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 ?
Then we would have no quarrel with the resulting caselaw, but only because our normative claim--that good decisionmaking allows for departures from first-order rationality where there is adequate reason for such departures--would have been built into hard look review itself.
This is a fair point, and it is certainly the case that many parts of our constitutional text are worded at a high level of generality and the caselaw construing the text is thus of critical importance.
The court then created some by citing significant civilian caselaw (178) and holding that his refusal was insignificant, so long as the wife shared equal access to the premises, which she did.
Neither lawyer looked once at his notes, as he quoted extensive passages of legislation, and invoked detailed caselaw, legislative history, and an Feldman leaned forward and pointedly challenged each lawyer's arguments on an equally high plain of rapid fire analysis, with comparable mastery of the statutes, caselaw, and record.
Its case citator, QuickCite, contains parallel citations, case histories, cases, and judicial treatments, while the service provides access to 2500 databases of statutory materials, caselaw, current awareness newsletters and legal commentary.
The Judge Advocate General's Office has long since done the study of the law -- national and international, statute and treaty and caselaw alike -- and determined that the Geneva Convention/Hague Accords rule on no expanding bullets is limited to declared warfare in an international theater.
The report of the American Bar Association and a review of current caselaw support this proposition.
55) The court of appeals emphasized that the absence of caselaw precluded a finding that the law was "clearly established" at the time of the violation.
Courts of Appeals caselaw to determine the applicability of the FTCA's discretionary function exception to this lawsuit.
While the federal government may encourage states to enact or administer a federal regulatory program, it may not compel them to do so under prior caselaw.