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Tag: the Legal System

What is Common Law?

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The term Common Law refers to a legal system which is for the most part formed by decisions that have been made by the courts rather than on written laws and regulations that are imposed by government officials or legislatures. Reasoning per each case is necessary to interpret common law. It is based more on a principle and reasoning through particular circumstances to evaluate a case and determine what laws are actually applicable. This means that decisions which have been made about cases which are similar in nature become very valuable since the new case in question will be evaluated based on previous case decisions. The more similar the cases are, the stronger the link between them. The term, common law can also be used to refer to laws which did not originate from other branches of law. Statutes are actually brief explanations of the law they represent and are not explanatory in themselves. Codification is the process through which statutes are passed and then expressed and contained in a single document. This makes it more easily understood within the law that already exists instead of needing to create new laws.  Common Law in most cases only applies inside an area of jurisdiction. Judges oftentimes create common law by writing out their opinions on cases. When they do this, it binds lower courts in the same jurisdiction to the same types of judgments. The foundation that supports this type of law is formed by property, torts and contracts.