Common law

common-lawcommoncourts of common lawcommon law systemEnglish common lawlawlegalcommon law legal systemsfusion of law and equityAnglo-American common law
In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals.wikipedia
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Law

legallawslegal theory
In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals.
State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions.

Precedent

stare decisislegal precedentbinding precedent
In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, and those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants.
In common law legal systems, precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts.

English law

EnglishEnglish common lawEngland and Wales
These "common law systems" are legal systems that give great precedential weight to common law, and to the style of reasoning inherited from the English legal system.
English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures.

British Empire

BritishEmpireBritain
The British Empire spread the English legal system to its historical colonies, many of which retain the common law system today.
As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread.

Civil law (legal system)

civil lawcivilcivil law system
Today, one-third of the world's population lives in common law jurisdictions or in systems mixed with civil law, including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Burma, Cameroon, Canada (both the federal system and all its provinces except Quebec), Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom (including its overseas territories such as Gibraltar), the United States (both the federal system and 49 of its 50 states), and Zimbabwe. Black's Law Dictionary 10th Ed., definition 2, differentiates "common law" jurisdictions and legal systems from "civil law" or "code" jurisdictions.
This can be contrasted with common law systems, the intellectual framework of which comes from judge-made decisional law, and gives precedential authority to prior court decisions, on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions (doctrine of judicial precedent, or stare decisis).

Case law

casecasesdecision
In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. For example, the law in most Anglo-American jurisdictions includes "statutory law" enacted by a legislature, "regulatory law" (in the U.S.) or “delegated legislation” (in the U.K.) promulgated by executive branch agencies pursuant to delegation of rule-making authority from the legislature, and common law or "case law", i.e., decisions issued by courts (or quasi-judicial tribunals within agencies).
In common law countries the term is used for judicial decisions of selected appellate courts, courts of first instance, agency tribunals, and other bodies discharging adjudicatory functions.

Law of the United States

American lawyerfederal lawUnited States federal law
Today, one-third of the world's population lives in common law jurisdictions or in systems mixed with civil law, including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Burma, Cameroon, Canada (both the federal system and all its provinces except Quebec), Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom (including its overseas territories such as Gibraltar), the United States (both the federal system and 49 of its 50 states), and Zimbabwe.
At both the federal and state levels, with the exception of the state of Louisiana, the law of the United States is largely derived from the common law system of English law, which was in force at the time of the American Revolutionary War.

Law report

reporterlaw reportsreporters
Publication of decisions, and indexing, is essential to the development of common law, and thus governments and private publishers publish law reports.
In common law countries, court opinions are legally binding under the rule of stare decisis (precedent).

Equity (law)

equityequitablefairness
Black's Law Dictionary 10th Ed., definition 4, differentiates "common law" (or just "law") from "equity".
In jurisdictions following the English common law system, equity is the body of law which was developed in the English Court of Chancery and which is now administered concurrently with the common law.

Court of Chancery

Chancerychancery courtMaster in Chancery
Before 1873, England had two complementary court systems: courts of "law" which could only award money damages and recognized only the legal owner of property, and courts of "equity" (courts of chancery) that could issue injunctive relief (that is, a court order to a party to do something, give something to someone, or stop doing something) and recognized trusts of property.
The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness (or "inequity") of the common law.

Roman law

RomanlawRoman civil law
Common law systems trace their history to England, while civil law systems trace their history through the Napoleonic Code back to the Corpus Juris Civilis of Roman law.
The historical importance of Roman law is reflected by the continued use of Latin legal terminology in many legal systems influenced by it, including common law.

Court

court of lawcourtscourts of law
For example, the law in most Anglo-American jurisdictions includes "statutory law" enacted by a legislature, "regulatory law" (in the U.S.) or “delegated legislation” (in the U.K.) promulgated by executive branch agencies pursuant to delegation of rule-making authority from the legislature, and common law or "case law", i.e., decisions issued by courts (or quasi-judicial tribunals within agencies).
In both common law and civil law legal systems, courts are the central means for dispute resolution, and it is generally understood that all people have an ability to bring their claims before a court.

Jury trial

trial by juryjurytrial
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) vs. whether the issue will be decided by a judge (issues of what the law is, and all issues relating to equity).
Jury trials are used in a significant share of serious criminal cases in almost all common law lawful systems (Singapore, for example, is an exception), and juries or lay judges have been incorporated into the legal systems of many civil law countries for criminal cases.

Codification (law)

codifiedcodificationcodify
Black's Law Dictionary 10th Ed., definition 2, differentiates "common law" jurisdictions and legal systems from "civil law" or "code" jurisdictions.
In common law systems, such as that of English law, codification is the process of converting and consolidating judge-made law into statute law.

Circuit court

circuitcircuit judgejudicial circuit
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 in "assizes".
Circuit courts are court systems in several common law jurisdictions.

Court of Common Pleas (England)

Court of Common PleasCommon PleasCommon Bench
The English Court of Common Pleas dealt with lawsuits in which the Monarch had no interest, i.e., between commoners.
The Court of Common Pleas, or Common Bench, was a common law court in the English legal system that covered "common pleas"; actions between subject and subject, which did not concern the king.

Benjamin N. Cardozo

CardozoBenjamin CardozoJustice Cardozo
Justice Cardozo noted the "common law does not work from pre-established truths of universal and inflexible validity to conclusions derived from them deductively", but "[i]ts method is inductive, and it draws its generalizations from particulars".
Cardozo is remembered for his significant influence on the development of American common law in the 20th century, in addition to his philosophy and vivid prose style.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Oliver Wendell HolmesHolmesJustice Holmes
By the early 20th century, largely at the urging of Oliver Wendell Holmes (as discussed throughout this article), this view had fallen into the minority view: Holmes pointed out that the older view worked undesirable and unjust results, and hampered a proper development of the law.
Noted for his long service, concise and pithy opinions, and deference to the decisions of elected legislatures, he is one of the most widely cited United States Supreme Court justices in history, particularly for his "clear and present danger" opinion for a unanimous Court in the 1919 case of Schenck v. United States, and is one of the most influential American common law judges, honored during his lifetime in Great Britain as well as the United States.

Tort

tort lawtortstortfeasor
(a) pure common law: arising from the traditional and inherent authority of courts to define what the law is, even in the absence of an underlying statute or regulation. Examples include most criminal law and procedural law before the 20th century, and even today, most contract law and the law of torts.
A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.

Contract

contract lawcontractsagreement
(a) pure common law: arising from the traditional and inherent authority of courts to define what the law is, even in the absence of an underlying statute or regulation. Examples include most criminal law and procedural law before the 20th century, and even today, most contract law and the law of torts.
In the Anglo-American common law, formation of a contract generally requires an offer, acceptance, consideration, and a mutual intent to be bound.

Corpus Juris Civilis

Code of JustinianCodex JustinianusCorpus Iuris Civilis
Common law systems trace their history to England, while civil law systems trace their history through the Napoleonic Code back to the Corpus Juris Civilis of Roman law.
Its influence on common law legal systems has been much smaller, although some basic concepts from the Corpus have survived through Norman law – such as the contrast, especially in the Institutes, between "law" (statute) and custom.

Privity of contract

privitydoctrine of privitycontract law
The traditional common law rule through most of the 19th century was that a plaintiff could not recover for a defendant's negligent production or distribution of a harmful instrumentality unless the two were in privity of contract.
The doctrine of privity of contract is a common law principle which provides that a contract cannot confer rights or impose obligations upon any person who is not a party to the contract.

Legal opinion

opinionopinionsdecisions
The court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, and those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants.
Published opinions of courts are also collectively referred to as case law, and constitute in the common law legal systems one of the major sources of law.

Winterbottom v Wright

In an 1842 English case, Winterbottom v. Wright, the postal service had contracted with Wright to maintain its coaches.
Winterbottom v Wright (1842) 10 M&W 109 was an important case in English common law responsible for constraining the law's stance on negligence in the 19th century.

Quasi-judicial body

quasi-judicialquasi-judicial agencyquasi-judicial bodies
For example, the law in most Anglo-American jurisdictions includes "statutory law" enacted by a legislature, "regulatory law" (in the U.S.) or “delegated legislation” (in the U.K.) promulgated by executive branch agencies pursuant to delegation of rule-making authority from the legislature, and common law or "case law", i.e., decisions issued by courts (or quasi-judicial tribunals within agencies).
Judicial decisions are bound by precedent in common law, whereas quasi-judicial decisions usually are not so bound;