Characteristics Of Common Law

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Irish and EU Law Assignment
1. Outline the main characteristics of a common law legal system.
“Common law dates from the 11th century when William I set up Royal Courts to apply a uniform (common) system of law across the whole of England” (Hughes & Ferrett 2011). Until that time, there were laws that were differently interpreted from one city to another. “Common law is generally an uncodified system. This means that there is no comprehensive compilation of legal rules and statutes. While common law does rely on some scattered statutes, which are legislative decisions, it is largely based on precedent, meaning the judicial decisions that have already been made in similar cases” (Robbins n.d.).
Common law is case law made by judges based on similar decisions made in previous cases. The common law system is the legal system that sets up legal precedents arising from conflicts between different individuals. The main aspect of Common Law system is that it is unfair to treat differently some cases that have a similarity. That means, if there was a case in the past that has been resolved, then, in the future similar cases that may appear, the court is bound to follow the prior decisions that have been made by other courts (this principle is known as stare decisis that means ‘let the decision stand’). If the courts find that the existing dispute is totally different from other previous cases, judges have the power and responsibility to make law by creating precedent.

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