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What is Common Law?

Definition and Meaning of Common Law to Help You Understand it Aptly

The concept of common law, is fairly broad and it is impossible to explain the entire concept in a few words. The concept, though vast, has a very good objective, aim and connotation. Here is a brief explanation of the common or case-law system. To know more, read on.
Scholasticus K
Last Updated: Apr 2, 2019
If you look at the legal and judicial system of any nation, you will find there are 3 important parts of this system, the legislators, the jury, which is sometimes also known as the judges bench or the magistrate and lastly the law.
As far as we commoners are concerned, we are only aware of the fact that we the people, elect the legislature which makes laws, and these laws are followed by the people and enforced by the jury. This system is common, and is also followed by almost all the legal systems throughout the world. There is however more to it.
Since the law is meant for the people and the well-being of the society, it needs to be largely dynamic as the society within which the people live is also dynamic. The third important element of a common judicial system is the law, also known as the law of the land. This law is commonly divided into two parts namely, statuary law and common law.
The statuary law is principally the written law which has been passed by the legislature. It is also referred to as a Code or Statute. Sometimes a third classification of the law that is the regulatory law is also seen.
The regulatory law in some cases is considered to be a part of statutory law, and is made of compliance. The common law, which is also known as case-law, on the other hand is defined as follows:
Definition and Meaning of Common Law
The common law, sometimes also known as English common law, is basically a rightful interpretation and application of a statute. The interpretation and application that encompasses this law is done by the judiciary, judges and magistrates. The basic logic is that the law is written in a transparent language which is also quite complicated.
The statutory law, is interpreted in several different ways and manner, thereby getting variable meanings from the same statute. There is a specific decorum in which the statute is to be interpreted. The common or case-law, is basically the appropriate interpretation of statute which is done by judiciary.
This law encompasses the decisions and verdicts that are dictated by the jurists, based upon certain statutes. Common law was dictated by Lord Chief Justice Edward Coke, a British jurist. Common or case-law is evoked by attorneys by referring to cases and their respective verdicts, which are treated to be laws or, rather, commonly accepted interpretations.
Overall, case-law in modern times is a quasi-law and a way in which a given statute or law is to be used, interpreted and treated during any given litigation process. At the same time, judges and jurists also have the authority to dismiss a certain law, if it is inapplicable in the case.
Another way in which a common law is established is when jurists, parliament and other higher bodies recommend or decide upon something using a rightful interpretation. Legal advise and compliance measures that are suggested by lawyers, attorneys and solicitors is also often based upon the references and derivations from common law.
If you look at the whole picture, you will notice that it is a decision by a court in the favor of truth and righteousness. In a way, it also draws the line between right and wrong and provides the rightful direction for interpretation. Such a law has been in existence even before judicial systems came into being.
Monarchs and people used this law to ensure peace and justice in the society. Common law marriage, just as the name suggests, is a type of common law which has been established as a rightful norm by the society. Here the priest acts as the jury.
Overall, as of today common law is used in Commonwealth nations, that is the nations that were former British colonies. Though almost unheard of by several of us, the common or case-law is one of the greatest stone in the legal system.