WHAT IS CASE LAW?
Case law is judge made law.
CASE LAW OR....THE LAW OF THE CASE
Case law or the law of the case is a published opinion from an appellant court, printed into books called reports or law reports and they are also made available electronically as well.
Some cases are only a few pages in length (some cases could be less) and some cases are over 100 pages long, some are plainly spelled out and some are written in an artful and complex way.
Case law quotes are either exactly quoted or are a summary of the case (or a summary of part of a case). Case law is not 'the common law', case law is part of the common law (a portion of the common law or law as opposed to equity or statutory law; statutes and codes made by legislators).
It should also be noted that not all case law is binding precedence, first reason is because some cases in whole or in part have been overturned, another reason is a lower court may set precedence in a specific jurisdiction but that ruling will not affect others outside that jurisdiction. Published opinions delivered by the majority members of the U.S. Supreme Court will set binding precedence for all the states as the law of the land and published in the same case/opinion the minority members of the courts dissenting opinions as well unless there is a unanimous decision. Dissenting opinions even by the U.S. Supreme court are not binding precedent but can be used as persuasive authority.
Case law. The aggregate of reported cases as forming a body of jurisprudence, or the law of a particular subject as evidenced or formed by the adjudged cases, in distinction to statutes and other sources of law. It includes the aggregate of reported cases that interpret statutes, regulations, and constitutional provisions. See common law. Black's Law Dict. 6th Ed. page 216
Common law. As distinguished from statutory law created by the enactment of legislatures, the common law comprises the body of the those principles and rules of action, relating to the government and security of persons and property, which derive their authority solely from the usages and customs of immemorial antiquity, or from the judgments and decrees of the courts recognizing, affirming and enforcing such usages and customs; and, in this sense, particularly the ancient unwritten law of England. In general it is a body of law that develops and derives through judicial decisions, as distinguished from legislative enactments. The "common law" is all the statutory and case law background of England and the American colonies before the American Revolution. People v. Rehman, 253 C.A.2d 119, 61 Cal. Rptr. 65, 85. It consists of those principles, usage and rules of action applicable to government security of persons and property which do not rest for their authority upon any express and positive declaration of the will of the legislature. Bishop v. U.S., Tex., 334 F.Supp. 415, 418.
As distinguished from ecclesiastical law, it is the system of jurisprudence administered by the purely secular tribunals.
Calif. Civil Code, Section 22.2 provides that the "common law of England, so far as it is not repugnant to or inconsistent with the constitution of the United States, or the Constitution or the laws of this State, is the rule of decision in all the courts of this state." In a Broad sense, "common law" may designate all that part of the positive law, juristic theory, and ancient custom of any state or nation which is of general and universal application, thus marking of special or local rules or customs. For Federal common law see that title. As a compound adjective "common law" is understood as contrasted with or opposed to statutory and sometimes also to "equitable" or to "criminal." Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. p. 276-277
Holding. The legal principle to be drawn from the opinion (decision) of the court. Opposite of dictum (q.v.). It may refer to a trial ruling of the court upon evidence or other questions presented during the trial. Edward L. Eyre & Co. v. Hirsch et al., 36 Wash.2d 439, 218 P.2d 888. Also, general term for property, securities, ect. owned by person or corporation. See also Decision; Dicta. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. page 731
Judicial decision. Application by a court or tribunal exercising judicial authority of competent jurisdiction of the law to a state of facts proved, or admitted to be true, and a declaration of the consequences which follow. In re Knofler's Estate, 73 Ohio App. 383, 52 N.E.2d 667, 668. See also Decision; Decree; Judgment; Opinion, Order. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. p. 847
Precedent. An adjudged case or decision of a court, considered as furnishing an example or authority for an identical or similar case afterwards arising or a similar question of law. Courts attempt to decide cases on the basis of principles established by prior cases. Prior cases which are close in facts or legal principles to the case under consideration are called precedents. A rule of law established for the first time by a court for a particular type of case and thereafter referred to in deciding similar cases. Also see Stare decisis. A course of conduct once followed which may serve as a guide for future conduct. See Custom and usage; habit. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. page 1176
Stare decisis. Stare Decisis. Lat. To adbide by, or adhere to, decided cases. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. page 1406
Res judicata. A matter adjudged; a thing judicially acted upon or decided; a thing or matter settled by judgement. Rule that a final judgement rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction on the merits is conclusive as to the rights of the parties and their privies, and, as to them, constitutes as absolute bar to a subsequent action involving the same claim, demand or cause of action. Matchett v. Rose, 36 Ill.App.3d 638, 344 N.E.2d 770, 779. And to be applicable, requires identity in thing sued for as well as identity of cause of action, of persons and parties to action, and of quality in persons for or against whom claim is made. The sum and substance of the whole rule is that a matter once judicially decided is finally decided. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 101 S.Ct. 411, 415, 66 L.Ed.2d 308. See also Collateral estoppel doctrine; Final decision rule; Issue preclusion. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. page 1305
Dicta. Opinions of a judge which do not embody the resolution or determination of the specific case before the court. Expressions in court's opinion which go beyond the facts before the court and therefore are individual views of author of opinion and not binding in subsequent cases as legal precedent. State ex rel. Foster v. Naftalin, 246 Minn. 181, 74 N.W.2d 249. See also dictum. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. page 454
Case system. A method of teaching or studying the science of the law by a study of the cases historically, or by the inductive method. It was first introduced in the Law School of Harvard University in 1869-70 by Christopher C. Langdell, Dane Professor of Law. See case book. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. page 216
Remand. To send back. The act of an appellate court when it sends a case back to the trial court and orders the trial court to conduct limited new hearings or an entirely new trial, or to take some other further action. Amalgamated Workers Union of Virgin Islands v. Hess Oil Virgin Island Corp., C.A. Virgin Islands, 478 F.2d 540, 543, 28 U.S.C.A. (§) 2106. When a prisoner is brought before a judge on habeas corpus, for the purpose of obtaining liberty, the judge hears the case, and either discharges him or remands him. See also procedendo. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Edition page 1293
Law of the Land. Due process of law (q. v.). By the law of the land is most clearly intended the general law which hears before it condemns, which proceeds upon inquiry, and renders judgement only after trial. Dupuy v. Tedora, 204 La. 560, 15 So.2d 886, 891. The meaning is that every citizen shall hold his life, liberty, property, and immunities under the protection of the general rules which govern society. Rich Hill Coal Co. v. Brashore, 334 Pa. 449, 7 A.2d 302, 316; In re Stobie's Estate, 30 Cal.App.2d 525, 86 P.2d 883, 885. Everything which may pass under the form of an enactment is not the law of the land. Sedg. St & Const.Law,(2d Ed.) 475. When first used in the Magna Charta, the phrase probably meant the established law of the kingdom, in opposition to the civil or Roman law. It is now generally regarded as meaning general public laws binding on all members of the community. Janes v. Reynolds, 2 Tex. 251; Beasley v. Cunningham, 171 Tenn. 334, 103 S.W. 2d 18, 10, 110 A,LR. 306. It means due process of law warranted by the constitution, by the common law adopted by the constitution, or by statutes passed in pursuance of the constitution. Mayo v. Wilson, 1 N.H. 53. Black's Law Dictionary 4th Ed. pages 1031-1032
"Law of the land", and "due course of law" and "due process of law" are synonymous. People v. Skinner, Cal., 110 P.2d 41, 45; State v. Rossi, R.I. 284, 43 A.2D 323, 326.
Judicial discretion. Term is a broad and elastic one which is equated with sound judgement of court to be exercised according to rules of law. People v. Russel, 70 Cal.Rpr. 210, 215 448 P.2d 794. The option the trial judge has in doing or not doing a thing that cannot be demanded by a litigant as an absolute right. Kasper v. Helfrich, Mo.App., 421 S.W.2d 66, 69. A sound judgement which is not exercised arbitrarily, but with regard to what is right and equitable in circumstances and law, and which is directed by the reasoning conscience of the trial judge to a just result. State v. Grant, 10 Wash. App 468, 515, P.2d 261, 265. See also judicial duty. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. page 847-848
Judicial Review. Power of courts to review decisions of another department or level of government. Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 177, 2 L.Ed. 60. Form of appeal from an administrative body to the courts for review of either finding of fact, or of law, or both. May also refer to appellate court review of decisions of trial court or of an intermediate appellate court. See also appeal. Black's Law Dictionary 6th Ed. page 849
The judiciary's duty is “to say what the law is.” Marbury v. Madison, infra:
"If an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void, does it, notwithstanding its invalidity, bind the courts, and oblige them to give it effect? Or, in other words, though it be not law, does it constitute a rule as operative as if it was a law? This would be to overthrow in fact what was established in theory; and would seem, at first view, an absurdity too gross to be insisted on. It shall, however, receive a more attentive consideration. It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each. *178 So if a law be in opposition to the constitution; if both the law and the constitution apply to a particular case, so that the court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the constitution; or conformably to the constitution, disregarding the law; the court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty. If then the courts are to regard the constitution; and the constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature; the constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.... The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the constitution." Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137 (1803)
The above picture is a real example of what a case citation looks like from the U.S. Supreme court .
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