Common Law Systems

Common Law

The term common law can refer to two things. The common law is the body of law formed through court judgments, as opposed to law formed through statutes or written legislation. A common law system is the system of jurisprudence that is based on the principle of judicial precedent, the principle under which the lower courts must follow the judgments of the higher courts, rather than on statutory laws.

Democratic states that have adopted the common law system have legislative bodies at the centre of their democracies, and these bodies frequently pass new legislation. This legislation is then interpreted and applied through the judiciary during trials; these rulings will then be applied in future cases under the doctrine of stare decisis, another name for legal precedent. Large bodies of law, for example those relating to property, contracts and torts are usually part of the common law. More modern areas of law such as employment law, intellectual property law and health and security tend to be based on statute rather than on common law. Stuck with a Bankruptcy on your credit report? Here’s a great article on how to Remove a Bankruptcy from Your Credit Report from AAACreditGuide. 

The common law legal system originated in England was later accepted in the United States and Canada and is in place in most Commonwealth countries. While the English general law system has its roots in the 11th century, the present system has evolved over the past 350 years, with judges basing their decisions on those made through predecessors.  Birth injury attorneys from BIAD have one opinion – Go after them. 


Common law has no basis in statute, and is established and developed through written views of judges delivered at the end of a trial.


These opinions are binding on future decisions of lower courts in the similar jurisdiction.


However, that is not to say that common law systems derive all of their laws from case law.

As with any system, the general rule system has its advantages and disadvantages. The three main arguments in favor of such a system is that it is fair, expedient and efficient. It is seen as person fair as the strict following of precedents in all cases means that all people are treated similarly. It is expedient because basing decisions on precedent means that potential litigants have an excellent idea as to what to result to expect. Finally, the existence of precedents means that the judicial process might be relatively fast as there is already a framework in place in which to base a ruling.

The disadvantages include the perpetuation of bad rulings and the difficulties rose when there is no precedent for the case before the court. Once a bad decision has been made through a higher court, that decision will remain law until the same court, or a higher court, overrules the bad judgment. Courts are reluctant to overrule their own decisions unless absolutely necessary and so bad decisions may be upheld for a long time. That is true of bad precedents. However, a total lack of precedent can lead to many problems, especially where a court essentially has to make new law where no previous law existed.

Advantages of Common Law

gavel lawsuitThere are places where the legislative law is not effective as compared to the common law. The main difference between the two is that the legislative law is governed by the legislative and the political persons where as the common law is governed by court judges and there is no role of the politicians and the legislature in the common laws. The judges play a vital role in the making of the common laws but the parliament does not have any operation to do with these laws. There are situations where the common law is more effective and fast as compared to the legislative laws. Let us see to some of the advantages of implementing the common laws.

  1. Specificity:

1.-Common-LawThe legislative law cases are complex where you need to here long and boring rule numbers and section, here the cases are stretched as much as possible and moreover you need to follow different rules and regulation even to attend the case inside the courtroom. The scene is totally different in the case of Common Law; here the case depends on basic three things:

  1. Hearing to the case from both the sides.
  2. Examine the facts and figures provide for the case.
  • Give the relevant judgments on what is right and what is wrong.
  1. Unseen Cases are Seen:

commonlaw01When the common law is implemented then even the small cases are given full importance and the judges hear for each and every case which was previously unseen or ignored by the parliament or the legislative courts. The common law is made in such a manner that it covers all the unseen small cases. It gets difficult for the parliament to look at the tiny things, so these common laws courts prevent the society from getting disturbed by seeing to the cases of the common people.

  1. Flexibility:

Unlike the parliaments and the legislative courts the common law has the power to change. This gives the common law the flexibility to improvise according to the situation and reform new laws by examining the situations. By doing this the common law becomes more effective and efficient which increase the stability in the society. The more the flexibility law provides the better decisions and judgments are given by the law courts and people who are suffering from a long time in coming again and again to get the decision of their cases are now satisfied.

  1. Speed:judge-gavel

The common law courts are some or the other way similar to the fast track law courts, where all the small cases are seen first which are rejected and ignored from the parliaments and legislative courts. These courts are faster in solving the cases and giving the rightful judgments and decisions. Moreover the speed of reformation of the laws and implementation is also fast because there is no role of the political persons and any other permission from the legislative bodies, here the judges themselves reform the laws and as it is reformed they implement it.