common law
common law n: a body of law that is based on custom and general principles and embodied in case law and that serves as precedent or is applied to situations not covered by statute
the common law of torts: as
a: the body of law that was first developed in the English courts of law as distinguished from equity and that allows for particular remedies (as damages or replevin)
in suits at common law...the right of trial by jury shall be preservedU.S. Constitution amend. VII compare equity 2
b: the body of law developed in England that is the basis of U.S. federal law and of state law in all states except Louisiana see also the judicial system in the back matter compare civil law 2, statutory law

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

common law
Broadly speaking, the law derived from decisions of courts concerning legal principles rather than the law set out in statutes or legal codes.

Easyform Glossary of Law Terms. — UK law terms.


common law
n.
A system of law based on judicial precedent and custom rather than statute and code; the system of jurisprudence used in England and most of the United States. See also civil law

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.


common law
1. the law developed by the common law courts as being common to all the Crown's subjects, as distinct from equity.
2. a general name for Anglo-American case-based systems, as opposed to civilian code-based systems.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.


common law
The body of law that developed over many years in England based on court decisions and custom, as compared to written statutes (codifications of the law). Coloniists imported England's common law to what became the United States, and it survives today, greatly expanded and changed by the published decisions of American courts. Many common law principles, however, have been codified in state statutes.Only Louisiana does not take as its basic law the English common law; instead, that state's law is based on France's Napoleonic Code.
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


common law
n.
1 A legal system derived from the broad and comprehensive principles encompassed within the unwritten laws of England and applied in most English-speaking countries, including the United States (except the state of Louisiana). The principles are created and modified by judicial decisions; passed on through custom, traditional usage, and precedent; are adaptable when applied to new facts and circumstances; and are changeable when required. Although much of what was once part of the common law, such as commercial law and criminal law, has been codified, other areas of the law, such as contract law, property law, and tort law, are still primarily governed by the principles of the common law.
2 The legal procedures and decisions of courts of law as distinguished from courts of equity. Also called law.
@ federal common law
The case law derived from federal court decisions interpreting federal statutes or addressing other matters of federal concern.
@

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.


common law
The ancient law of England based upon societal customs and recognized and enforced by the judgments and decrees of the courts. The general body of statutes and case law that governed England and the American colonies prior to the American Revolution.
The principles and rules of action, embodied in case law rather than legislative enactments, applicable to the government and protection of persons and property that derive their authority from the community customs and traditions that evolved over the centuries as interpreted by judicial tribunals.
A designation used to denote the opposite of statutory, equitable, or civil, for example, a common- law action.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.


common law
I
The ancient law of England based upon societal customs and recognized and enforced by the judgments and decrees of the courts. The general body of statutes and case law that governed England and the American colonies prior to the American Revolution.
 
The principles and rules of action, embodied in case law rather than legislative enactments, applicable to the government and protection of persons and property that derive their authority from the community customs and traditions that evolved over the centuries as interpreted by judicial tribunals.
 
A designation used to denote the opposite of statutory, equitable, or civil, for example, a common- law action.
II Also case law. Law established by subject matter heard in earlier cases.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

common law
n.
   the traditional unwritten law of England, based on custom and usage, which began to develop over a thousand years before the founding of the United States. The best of the pre-Saxon compendiums of the common law was reportedly written by a woman, Queen Martia, wife of a king of a small English kingdom. Together with a book on the "law of the monarchy" by a Duke of Cornwall, Queen Martia's work was translated into the emerging English language by King Alfred (849-899 A.D.). When William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066, he combined the best of this Anglo-Saxon law with Norman law, which resulted in the English common law, much of which was by custom and precedent rather than by written code. By the 14th century legal decisions and commentaries on the common law began providing precedents for the courts and lawyers to follow. It did not include the so-called law of equity (chancery), which came from the royal power to order or prohibit specific acts. The common law became the basic law of most states due to the Commentaries on the Laws of England, completed by Sir William Blackstone in 1769, which became every American lawyer's bible. Today almost all common law has been enacted into statutes with modern variations by all the states except Louisiana, which is still influenced by the Napoleonic Code. In some states the principles of Common Law are so basic they are applied without reference to statute.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Common law — Common Com mon, a. [Compar. {Commoner}; superl. {Commonest}.] [OE. commun, comon, OF. comun, F. commun, fr. L. communis; com + munis ready to be of service; cf. Skr. mi to make fast, set up, build, Goth. gamains common, G. gemein, and E. mean low …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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