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Common law refers to a legal system which is based primarily upon case-laws that relate to the particular facts arising in disputes. Thus, adjudications of higher courts constitute the basis of this system of law. This system originated in England in the 11th century. The rules of common law are characterized by their detailed and specific nature in comparison to rules in civil law systems. This system is prevalent in England and most of its former colonies and also in most states of the United States of America.
Under the common law system, courts rely on prior judicial decisions rather than on legislations. In cases where a statute is applicable to the fact situation, its judicial interpretation determines the application of law. The doctrine of stare decisis binds the Courts to apply decided cases, or what are commonly called precedents, in substantially similar fact situations. This doctrine binds the same court or the lower courts within the same jurisdiction but not superior courts. For the latter courts and courts of other jurisdictions, these decisions have a persuasive value. The judges are free to draw analogies from other jurisdictions and judicial experiences in the same jurisdictions while deciding cases. This provides a certain degree of flexibility to the system, which helps the Courts to meet the unique problems of a dynamic society. Despite this flexibility, the doctrine of stare decisis makes the legal system stable by providing uniformity, certainty, and predictability.
The adversarial system of criminal justice is prevalent in common law countries, wherein the judge or jury acts in a passive and neutral manner. His job is limited to consideration of evidence, application of law to the fact situation and giving a decision. An appeal to a Higher Court may be preferred by an aggrieved party against such decision and appeals normally lie only on findings on law and not findings of fact.
In common law countries, no one is considered above the law and even the highest ranking officials of the government are subject to the law. They cannot contravene of the law. The power of the judicial review of legislation, too, is confined to the task of making these legislations consonant with constitutional requirements. This, again, is an essential characteristic of the system.
Common law cases and research material is widely available on internet databases and resource hubs; however, understanding them and implementing them to practical situations can be a challenging task, especially for students. Our law experts, with vast domain experience and rigorous work ethics, provide common law assignment help to law students from all around the world. If you have a common law assignment you need help with, send it to us via upload form or contact us directly for more details.
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