What is Common Law?
First, let’s define what we mean by common law. It’s a legal system where judges make decisions based on earlier cases and legal precedent. This means that when a judge hears a case, they look at how similar cases were decided in the past and use that information to make their decision. Over time, these decisions create a body of law that can be referred to in future cases.
Origins of Common Law
The common law system began in England in the 11th century. Before that, the country was divided into various regions, each with its own customs and laws. However, with the Norman Conquest in 1066, the country saw the establishment of a centralized system of government, with the king at the head.
The king appointed judges who would travel around the country and hear disputes, interpreting the law based on the customs and traditions of the local area. This was the beginning of the common law system, where the decisions of the judges formed the basis for future rulings in similar cases.
Development of Common Law
As time passed, the common law system evolved and became more complex. Judges would hear cases and make decisions based on the precedent set by earlier cases. These decisions were recorded and published in legal reports, creating a body of law that could be referred to in future cases.
One of the most significant developments in the common law system was the emergence of the court of chancery. This court was established to deal with cases where the strict application of the law would result in injustice. The court of chancery had the power to grant equitable remedies, such as injunctions and specific performance.
Spread of Common Law
The common law system began to spread beyond England during the 17th and 18th centuries. As England expanded its empire, the legal system was exported to other countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia.
In the United States, common law became the foundation for the legal system, and it continues to be used in many areas of law today. However, the United States also has a separate body of law, known as statutory law, which is created by legislative bodies.
Modern Use of Common Law
Today, the common law system is still used in England and many other countries. It continues to evolve, with judges making decisions based on earlier cases and legal precedent. However, the system is also influenced by other sources of law, such as statutes and regulations.
In England, the common law system is used in areas such as contract law, tort law, and property law. The decisions of the courts are binding on lower courts, and they are often cited in legal arguments.
In conclusion, the history of common law in England is a fascinating one, and it has had a profound impact on the legal systems of many other countries. From its origins in the 11th century to its modern use, common law has evolved and adapted over time. Today, it remains an important part of the legal system in England and many other countries, and it will likely continue to influence legal systems for many years to come.
What is common law?
Common law is a legal system where judges make decisions based on earlier cases and legal precedents.
When did the common law system begin?
The common law system began in England in the 11th century.
How has the common law system influenced other countries?
The common law system has been exported to other countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia, where it has become the foundation for the legal system.
What is the court of chancery?
The court of chancery was established to deal with cases where the strict application of the law would result in injustice. It had the power to grant equitable remedies, such as injunctions and specific performance.