The Law : The Common Law

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In the grand scheme of all the laws, there are many laws that are not legislated. These are the judge made law, law that has been evolving out of the common core of legal standards and beliefs for hundreds of years. The common law is the law that comes out of the judicial decisions that help clarify the ambiguity that often times arises out of the legislated law. The common law does a great deal of work because it helps shape and mold the legislation and allows the statutory ambiguity to be more reflective of the current state of the nation and of the body of the law itself.
“Historically, [the common law] is made quite differently from the Continental code. The code precedes judgments; the common law follows them. The code articulates in chapters, sections, and paragraphs the rules in accordance with which judgments are given. The common law on the other hand is inarticulate until it is expressed in a judgment. Where the code governs, it is the judge 's duty to ascertain the law from the words which the code uses. Where the common law governs, the judge, in what is now the forgotten past, decided the case in accordance with morality and custom and later judges followed his decision. They did not do so by construing the words of his judgment. They looked for the reason which had made him decide the case the way he did, the ratio decidendi as it came to be called. Thus it was the principle of the case, not the words, which went into the common law. So historically the

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