This article is about the general legal concept. For the book common law trust vs statutory trust Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Not to be confused with Jus commune. Common law countries are shaded pink.
The common law—so named because it was “common” to all the king’s courts across England—originated in the practices of the courts of the English kings in the centuries following the Norman Conquest in 1066. The term common law has many connotations. The first three set out here are the most-common usages within the legal community. Other connotations from past centuries are sometimes seen, and are sometimes heard in everyday speech.
2, differentiates “common law” jurisdictions and legal systems from “civil law” or “code” jurisdictions. Judicial precedent is given less interpretive weight, which means that a judge deciding a given case has more freedom to interpret the text of a statute independently, and less predictably. Common law systems trace their history to England, while civil law systems trace their history through the Napoleonic Code back to the Corpus Juris Civilis of Roman law. Courts of equity rely on common law principles of binding precedent. In one usage that is now archaic, but that gives insight into the history of the common law, “common law” referred to the pre-Christian system of law, imported by the Saxons to England, and dating to before the Norman conquest, and before there was any consistent law to be applied. Common law” as the term is used today in common law countries contrasts with ius commune. While historically the ius commune became a secure point of reference in continental European legal systems, in England it was not a point of reference at all.