Common law is a legal system that is based on judicial decisions and precedents rather than written laws and statutes. The common law system is used in many countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
Under the common law system, courts make decisions in individual cases and these decisions are used as precedents for future cases with similar facts. These precedents, or past judicial decisions, are considered binding authority on lower courts in the same jurisdiction and are often followed by courts in other jurisdictions as well. This process of using past decisions to guide future decisions is known as stare decisis.
Common law also includes principles and rules that have been developed over time through judicial decisions, rather than being written in a statute or code. This body of unwritten law is known as the “common law.”
One of the main features of common law is that it allows for greater flexibility and adaptability as it evolves over time to reflect changes in society and new legal issues. However, it also means that the law can be unpredictable and less clear than in a system with a written code.
It’s important to note that common law operates alongside with statutory law and in some countries administrative law, that can be enacted by the legislative branch of government.