case law

  

Definition

Part of common law, consisting of judgments given by higher (appellate) courts in interpreting the statutes (or the provisions of a constitution) applicable in cases brought before them. Called precedents, they are binding on all courts (within the same jurisdiction) to be followed as the law in similar cases. Over time, these precedents are recognized, affirmed, and enforced by the subsequent court decisions, thus continually expanding the common law. In comparison, statute law is the body of acts enacted by a legislature, and civil law does not recognize any precedent. Also called judge-made law.

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