US Case Law

For an American lawyer, the law is first and foremost a case law example. The rules of law enter the legal system only after being repeatedly applied and interpreted by judges. In American courts, reference is usually made not to laws but to court decisions where they apply. Here it is worth mentioning the critical term of American law – judicial precedent.

Case law definition

Precedent is a decision of a state judicial body taken as a model when considering similar cases in the future. It can be used to confirm or explain any similar fact or circumstance that is relevant in the legal case.

The essence of precedent is the duty of judges to make decisions based on decisions of higher courts. Judicial precedent is created, as a rule, by higher bodies of the judicial system. The precedent system’s condition is the availability of sources of information on precedents, i.e., case law examples.

It is difficult to determine the date of entry into force of the precedent norm, as the unwritten norm is formed for an indefinite period. There are three possible options for judges to apply the new legal cases:

1) only to the facts which have arisen after acceptance of this norm (perspective action).

2) to the facts that took place after the announcement of the new rule, and to the facts in those cases that are in court (current prospective action)

3) to the facts that arose before and after its adoption (retrospective application).

Traditionally, the usa cases norm’s application is connected with the third case, i.e., the reverse effect.

Legal cases

To decide as previously decided – it is imperative, i.e., each court is obliged to follow the precedents set by the higher court and created by itself.

As part of its British heritage, the federal government and all states except Louisiana share a common law legal tradition. Under American common law, judicial decisions have the force of law within the respective jurisdiction. Therefore, case law search is a necessary part of American legal practice. The power of the law stems from precedent and the doctrine of stare decisis. These principles require (1) lower courts to follow higher courts’ decisions and (2) that the court follows its own past decisions in the absence of compelling evidence against it. The common law tradition also judges considerable leeway to make laws in essential areas such as trademarks and contracts in the states.

Case law search on our portal lawrina.com

The case law has a legal effect, which varies depending on the court issuing the decision. Case law is published in national, regional “compendiums of judgments” or in “compendiums” of states, and the “compendiums” themselves are bound volumes of published judgments. Concerning the lower courts, not all decisions are published, and only those published are relevant as precedent. On lawrina.com you can find the definition of the case law, it`s implementation and also the great database of usa legal cases.

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