Common Law Resources Explained
Common Law has been in force for over five hundred years across our country and is a legal precedent that is created by a court of judges. Common Law differs slightly to statute law as statutes are virtually hard coded into our legal system whereas common law is in a continuous state of evolvement and changes frequently.
The main reason for this within common law is that each judge has their own opinion of each case they deal with so it is likely that one judge may deliver a much generous verdict on a case than another who sees the offence differently. Of course both of these said judges would have to stay in the confines of formal legislation but each can interpret this as he or she wishes. The truth about common law is that it is the foundation upon which the British legal system is built on as many of the laws we see today are direct derivatives of a common law. The reason common law was first incorporated into our country is that there was a need for a court to have the ability to supersede courts of less prestige that had resolved a case in a manner which was to be disputed.
This allowed the courts to re arrest and charge many criminals who had escaped full justice and then sentence them to a much harsher punishment if the crime had called for it. This also had the affect of working the other way as prisoners who felt they had been hard done by or thought that their trial was unfair had grounds to ask this higher court to rescind their punishments if they could prove their innocence. Common law is now incorporated in some form by most countries around the world as at some time or another they have used or referred to our laws to help them in deciding theirs.
This is the reason that you will sometimes hear of cases in UK courts where judges have specifically referred to case abroad to assess the amount of damages or sentences do dish out in any particular case. In many ways common law is a judge’s best friend as it gives them the ability to see things as they wish rather than being sent into court with a robotic mindset which would not allow them to deal with all aspects of the case. The way it is they are allowed to express their own opinions about the severity of the case and deal with it as they feel fit as long as it keeps within the guidelines of our legislative system. Of course this type of flexibility has also caused many holes to appear in the common law division as just as it can be used for good it can also be manipulated to serve other purposes which we see more and more each day across the world. Other research areas such as EU Law can be located on the Official European Union Law Website.
For those of you who are still wondering the difference between statute law and common law the best way to explain it is to imagine you are still in school and you have been given a school rules book stating every rule that must be abided by, this would constitute statute law then imagine that you were walking through a corridor and there was a highlighted sign saying keep to the left that was not highlighted in the rules book. This would constitute common law as it is a guideline that is in place which has not yet been included in the school rules book. As you can see statute law is unforgiving and although all of our laws are based on common law statute tends to be deemed more important unless of course the judge in question feels that the case should set a precedent. This would then see a review of the statue involved and more likely than not it will go down in history as breaking case law. For upto date news relating to the UK Law system and other legal based news datasheets, we recommend reviewing The Guardians Law Resources, of which are updated daily with the latest changes and law related issues.
So in summary common law is where the foundations of our legal system were formed and as time as progressed the laws within it have given birth to many others which have become statutes.