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 principles found in the decisions of the courts. 15 Am J2d Com L § 1. In a broader sense the common law is the system of rules and declarations of principles from which our judicial ideas and legal definitions are derived, and which are continually expanding; the system being capable of growth and development at the hands of judges. Linkins v Protestant Episcopal Cathedral, 87 App DC 351, 187 F2d 357, 28 ALR2d 521; Ney v Yellow Cab Co. 2 Ill 2d 74, 117 NE2d 74, 51 ALR2d 624. In its broadest aspect, the common law may be said to be the general Anglo-American system of legal concepts and the traditional technique which forms the basis of the law of the states which have adopted it. 15 Am J2d Com L § 1. The common law of England, in its broadest significance, is the basic component of the common law as adopted by American courts. 15 Am J2d Com L § 6. English statutes enacted before the emigration of the American colonists constituted a part of the common law on its adoption in this country, so far as they were not merely local in character or inapplicable to American institutions and conditions; if such statutes are so far removed in point of time that one must be hesitant in declaring that they are a part of the common law for the purposes of the present, they are nevertheless part of our judicial heritage and should be interpreted and applied accordingly. 15 Am J2d Com L § 7. As the words are used in the seventh amendment to the United States Constitution providing that "no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law," the common law referred to is not the common law of any individual state (for it probably differs in all), but it is the common law of England, the grand reservoir of all our jurisprudence. Under that law, the facts once tried by a jury are never re-examined, unless a new trial is granted; or unless the judgment of the trial court is reversed by a superior tribunal, on a writ of error, and a venire facias de novo is awarded. Capital Traction Co. v Hof, 174 US 1, 8, 43 L Ed 873, 876, 18 S Ct 580. See federal common law; proceeding according to the course of the common law; unwritten law.

Ballentine's law dictionary. . 1998.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 —     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

  • 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

  • Common Law — Systèmes juridiques (Tous) Common law …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Common law — Law Law (l[add]), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. l[ o]g, Sw. lag, Dan. lov; cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Common Law —   [ kɔmən lɔː, englisch] das, , gemeines Recht, das von den königlichen Richtern seit dem 12. und 13. Jahrhundert über spezielle Klageformen (»writs«) geschaffene Recht, das in den drei Londoner Zentralgerichten (King s Bench, Common Pleas,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • common law — ➔ law * * * common law UK US noun [U] ► LAW a system of laws based on customs and court decisions rather than on written laws made by a parliament. Common law forms the basis of the legal system in the UK, US, and various other countries: »There… …   Financial and business terms

  • common–law — adj 1: of, relating to, or based on the common law common law immunity 2: relating to or based on a common law marriage her common law husband Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webste …   Law dictionary

  • common law — common law1 noun uncount the system of law that has developed from customs and judges decisions instead of from laws made by politicians. The set of laws made by politicians is called statute law. common law ,common law 2 adjective 1. ) according …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • common-law — adj [only before noun] 1.) common law marriage/husband/wife a relationship that is considered to be a marriage because the man and woman have lived together for a long time 2.) according to or related to common law common law rules/courts/rights… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • common law — mid 14c., the customary and unwritten laws of England as embodied in commentaries and old cases (see COMMON (Cf. common)), as opposed to statute law. Phrase common law marriage is attested from 1909 …   Etymology dictionary

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.