisdiction.[14] Trial by jury began in these courts.[14] Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Bayeux Tapestry depicting events leading to the Battle of Hastings The Norman Conquest of England was the conquest of the Kingdom of England by William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy), in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings and the subsequent Norman control of England. ... The County Court is the workhorse of the civil justice system in England and Wales. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      This article... Look up Sheriff in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Ecclesiastical jurisdiction in its primary sense does not signify jurisdiction over ecclesiastics (church leadership), but jurisdiction exercised by church leaders over other leaders and over the laity. ...


In 1154, Henry II became the first Plantagenet king. Among many achievements, Henry institutionalized common law by creating a unified system of law "common" to the country through incorporating and elevating local custom to the national, ending local control and peculiarities, eliminating arbitrary remedies and reinstating a jury system – citizens sworn on oath to investigate reliable criminal accusations and civil claims. The jury reached its verdict through evaluating common local knowledge, not necessarily through the presentation of evidence, a distinguishing factor from today's civil and criminal court systems. Henry II of England (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189) ruled as King of England (1154–1189), Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. ... Angevin is the name applied to two distinct medieval dynasties which originated as counts (from 1360, dukes) of the western French province of Anjou (of which angevin is the adjectival form), but later came to rule far greater areas including England, Hungary and Poland (see Angevin Empire). ... For jury meaning makeshift, see jury rig. ... In law, a verdict indicates the judgment of a case before a court of law. ... The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e. ...


Henry II developed the practice of sending judges from his own central court to hear the various disputes throughout the country. His judges would resolve disputes on an ad hoc basis according to what they interpreted the customs to be. The king's judges would then return to London and often discuss their cases and the decisions they made with the other judges. These decisions would be recorded and filed. In time, a rule, known as stare decisis (also commonly known as precedent) developed, which is where a judge would be bound to follow the decision of an earlier judge; he was required to adopt the earlier judge's interpretation of the law and apply the same principles promulgated by that earlier judge if the two cases had similar facts to one another. By this system of precedent, decisions 'stuck' and became ossified, and so the pre-Norman system of disparate local customs was replaced by an elaborate and consistent system of laws that was common throughout the whole country, hence the name, "common law." Stare decisis (Latin: , Anglicisation: , to stand by things decided) is a Latin legal term, used in common law systems to express the notion that prior court decisions must be recognized as precedents, according to case law. ...


Henry II's creation of a powerful and unified court system, which curbed somewhat the power of canonical (church) courts, brought him (and England) into conflict with the church, most famously with Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Eventually, Becket was murdered inside Canterbury Cathedral by four knights who believed themselves to be acting on Henry's behalf. Whether Henry actually intended to bring about the assassination of Becket is doubtful, but there is no question that at the time of the murder, the two men were embroiled in a bitter dispute regarding the power of Royal Courts to exercise jurisdiction over former clergymen. The murder of the Archbishop, who was immediately venerated as a martyr and later as a saint, gave rise to a wave of popular outrage against the King. Henry was forced to repeal the disputed laws and to abandon his efforts to hold church members accountable for secular crimes (see also Constitutions of Clarendon). Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      Canon law is the term used for... St. ... The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader and senior clergyman of the Church of England, recognized by convention as the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. ... The Constitutions of Clarendon were a set of legislative procedures passed by Henry II of England in 1164. ...


In spite of this setback, judge-made common law endured for centuries as the primary source of criminal and civil laws throughout the realm. Later, after Parliament acquired legislative powers, statutory law began to limit the scope of the common law in some areas. Even today, however, common law retains its status as an essential element of the British legal system. The House of Representatives Chamber of the Parliament of Australia in Canberra. ... Statutory law is written law (as opposed to oral or customary law) set down by a legislature or other governing authority such as the executive branch of government in response to a perceived need to clarify the functioning of government, improve civil order, answer a public need, to codify existing...


Influence of medieval Islamic law

Main article: Sharia

Several fundamental common law instutitions may have been adapted from similar legal instututions in Islamic law and jurisprudence, and introduced to England after the Norman conquest of England by the Normans, who conquered and inherited the Islamic legal administration of the Emirate of Sicily, and also by Crusaders during the Crusades. In particular, the "royal English contract protected by the action of debt is identified with the Islamic Aqd, the English assize of novel disseisin is identified with the Islamic Istihqaq, and the English jury is identified with the Islamic Lafif."[13] The English trust and agency institutions in common law were possible adapted from the Islamic Waqf and Hawala institutions respectively during the Crusades.[15][16] It is worth noting, however, that transferring property to another for the "use" of another developed largely in response to the requirements of feudal inheritance law. Trust law, in particular, is a creature of equity which derived from the parallel jurisdiction of the Lord Chancellor to decide matters independently to the Royal Courts. Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic religious law. ... Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic religious law. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Battle of Hastings and the events leading to it. ... Norman conquests in red. ... Italy in 1000. ... This article is about the medieval crusades. ... A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties that the law will enforce. ... For other uses, see Debt (disambiguation). ... For jury meaning makeshift, see jury rig. ... This law-related article does not cite its references or sources. ... Agency is an area of commercial law dealing with a contractual or quasi-contractual tripartite set of relationships when an Agent is authorized to act on behalf of another <No it is not. ... This article is about the religious endowment. ... Hawala (also known as hundi) is an informal value transfer system based on performance and honor of a huge network of money brokers which are primarily located in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. ... The Court of Chancery, London, early 19th century This article is about the concept of equity in the jurisprudence of common law countries. ... The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor and prior to the Union the Chancellor of England and the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom, and its predecessor states. ...


Other English legal institutions such as "the scholastic method, the license to teach," the "law schools known as Inns of Court in England and Madrasas in Islam" and the "European commenda" (Islamic Qirad) may have also originated from Islamic law.[13] The methodology of legal precedent and reasoning by analogy (Qiyas) are also similar in both the Islamic and common law systems.[17] These similarities and influences have led some scholars to suggest that Islamic law may have laid the foundations for "the common law as an integrated whole".[13] To licence or grant licence is to give permission. ... This article is about institutional education. ... // A law school is an institution where future lawyers obtain legal degrees. ... Combined arms of the four Inns of Court. ... Ulugh Beg Madrasa, Samarkand, ca. ... A limited partnership is a form of partnership similar to a general partnership, except that in addition to one or more general partners (GPs), there are one or more limited partners (LPs). ... This article is about the legal term. ... Analogy is both the cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. ... In Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, Qiyas is the process of analogical reasoning from a known injunction (nass) to a new injunction. ...


Propagation of the common law to the colonies and commonwealth by Reception Statutes

Following the American Revolution, one of the first legislative acts undertaken by each of the newly independent states was to adopt "reception statutes" that gave legal effect to the existing body of English Common Law.[18] Some states enacted reception statutes as legislative statutes, while other states received the English common law through provisions of the state's constitution. John Trumbulls Declaration of Independence, showing the five-man committee in charge of drafting the Declaration in 1776 as it presents its work to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia The American Revolution refers to the period during the last half of the 18th century in which the Thirteen...


For example, the New York Constitution of 1777[19] provides that:

[S]uch parts of the common law of England, and of the statute law of England and Great Britain, and of the acts of the legislature of the colony of New York, as together did form the law of the said colony on the 19th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, shall be and continue the law of this State, subject to such alterations and provisions as the legislature of this State shall, from time to time, make concerning the same.

Alexander Hamilton emphasized in The Federalist that this New York constitutional provision expressly made the common law subject “to such alterations and provisions as the legislature shall from time to time make concerning the same.”[20] Thus, even when reception was effected by a constitution[21], the common law was still subject to alteration by a legislature's statute. Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 - July 12, 1804) was an Army officer, lawyer, Founding Father, American politician, leading statesman, financier and political theorist. ... Title page of an early Federalist compilation. ...


The Northwest Ordinance, which was approved by the Congress of the Confederation in 1787, guaranteed "judicial proceedings according to the course of the common law." Nathan Dane, the primary author of the Northwest Ordinance, viewed this provision as a default mechanism in the event that federal or territorial statutes were silent about a particular matter; he wrote that if "a statute makes an offence, and is silent as to the mode of trial, it shall be by jury, according to the course of the common law.”[22] In effect, the provision operated as a reception statute, giving legal authority to the established common law in the vast territories where no states had yet been established. Northwest Territory (1787). ... The Congress of the Confederation or the United States in Congress Assembled was a body of representatives appointed by the legislatures of the United States from March 1, 1781 to March 4, 1789. ... Nathan Dane (December 29, 1752 – February 15, 1835) was an American lawyer and statesman who represented Massachusetts in the Continental Congress from 1785 ro 1788. ...


Over time, as new states were formed from federal territories, these territorial reception statutes became obsolete and were re-enacted as state laws. For example, a reception statute enacted by legislation in the state of Washington requires that "[t]he common law, so far as it is not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States, or of the state of Washington nor incompatible with the institutions and condition of society in this state, shall be the rule of decision in all the courts of this state."[23] In this way, the common law was eventually incorporated into the legal systems of every state except Louisiana (which inherited its civil law system from France). This article is about the U.S. State. ... For other uses of civil law, see civil law. ...


A similar statute exists in Article 8 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China serves as the constitutional document of Hong Kong. ...


1870 through 20th century, and the merger of law and equity

As early as the 15th century, it became the practice that litigants who felt they had been cheated by the common-law system would petition the King in person. For example, they might argue that an award of damages (at common law) was not sufficient redress for a trespasser occupying their land, and instead request that the trespasser be evicted. From this developed the system of equity, administered by the Lord Chancellor, in the courts of chancery. By their nature, equity and law were frequently in conflict and litigation would frequently continue for years as one court countermanded the other, even though it was established by the 17th century that equity should prevail. A famous example is the fictional case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce in Bleak House, by Charles Dickens. For other uses, see Monarch (disambiguation). ... The Court of Chancery, London, early 19th century This article is about the concept of equity in the jurisprudence of common law countries. ... The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor and prior to the Union the Chancellor of England and the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom, and its predecessor states. ... One of the courts of equity in England and Wales. ... Jarndyce and Jarndyce is a fictional court case in chancery in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens. ... Bleak House is the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, published in 20 monthly parts between March 1852 and September 1853. ... Dickens redirects here. ...


In England, courts of law and equity were combined by the Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875, with equity being supreme in case of conflict. The Judicature Acts are two Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom, the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1873 (36 & 37 Vict. ...


In the United States, parallel systems of law (providing money damages, with cases heard by a jury upon either party's request) and equity (fashioning a remedy to fit the situation, including injunctive relief, heard by a judge) survived well into the 20th century. The United States federal courts procedurally separated law and equity: the same judges could hear either kind of case, but a given case could only pursue causes in law or in equity, and the two kinds of cases proceeded under different procedural rules. This became problematic when a given case required both money damages and injunctive relief. In 1937, the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure combined law and equity into one form of action, the "civil action." Fed.R.Civ.P. 2. The distinction survives to the extent that issues that were "common law" as of 1791 (the date of adoption of the Seventh Amendment) are still subject to the right of either party to request a jury, and "equity" issues are decided by a judge.[24] In law, damages refers to the money paid or awarded to a claimant (as it is known in the UK) or plaintiff (in the US) following their successful claim in a civil action. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      The United States federal courts are the system of courts organized under the... The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern civil procedure in the United States district courts, or more simply, court procedures for civil suits. ... “Seventh Amendment” redirects here. ...


Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi and New Jersey still have separate courts of law and equity, for example, the Court of Chancery. In many states there are separate divisions for law and equity within one court. This article is about the U.S. State. ... This article is about the U.S. State of Delaware. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... The Delaware Court of Chancery is a court of equity in the United States state of Delaware. ... A U.S. state is any one of the 50 states which have membership of the federation known as the United States of America (USA or U.S.). The separate state governments and the U.S. federal government share sovereignty. ...


Common law legal systems

     Common law      Mixed system using common law
     Common law      Mixed system using common law

The common law constitutes the basis of the legal systems of: England and Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, federal law in the United States and the states' laws (except Louisiana), federal law in Canada and the provinces' laws (except Quebec civil law), Australia (both federal and individual states), New Zealand, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Brunei, Pakistan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and many other generally English-speaking countries or Commonwealth countries (except Malta and Scotland). Essentially, every country which has been colonised at some time by England, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom uses common law except those that had been formerly colonised by other nations, such as Quebec (which follows French law to some extent), South Africa and Sri Lanka (which follow Roman Dutch law), where the prior civil law system was retained to respect the civil rights of the local colonists. India's system of common law is also a mixture of English law and the local Hindu law, except in the state of Goa which retains the Portuguese civil code. Nicaragua's legal system also is a mixture of the English Common Law and the Civil Law through the influence of British administration of the Eastern half of the country from the mid-1600's until about 1905, the William Walker period from about 1855 through 1857, USA interventions/occupations during the period from 1909 to 1933, the influence of USA institutions during the Somoza administrations (1933 through 1979) and the considerable importation between 1979 and the present of USA culture and institutions. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 370 pixels Full resolution (1350 × 625 pixel, file size: 34 KB, MIME type: image/png)  Common law  Mixed system using common law  civil, customary, and/or religious law, see other map for more details Countries which use common law, based... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 370 pixels Full resolution (1350 × 625 pixel, file size: 34 KB, MIME type: image/png)  Common law  Mixed system using common law  civil, customary, and/or religious law, see other map for more details Countries which use common law, based... Northern Ireland law concerns the legal system in Northern Ireland. ... The law of the United States is derived from the common law of England, which was in force at the time of the Revolutionary War. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Quebec law is unique in Canada because Quebec is the only province in Canada to have a civil law system. ... For other uses of civil law, see civil law. ... The legal system of Hong Kong is based on the rule of law and the independence of the Judiciary. ... The following is a list of countries where English is an official language, in order of population: India United States (de facto only; the USA has no official language) Nigeria Philippines United Kingdom Hong Kong South Africa Canada Kenya Uganda Ghana Sri Lanka Australia Cameroon Zimbabwe Malawi Zambia Sierra Leone... The Commonwealth of Nations as of 2007 Headquarters Marlborough House, London, UK Official languages English Membership 53 sovereign states Leaders  -  Queen Elizabeth II  -  Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma Appointed 24 November 2007 Establishment  -  Balfour Declaration 18 November 1926   -  Statute of Westminster 11 December 1931   -  London Declaration 28 April 1949  Area  -  Total... This article is about the country. ... Roman Dutch law is a legal system based on Roman law as applied in the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th century. ... English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ... Hindu law is a general term for the legal system—including philosophy of law and legal procedure—which existed in traditional India and was therefore coterminous with the institutions of the Hindu religion as they related to law in society. ... For other uses, see Goa (disambiguation). ...


The main alternative to the common law system is the civil law system, which is used in Continental Europe, and most of the rest of the world. The former Soviet Bloc and other Socialist countries used a Socialist law system (some of them use civil law system, for example, Lithuania). For other uses of civil law, see civil law. ... Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands and, at times, peninsulas. ... During the Cold War, the Eastern Bloc (or Soviet Bloc) comprised the following Central and Eastern European countries: Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Albania (until the early 1960s, see below), the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Socialist Legality. ...


The opposition between civil law and common law legal systems has become increasingly blurred, with the growing importance of jurisprudence (almost like case law but in name) in civil law countries, and the growing importance of statute law and codes in common law countries. An example of this is the United States, where matters of criminal law, commercial law (the Uniform Commercial Code in the early 1960s) and procedure (the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the 1930s and the Federal Rules of Evidence in the 1970s) have been codified. For the jurisprudence of courts, see Case law. ... Case law (also known as decisional law) is that body of reported judicial opinions in countries that have common law legal systems that are published and thereby become precedent, i. ... The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC or the Code) is one of a number of uniform acts that have been promulgated in conjunction with efforts to harmonize the law of sales and other commercial transactions in 49 states (all except Louisiana) within the United States of America. ... The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern civil procedure in the United States district courts, or more simply, court procedures for civil suits. ... The Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) are the rules that govern the admissibility of evidence in the United States federal court system. ...


Scotland is often said to use the civil law system but in fact it has a unique system that combines elements of an uncodified civil law dating back to the Corpus Juris Civilis with an element of common law long predating the Treaty of Union with England in 1707 (see Legal institutions of Scotland in the High Middle Ages). Scots common law differs in that the use of precedents is subject to the courts seeking to discover the principle which justifies a law rather than to search for an example as a precedent and that the principles of natural justice and fairness have always formed a source of Scots Law. Comparable pluralistic (or 'mixed') legal systems operate in Quebec, Louisiana and South Africa. This article is about the country. ... Scots law is a unique legal system with an ancient basis in Roman law. ... Justinian I depicted on a mosaic in the church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy The Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) is the modern name[1] for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Byzantine Emperor. ... Walter Thomas Monningtons 1925 painting called Parliamentary Union of England and Scotland 1707 hangs in the Palace of Westminster depicting the official presentation of the law that formed the United Kingdom of Great Britain. ... Scottish legal institutions in the High Middle Ages are, for the purposes of this article, the informal and formal systems which governed and helped to manage Scottish society between the years 900 and 1288, a period roughly corresponding with the general European era usually called the High Middle Ages. ... Natural justice is a legal philosophy used in some jurisdictions in the determination of just, or fair, processes in legal proceedings. ... World distribution of major legal traditions The three major legal systems of the world today consist of civil law, common law and religious law. ... This article is about the Canadian province. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ...


Israel has a mixed system of common law and civil law. While Israeli law is undergoing codification, its basic principles resemble those of British and American law, namely: the role of courts in creating the body of law and the authority of the supreme court in overturning legislative and executive decisions. The Supreme Court (Hebrew: בית המשפט העליון, Beit Hamishpat Haelyon ) is at the head of the court system in the State of Israel. ...


The U.S. state of California has a system based on common law, but it has codified the law in the manner of the civil law jurisdictions. The reason for the enactment of the codes in California in the nineteenth century was to replace a pre-existing system based on Spanish civil law with a system based on common law, similar to that in most other states. California and a number of other Western states, however, have retained the concept of community property derived from civil law. The California courts have treated portions of the codes as an extension of the common-law tradition, subject to judicial development in the same manner as judge-made common law. (Most notably, in the case Li v. Yellow Cab Co., 13 Cal.3d 804 (1975), the California Supreme Court adopted the principle of comparative negligence in the face of a California Civil Code provision codifying the traditional common-law doctrine of contributory negligence.) Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of... This article is about the U.S. state. ... In law, codification is the process of collecting and restating the law of a jurisdiction in certain areas, usually by subject, forming the legal code. ... For other uses of civil law, see civil law. ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... Community property is a marital property regime that originated in civil law jurisdictions, and is now also found in some common law jurisdictions. ... Li v. ... The Supreme Court of California is the state supreme court in California. ... Comparative negligence is a system of apportioning recovery for a tort based on a comparison of the plaintiffs negligence with the defendants. ... The California Civil Code, more formally known as The Civil Code of the State of California is a collection of civil law statutes for the State of California. ... Contributory negligence is a common law defence to a claim based on negligence, an action in tort. ...


The state of New York, which also has a civil law history from its Dutch colonial days, also began a codification of its laws in the 19th century. The only part of this codification process that was considered complete is known as the Field Code applying to civil procedure. The original colony of New Netherlands was settled by the Dutch and the law was also Dutch. When the English captured pre-existing colonies they continued to allow the local settlers to keep their civil law. However, the Dutch settlers revolted against the English and the colony was recaptured by the Dutch. When the English finally regained control of New Netherland they forced, as a punishment unique in the history of the British Empire, the English common law upon all the colonists, including the Dutch. This was problematic, as the patroonsystem of land holding, based on the feudal system and civil law, continued to operate in the colony until it was abolished in the mid-nineteenth century. The influence of Roman Dutch law continued in the colony well into the late nineteenth century. The codification of a law of general obligations shows how remnants of the civil law tradition in New York continued on from the Dutch days. This article is about the state. ... During the 17th century, Dutch traders established trade posts and plantations throughout the Americas; actual colonization, with Dutch settling in the new lands was not as common as with settlements of other European nations. ... In law, codification is the process of collecting and restating the law of a jurisdiction in certain areas, usually by subject, forming the legal code. ... New Netherland (Dutch Nieuw-Nederland, Latin: Nova Belgica) was the territory claimed by the Netherlands on the eastern coast of North America in the 17th century. ... Motto Dieu et mon droit(French) God and my right Territory of the Kingdom of England Capital Winchester; London from 11th century Language(s) Old English (de facto, until 1066) Anglo-Norman language (de jure, 1066 - 15th century) English (de facto, gradually replaced French from late 13th century) Government Monarchy... The Second Anglo-Dutch War was fought between England and the United Provinces from 4 March 1665 until 31 July 1667. ... A patroon was a proprietor of a tract of land in the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland in North America. ... Roman Dutch law is a legal system based on Roman law as applied in the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th century. ... This article is about the state. ...


The United States federal government (as opposed to the states) has a variant on a common law system. United States federal courts only act as interpreters of statutes and the constitution (to elaborate and precisely define the broad language, connotation 1(b) above), but, unlike state courts, do not act as an independent source of common law (connotation 1(a) above). Before 1938, the federal courts, like almost all other common law courts, decided the law on any issue where the relevant legislature (either the U.S. Congress or state legislature, depending on the issue), had not acted, by looking to courts in the same system, that is, other federal courts, even on issues of state law, and even where there was no express grant of authority from Congress or the Constitution. In 1938, the U.S. Supreme Court in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938), overruled earlier precedent[25], and held "There is no federal general common law," thus confining the federal courts to act only as interpreters of law originating elsewhere. E.g., Texas Industries v. Radcliff, 451 U.S. 630 (1981) (without an express grant of statutory authority, federal courts cannot create rules of intuitive justice, for example, a right to contribution from co-conspirators). Post-1938, federal courts deciding issues that arise under state law are required to defer to state court interpretations of state statutes, or reason what a state's highest court would rule if presented with the issue, or to certify the question to the state's highest court for resolution. Later courts have limited Erie slightly, to create a few situations where United States federal courts are permitted to create federal common law rules without express statutory authority, for example, where a federal rule of decision is necessary to protect uniquely federal interests. See, e.g., Clearfield Trust Co. v. United States, 318 U.S. 363 (1943) (giving federal courts the authority to fashion common law rules with respect to issues of federal power, in this case negotiable instruments backed by the federal government); see also International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918) (creating a cause of action for misappropriation of "hot news" that lacks any statutory grounding, but that is one of the handful of federal common law actions that survives today). Except on Constitutional issues, Congress is free to legislatively overrule federal courts' common law.[26] Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      The United States federal courts are the system of courts organized under the... Holding No general federal common law. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      The United States federal courts are the system of courts organized under the... Federal common law is a term used in the United States to describe common law that is developed by the federal courts, instead of by the courts of the various states. ... Holding Federal negotiable instruments are governed by federal law, therefore the federal court has the authority to fashion a federal common law rule. ... A negotiable instrument is a specialised type of contract for the payment of money which is unconditional and capable of transfer by negotiation. ... International News Service v. ...


Works on the common law

William Blackstone as illustrated in his Commentaries on the Laws of England.
William Blackstone as illustrated in his Commentaries on the Laws of England.

The definitive historical treatise on the common law is Commentaries on the Laws of England, written by Sir William Blackstone and first published in 1765 - 1769. Since 1979 a facsimile edition of that first edition has been available in four paper-bound volumes. Today it has been superseded in the English part of the United Kingdom by Halsbury's Laws of England that covers both common and statutory English law. Image File history File links WilliamBlackstone. ... Image File history File links WilliamBlackstone. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... William Blackstone as illustrated in his Commentaries on the Laws of England. ... Halsburys Laws of England (also known as Halsburys Laws or simply Halsburys) is a definitive encyclopedic treatise on the laws of England. ...


While he was still on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and before being named to the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. published a short volume called The Common Law which remains a classic in the field. Unlike Blackstone and the Restatements, Holmes' book only briefly discusses what the law is; rather, Holmes describes the common law process. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. ... The Common Law is a book that was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. ...


In the United States, Restatements of various subject matter areas (Contracts, Torts, Judgments, etc.), edited by the American Law Institute, collect the common law for the area. The ALI Restatements are often cited by American courts and lawyers for propositions of uncodified common law, and are considered highly-persuasive authority, just below binding precedential decisions. The Corpus Juris Secundum is an encyclopedia whose main content is a compendium of the common law and its variations throughout the various state jurisdictions. The American Law Institute (ALI) was established in 1923 to promote the clarification and simplification of American common law and its adaptation to changing social needs. ... The American Law Institute (ALI) was established in 1923 to promote the clarification and simplification of American common law and its adaptation to changing social needs. ... The Corpus Juris Secundum (C.J.S.) with subtitle: Corpus Juris Secundum: Complete Restatement Of The Entire American Law As Developed By All Reported Cases (1936- ) 101 volumes. ...


Scots common law covers matters including murder and theft, and has sources in custom, in legal writings and previous court decisions. The legal writings used are called Institutional Texts and come mostly from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Examples include Craig, Jus Feudale (1655) and Stair, The Institutions of the Law of Scotland (1681).


References

  1. ^ Marbury v Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803) ("It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.")
  2. ^ The differences between common and civil law jurisdictions are gradually becoming smaller, as common law jurisdictions enact statutes that cover areas formerly left to the common law, and civil law courts give increasing weight to precedent. Srl CILFIT and Lanificio di Gavardo SpA v Ministry of Health (Corte suprema di Cassazione, Italy, 1982), in which Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation held that questions it has already answered need not be resubmitted, see ¶ 4. This brought in a distinctly common law principle into an essentially civil law jurisdiction. As the Italian courts continue to follow this precedent and assume that the Supreme Court's rulings have precedential value, the distance between civil law and common law jurisdictions is shrinking.
  3. ^ "In Suits at common law ... the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."
  4. ^ E.g., Ex parte Holt, 19 USPQ2d 1211, 1214 (Bd. Patent App. & Interf. 1991) (explaining the hierarchy of precedent binding on tribunals of the United States Patent Office)
  5. ^ E.g., Uniform Commercial Code, Article 2, on Contracts for the Sales of Goods
  6. ^ Model Penal Code as adopted in several states, for example, New York's Penal Law
  7. ^ Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 91 S.Ct. 2125, 29 L.Ed.2d 745 (1971) (a government-sponsored message violates the Establishment Clause if: (1) it does not have a secular purpose; (2) its principal or primary effect advances or inhibits religion; or (3) it creates an excessive entanglement of the government with religion.)
  8. ^ 11 U.S. 32 (1812).
  9. ^ At least in the U.S., practicing lawyers tend to use "law professor" or "law review article" as a pejorative to describe a person or work that is insufficiently grounded in reality or practicality - every young lawyer is admonished repeatedly by senior lawyers not to write "law review articles," but instead to focus on the facts of the case and the practical effects of a given outcome.
  10. ^ See, e.g., Yeo Tiong Min, "A Note on Some Differences in English Law, New York Law, and Singapore Law" (2006). This is not to say that common law is better in every situation. For example, civil law can be clearer than case law when the legislature has had the foresight and diligence to address the precise set of applicable facts in a particular situation. For that reason, civil law statutes tend to be somewhat more detailed than statutes written by common law legislatures – but, conversely, that tends to make the statute more difficult to read. As a practical matter, no civil law legislature can ever address the full spectrum of factual possibilities in the breadth, depth and detail of the case law of the common law courts of even a smaller jurisdiction.
  11. ^ Clarence Ray Jeffery, "The Development of Crime in Early English Society", The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, Vol. 47, No. 6. (Mar. - Apr., 1957), pp. 647-666.
  12. ^ see Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Common Law, Lecture I, sec. 2, "In Massachusetts today...there are some (rules) which can only be understood by reference to the infancy of procedure among the German tribes."
  13. ^ a b c d Makdisi, John A. (June 1999), "The Islamic Origins of the Common Law", North Carolina Law Review 77 (5): 1635-1739
  14. ^ a b   "Common Law". Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913). New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  15. ^ Gaudiosi, Monica M. (April 1988), "The Influence of the Islamic Law of Waqf on the Development of the Trust in England: The Case of Merton College", University of Pennsylvania Law Review 136 (4): 1231-1261
  16. ^ Badr, Gamal Moursi (Spring, 1978), "Islamic Law: Its Relation to Other Legal Systems", The American Journal of Comparative Law 26 (2 - Proceedings of an International Conference on Comparative Law, Salt Lake City, Utah, February 24-25, 1977): 187-198 [196-8]
  17. ^ El-Gamal, Mahmoud A. (2006), Islamic Finance: Law, Economics, and Practice, Cambridge University Press, p. 16, ISBN 0521864143
  18. ^ Glenn Lammi and James Chang, "Michigan High Court Ruling Offers Positive Guidance on Challenges to Tort Reform Laws" (December 17, 2004).
  19. ^ New York Constitution of 1777 via Avalon Project at Yale Law School.
  20. ^ Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 84 (1788).
  21. ^ Ironically, one of the first acts of many of the newly-independent states was to give effect to the law of a foreign sovereign.
  22. ^ Nathan Dane, 6 General Abridgment and Digest of American Law §182, art. 5, 230 (Cummings, Hilliard & Co. 1823).
  23. ^ Washington Legal Foundation v. Legal Foundation of Washington, 271 F.3d 835 (9th Cir. 2001).
  24. ^ E.g., Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370, 376 (1996) ("[W]e [the U.S. Supreme Court] have understood that the right of trial by jury thus preserved is the right which existed under the English common law when the Amendment was adopted. In keeping with our longstanding adherence to this 'historical test,' we ask, first, whether we are dealing with a cause of action that either was tried at law at the time of the founding or is at least analogous to one that was. If the action in question belongs in the law category, we then ask whether the particular trial decision must fall to the jury in order to preserve the substance of the common-law right as it existed in 1791." citations and quotations omitted, holding that interpretation of the scope of a patent had no analogy in 1790, and is thus a question to be decided by a judge, not a jury)
  25. ^ Swift v. Tyson, 41 U.S. 1 (1842). In Swift, the United States Supreme Court had held that federal courts hearing cases brought under their diversity jurisdiction (allowing them to hear cases between parties from different states) had to apply the statutory law of the states, but not the common law developed by state courts. Instead, the Supreme Court permitted the federal courts to make their own common law based on general principles of law. Erie v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938). Erie over-ruled Swift v. Tyson, and instead held that federal courts exercising diversity jurisdiction had to use all of the same substantive laws as the courts of the states in which they were located. As the Erie Court put it, there is no "general federal common law", the key word here being general. This history is elaborated in federal common law.
  26. ^ City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) (invalidating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in which Congress had attempted to redefine the court's jurisdiction to decide constitutional issues); Milwaukee v. Illinois, 451 U.S. 304 (1981)

The Model Penal Code (MPC) is a statutory text which was developed by the American Law Institute (ALI) in 1962. ... Oliver Wendell Holmes was the name of two prominent men, father and son: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... The University of Pennsylvania Law Review is a scholarly journal focusing on legal issues, published by an organization of second and third year J.D. students at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. ... The headquarters of the Cambridge University Press, in Trumpington Street, Cambridge. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... Diversity jurisdiction is a term used in civil procedure to refer to the situation in which a United States district court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear a civil case because the parties are diverse, meaning that they come from different states. ... Federal common law is a term used in the United States to describe common law that is developed by the federal courts, instead of by the courts of the various states. ... The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (42 U.S.C. Â§ 2000bb, also known as RFRA) is a 1993 United States federal law aimed at preventing laws which substantially burden a persons free exercise of their religion. ...

See also

The Doom Book was a list kept in the 1930s by United States censor Will Hays and major Hollywood studio moguls. ... For the 10th century Bishop of Sherborne, see Alfred (bishop). ... Arraignment is a common law term for the formal reading of a criminal complaint, in the presence of the defendant, to inform him of the charges against him. ... For other uses of civil law, see civil law. ... Common-law marriage (or common law marriage), sometimes called informal marriage or marriage by habit and repute is, historically, a form of interpersonal status in which a man and a woman are not legally married. ... The primary and fundamental statement of laws in the Russian Federation is the Constitution of the Russian Federation. ... English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ... In the American common law legal system, a grand jury is a type of jury which determines if there is enough evidence for a trial. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Jury. ... This page aims to list terms relating to law, including the titles of all Wikipedia articles on the subject. ... Scots law is a unique legal system with an ancient basis in Roman law. ...

External links

Project Gutenberg, abbreviated as PG, is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive and distribute cultural works. ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... Administrative law in the United States often relates to, or arises from, so-called independent agencies- such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Here is FTCs headquarters in Washington D.C. Administrative law (or regulatory law) is the body of law that arises from the activities of administrative agencies... The term criminal law, sometimes called penal law, refers to any of various bodies of rules in different jurisdictions whose common characteristic is the potential for unique and often severe impositions as punishment for failure to comply. ... A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties that the law will enforce. ... Not to be confused with torte, an iced cake. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This law-related article does not cite its references or sources. ... The Court of Chancery, London, early 19th century This article is about the concept of equity in the jurisprudence of common law countries. ... International law deals with the relationships between states, or between persons or entities in different states. ... Conflict of laws, or private international law, or international private law is that branch of international law and interstate law that regulates all lawsuits involving a foreign law element, where a difference in result will occur depending on which laws are applied as the lex causae. ... Supranational law is a form of international law, based on the limitation of the rights of sovereign nations between one another. ... Image File history File links Scale_of_justice_2. ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... Labour law (American English: labor) or employment law is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which addresses the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their organizations. ... Human rights law is a system of laws, both domestic and international which is intended to promote human rights. ... Legal procedure is the body of law and rules used in the administration of justice in the court system, including such areas as civil procedure, criminal procedure, appellate procedure, administrative procedure, labour procedure, and probate. ... The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e. ... Immigration law refers to national government policies which control the phenomenon of immigration to their country. ... Family Law was a television drama starring Kathleen Quinlan as a divorced lawyer who attempted to start her own law firm after her lawyer husband took all their old clients. ... In the common law, a will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator) regulates the rights of others over his property or family after death. ... Commercial law (sometimes known as business law) is the body of law which governs business and commerce. ... Corporate law (also corporations law or company law) refers to the law establishing separate legal entities known as the company or corporation and governs the most prevalent legal models for firms, for instance limited companies (Ltd or Pty Ltd), publicly limited companies (plc) or incorporated businesses (Inc. ... Notice of closure stuck on the door of a computer store the day after its parent company, Granville Technology Group Ltd, declared bankruptcy (strictly, put into administration—see text) in the United Kingdom. ... For the 2006 film, see Intellectual Property (film). ... The following analysis is based on English law. ... Restitution is the name given to a form of legal relief in which the plaintiff recovers something from the defendant that belongs, or should belong, to the plaintiff. ... Tax law is the codified system of laws that describes government levies on economic transactions, commonly called taxes. ... Bank regulations are a form of government regulation which subject banks to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, aiming to uphold the soundness and integrity of the financial system. ... Antitrust redirects here. ... Consumer protection is a form of government regulation which protects the interests of consumers. ... Environmental law is a body of law, which is a system of complex and interlocking statutes, common law, treaties, conventions, regulations and policies which seeks to protect the natural environment which may be affected, impacted or endangered by human activities. ... International law deals with the relationships between states, or between persons or entities in different states. ... Admiralty law (also referred to as maritime law) is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. ... Military law is a distinct legal system to which members of armed forces are subject. ... Products liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Aviation law is the branch of law that concerns flight, air travel, and associated legal and business concerns. ... World distribution of major legal traditions The three major legal systems of the world today consist of civil law, common law and religious law. ... For other uses of civil law, see civil law. ... In the religious sense, law can be thought of as the ordering principle of reality; knowledge as revealed by God defining and governing all human affairs. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Socialist Legality. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Using the term Roman law in a broader sense, one may say that Roman law is not only the legal system of ancient Rome but the law that was applied throughout most of Europe until the end of the 18th century. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      Canon law is the term used for... Sharia (Arabic: transliteration: ) is the body of Islamic religious law. ... This article is about law in society. ... Legal history is a term that has at least two meanings. ... For the jurisprudence of courts, see Case law. ... Law and economics, or economic analysis of law is an approach to legal theory that applies methods of economics to law. ... Sociology of law refers to both a sub-discipline of sociology and an approach within the field of legal studies. ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... In the law, the judiciary or judicial system is the system of courts which administer justice in the name of the sovereign or state, a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. ... A legislatureis a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to ratify laws. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This article is about the sociological concept. ... A lawyer is a person licensed by the state to advise clients in legal matters and represent them in courts of law and in other forms of dispute resolution. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that states political system) and commercial institutions. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Common law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2279 words)
The common law, as applied in civil cases (as distinct from criminal cases), was devised as a means of compensating someone for wrongful acts known as torts, including both intentional torts and torts caused by negligence, and as developing the body of law recognizing and regulating contracts.
Scots common law differs in that the use of precedents is subject to the courts seeking to discover the principle which justifies a law rather than to search for an example as a precedent and that the principles of natural justice and fairness have always formed a source of Scots Law.
Statutes which reflect English common law are understood always to be interpreted in light of the common law tradition, and so may leave a number of things unsaid because they are already understood from the point of view of pre-existing case law and custom.
Common-law marriage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3278 words)
Common-law marriage (or common law marriage), sometimes called informal marriage or marriage by habit and repute is, historically, a form of interpersonal status in which a man and a woman are legally married.
Otherwise, the requirements are the same for common law marriage as they are for statutory marriage, i.e., the parties must mutually consent to be married, be of legal age or have their parents' permission, and so on.
The criteria for a common law marriage is: (1) when two parties have a present intent (usually, but not necessarily, evidenced by a public and unequivocal declaration) to enter into a marriage contract; and (2) "a mutual agreement between the parties to assume toward each other the relation of husband and wife." See Tarnowski v.
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