case law


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Case Law

Legal principles enunciated and embodied in judicial decisions that are derived from the application of particular areas of law to the facts of individual cases.

As opposed to statutes—legislative acts that proscribe certain conduct by demanding or prohibiting something or that declare the legality of particular acts—case law is a dynamic and constantly developing body of law. Each case contains a portion wherein the facts of the controversy are set forth as well as the holding and dicta—an explanation of how the judge arrived at a particular conclusion. In addition, a case might contain concurring and dissenting opinions of other judges.

Since the U.S. legal system has a common-law system, higher court decisions are binding on lower courts in cases with similar facts that raise similar issues. The concept of precedent, or Stare Decisis, means to follow or adhere to previously decided cases in judging the case at bar. It means that appellate case law should be considered as binding upon lower courts.

case law

n. reported decisions of appeals courts and other courts which make new interpretations of the law and, therefore, can be cited as precedents. These interpretations are distinguished from "statutory law" which is the statutes and codes (laws) enacted by legislative bodies, "regulatory law" which is regulations required by agencies based on statutes, and in some states, the Common Law, which is the generally accepted law carried down from England. The rulings in trials and hearings which are not appealed and not reported are not case law and, therefore, not precedent or new interpretations. Law students principally study case law to understand the application of law to facts and learn the courts' subsequent interpretations of statutes. (See: case system, precedent)

case law

law established by following judicial decisions given in earlier cases. See PRECEDENT, STARE DECISIS.
References in periodicals archive ?
The 1985 codification of drainage case law was intended to guide counties toward regulating drainage projects and permits effectively by ensuring that the counties balance each landowner's interests in the fairest manner possible.
Left unaddressed in the existing case law, moreover, is the exact scope and meaning of "tax return preparation" work.
the relevant body of case law, both state and federal, that shape officer behavior;
That case law (supporting President Bush's actions) includes a 1972 Supreme Court decision, four federal courts of appeal decisions, and the 2002 opinion of the Court of Review specially established to hear FISA appeals (In Re: Sealed Case).
To round out the program, Palm Beach County attorney Julie Littky-Rubin provided a general case law update and discussion on the Daubert/Frye case law, and PBCTLA board member Richard M.
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The 900-page book was developed to provide a thorough analysis of the statutory law, case law and regulations affecting drug testing in the workplace.
Administration lawyers have selectively read case law to come to the conclusions they wanted.
Do you read or are you a typical sales guy whose eyes glaze over the FAR, who has no clue about case law, who does not know how to find the ten top primes at EPA and who really has two skills, talking on the phone and drinking/golfing?
Now BNA, which entered the-IP market with United States Patent Quarterly 70 years ago, reports the launch of BNA's Intellectual Property Library on the web, bringing law practitioners "unprecedented access to the most comprehensive and authoritative collection of IP case law on the internet.