Common Law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Common law consists of judicial decisions that apply society's common values and principles to specific controversies. Some of the subjects of the common law include rights in land and other property, inheritance issues, contracts, and negligence and other individual harms. The common law system is to be contrasted with the civil law system, in which the primary source of law is a unified body of written law, such as a code or series of connected legislative enactments. Common law countries have developed extensive statutory laws that to some extent replace the common law. Evolution in the common law occurs as judges apply existing principles to new situations, sometimes causing modification of the underlying principle or distinguishing its application to the particular current controversy or dispute. The common law has always played an important part in the development and protection of civil liberties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Civil Liberties in America
Subtitle of host publicationVolumes One-Three
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781317457138
ISBN (Print)0765680637, 9780765680631
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2005 Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved.


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