federal common law

A concept intriguing to legal theorists. Strictly speaking, a nonentity. 15 Am J2d Com L § 4. In a less than strict usage, the common law enforced generally throughout the United States. Western Union Tel. Co. v Call Pub. Co. 181 US 92, 45 L Ed 765, 21 S Ct 561. While there is no common law of the United States in the sense of a national customary law, the courts of the United States enforce the law as they find it in the several states and apply the common law, as a national institution, in the interpretation of the constitution. State ex ref. Powell v State Bank, 90 Mont 539, 4 P2d 717, 80 ALR 1494. Although there is no national common law in the United States distinct from the common law which each state has adopted for itself and applies as its local law subject to alteration by statute, there is a federal common law in the sense that the United States Constitution, treaties, and statutes are construed in the light of common law principles and in the further sense that the federal courts also apply common law principles in cases involving substantive matters in transactions substantially involving the interests or obligations of the federal government or its instrumentalities. 15 Am J2d Com L § 4. "Notwithstanding Erie Railroad v Tompkins, 304 US 64, 82 L Ed 1188, 58 S Ct 817, 114 ALR 1487, there still exist certain fields where legal relations are governed by a Federal common law, a body of decisional law developed by the Federal courts untrammeled by state court decisions." O'Brien v Western Union Telegraph Co. (CA1 Mass) 113 F2d 539.

Ballentine's law dictionary. . 1998.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Federal common law — is a term of United States law used to describe common law that is developed by the federal courts, instead of by the courts of the various states. The United States is the only country to combine the creation of common law doctrines with a… …   Wikipedia

  • federal common law — n: case law developed in the federal courts see also erie railroad co. v. tompkins in the important cases section ◇ Federal common law is applied primarily in admiralty and maritime cases, disputes between states, matters of international… …   Law dictionary

  • federal common law — A body of decisional law developed by the federal courts. The application of this body of common law is limited by the Erie doctrine and by the Rules of Decision Act, which provides that except for cases governed by the Constitution, the treaties …   Black's law dictionary

  • 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… …   Law dictionary

  • Common law — For other uses, see Common law (disambiguation). Common law (also known as case law or precedent) is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action. A… …   Wikipedia

  • common law — 1. the system of law originating in England, as distinct from the civil or Roman law and the canon or ecclesiastical law. 2. the unwritten law, esp. of England, based on custom or court decision, as distinct from statute law. 3. the law… …   Universalium

  • common law — As distinguished from statutory law created by the enactment of legislatures, the common law comprises the body of those principles and rules of action, relating to the government and security of persons and property, which derive their authority …   Black's law dictionary

  • common law — Those principles, usages and rules of action applicable to the government and security of persons and property which do not rest for their authority upon any express or positive statute or other written declaration, but upon statements of… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • Common-law marriage in the United States — was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in Meister v. Moore (96 U.S. 76 (1877)), which ruled that Michigan had not abolished common law marriage merely by producing a statute establishing rules for the solemnization of marriages. Common… …   Wikipedia

  • Common Law —     Common Law     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Common Law     (Lat. communis, general, of general application; lex, law)     The term is of English origin and is used to describe the juridical principles and general rules regulating the possession …   Catholic encyclopedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.