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 ?
Conclusion: Road traffic injuries are one of the foremost causes of medico legal cases followed by blunt trauma and sharp weapon injuries.
The news agency quoted Chebbi as saying a total of 44 legal cases had been prepared by his ministry against Ben Ali, his family and his inner circle.
Other charges include "conspiring against the state" and "drug use." Chebbi said that a total of 44 legal cases had been prepared by his ministry against Ben Ali, his family and his inner circle.
"The charge we have announced today reflects the company's ongoing efforts to resolve certain longstanding legal cases," said general counsel Dan Troy.
The plan follows years of legal cases in which European court judges have ruled that freedom to cross EU borders for treatment should be a right for all.
This paper addresses the question: How is corruption in higher education understood and defined in legal cases, what particular cases receive more attention, and how these cases correlate with the major educational reforms, changes, and socio-economic context in the nation?
The service includes databases of legal cases from superior courts of Commonwealth countries, selected legislation, case law, legal forms, practice notes, precedents and treaties from the 11 countries.
Gilbert--who was born and raised in Manhattan and studied law at Georgetown--had been handling a myriad of legal cases but, more and more, found himself drawn to the real estate cases that involved intricate tax assessments, land contamination and corporate disclosure cases where real estate was the primary asset.
Although he now works in real estate, for many years he represented Poles, Russians, Czechs, Hungarians, Romanians, and Ukranians in legal cases when they sought asylum in the United States.
While the field is replete with excellent collections of personal narratives of the experience of disability, and, though fewer, with legal analyses of court cases, the ADA, and American disability rights history, O'Brien's skillful blending of the two genres offers readers the best of both: powerful personal narratives and a thorough grounding in legal cases, issues, and precedents which touch upon the lives of each of the people who share their experiences.
US PHARMACEUTICAL giant Merck will consider settling a limited number of legal cases over its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx.
Much of the evidence for Long's arguments come from legal cases, in which citizens grappling with issues of gender, respectability, race and commercial sexuality openly expressed their views, and, in some cases, movingly recounted their experiences and relationships.