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 ?
With solid and consistent support in statutes and caselaw, the Trusts Third section on the "Validity and Effect of Revocable Inter Vivos Trusts" states:(29)
Turning next to the caselaw, the court summarized its jurisprudence by stating that the cases of late made it "clear that it is the interest in protecting the proper functioning of the office, rather than the interest in protecting its occupant, that is of primary importance" in determining what immunity to accord to a prosecutor.
Finally, the danger must be to the innocent, and while the statutes don't always spell that out, the caselaw most certainly does.
While some caselaw recognizes the theoretical availability of "direct" approaches to proving market power (10) and academic theories abound, the existing theories and doctrines are a smorgasbord of incompatible and often incoherent recipes.
Servicemembers Group Life Insurance caselaw excludes stepchildren and certain illegitimate children.
The means-ends proportionality analysis has been further elaborated in Canadian caselaw, caselaw that is widely cited by constitutional courts around the world.
27) Subsequent federal caselaw has reaffirmed that commitment.
H]ad counsel conducted even the most fleeting review of Thirteenth Amendment caselaw, he would have soon discovered an unbroken line of cases to the contrary.
Where the settlor has chosen to write a legally significant letter and has not chosen to make it expressly confidential to the trustees (until the discovery process of litigation for ]breach of trust) the caselaw is unclear on whether beneficiaries have an unfettered right to see and copy the letter of wishes.
Moreover, because scholars and jurists uniformly have disregarded or misread early caselaw interpreting the AIA, they have missed discovering what it is that the statute actually does: it governs the equitable jurisdiction of the federal courts.
Although Creditors' Rights offers insights to the most experienced practitioners through a detailed treatment of each section of the bankruptcy code and a thorough discussion of caselaw, the text also functions as a guide to the uninitiated, and begins with an introductory part covering terminology, historical context of previous bankruptcy law, jurisdiction of the bankruptcy courts, and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.
21) The principles of war, like caselaw, inform the commander's understanding of how to wage war.