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Common Law

Definition - What does Common Law mean?

Common law is law that originates from court rulings and judicial decisions as opposed to being created by a statute or legislation. Common law can also refer to a type of marriage where a couple does not formally get married, but can have marriage rights after they have lived together for a number of years.

Justipedia explains Common Law

Sometimes, specific court cases simply set a precedent that is followed from that point on. Then, if a case comes up in the future that addresses the same issue that had already been established as common law, then the original common law case can be cited. This process is different to using official statutes in legal matters. However, common law is still used. Common law can save the court system time. This is because if an issue has already been established as common law, then another trial does not need to occur to establish it as common law.

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