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Common law

Common law is [law] developed by [judge] s through [decisions] of [courts] and similar tribunals (also called [case law] ), rather than through [legislative statutes] or [executive branch action] . A "common law system" is a [legal system] that gives great precedential weight to common law, on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different occasions. The body of [precedent] is called "common law" and it binds future decisions. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, an idealized common law court looks to past [precedent] ial decisions of relevant courts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is [bound] to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision (this principle is known as [stare decisis] ). If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases (called a " [matter of first impression] "), judges have the authority and duty to make law by creating [precedent] . Thereafter, the new decision becomes precedent, and will bind future courts.

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