Common law is a system of law that is based on past judicial decisions rather than on statutes passed by legislatures. This means that common law courts look to past precedential decisions of relevant courts when the parties disagree on what the law is.doing so, the common law court synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. The court is usually bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision if a similar dispute has been resolved in the past (a principle known as stare decisis). However, if the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, or if legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue. In other words, one party or the other has to win, and on disagreements of law, the judges make that decision.
The court's opinion not only announces the decision, but also provides the rationale behind it. This, along with similar past decisions, forms a precedent to which future judges and litigants must adhere. Common law - the body of law made by judges - therefore has equal footing with statutes (laws passed by legislatures) and regulations (promulgated by the executive branch). The interplay among these various sources of law will be explained later in this article. Stare decision, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems. The common law is a legal system that was developed in England after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The term "common law" refers to the fact that this system was common to all of the king's courts across England. The British Empire spread the English legal system to its historical colonies, many of which still use the common law system today. Common law systems are based on the English legal system and give great weight to common law precedent. These systems are used in many countries around the world, and they often produce similar results to the English legal system..