What is Common Law?

You might be asking yourself, “What exactly is common law?” Common law or “judge-made” law follows the rule of jurisprudence called precedence. For example, a court or judge basis its ruling (decision) from a previous court case, along with its rulings.┬áCommon law can be summarized by the legal doctrine: Stare Decisis. This is a latin phrase that, when translated, means, “Let the decision stand.” Furthermore, the courts’ interpretations of the law can be overridden by rewriting the law in question, by amending the state or federal constitution or by enacting a new statute. Rulings about the common law can also be overridden through statutes.

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Types of Legal Systems

Before we elaborate on complex legal issues/matters, we must first broach the basic systems of law. Throughout the world, each and every country contains a legal system embodied with a judiciary system and unique set of laws. Currently, there are three different legal systems: Civil, Common, and Religious Law. Each legal system is very broad, thus, each system contains one-to-many subcategories. However, this is a discussion for another time. For now we will focus our attention on Common Law, the legal system implemented within the United States.