What exactly is common law? In legal terms, common law refers to a body of law which exists in many states and courts and is recognized as having universal, indeterminable and consistent rules and effects regardless of who may litigate or parties involved. The majority of states in the United States have common law rules and this law has become increasingly important with changes in personal rights and more expansive interpretations of the law by various jurisdictions.
According to some people, the phrase “common-law” is a political term used by those who oppose changing the political system of the nation. For those who see common-law as a vital part of our legal system, any changes in this system should be viewed as a change in our civil laws and not a change in the customary law system. Common-law courts, they argue, are established by the jurisdictions in which they operate.
A difference between civil law and criminal law is that civil law deals with disputes between individuals and organizations rather than between individuals and other organizations. This means that common-law courts do not have inherent power to impose customary obligations upon others. Civil cases address issues involving property, contract, divorce, child custody, workers’ compensation, wills, trusts, and charities. Unlike criminal cases, civil cases require juries. This is because juries are chosen by the various institutionalized opinions that participate in civil law. However, juries are subject to changing moral sentiments.
The presubscription rule is one of the important characteristics of common law. It basically states that the decisions made by civil courts must be preceded by decisions already made by other courts. For instance, if a criminal case was tried in the state trial court, then other courts would precede this decision. Presumptions in civil law allow for a wide variety of case law readings. One can easily find a good book on each and every topic he or she will need to research. Also, case law reviews on major newspapers and legal journals provide a good source of information for those interested in current case law.
Historically, common laws and judicial authority were rooted in English common law. However, in the United States, the influence of common laws developed in the period of slave trade. Slavery had an effect on both judicial and legislative authority. As a result, the US government was able to limit the powers of the judicial …