How Did Common Law Develop?

One of the most frequently asked questions in the history of the legal system is: “How did common law develop?” This article will discuss the evolution of common law and the expansion of its use from Europe to Asia. Lakshay Kumar, a second-year B.A.LLB student at Delhi Metropolitan Education, writes about common law and its expansion to India and Asia. Here are some of the key points that helped form the foundation of common law.

Common law is the body of laws declared by judges. It is derived from precedent and custom. King Henry II implemented legal reforms in the 12th century that made the law applicable to the whole country. For example, courts are bound by principles of previous cases, called precedent. These principles apply in any case, including the current one. Common law is also used to establish rules and procedures. For example, article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code governs contracts between merchants and sales of goods.

Common law evolved in England as the church played an important role in government. Court decisions were recorded to create consistency. People could also refer to previous decisions as precedents. This process led to the development of a complex system of laws. Sometimes, legislative bodies would supplement the laws by passing acts. During Henry II’s reign, common law spread throughout England and was supplemented by a series of acts. The laws followed the expansion of the empire, and the English common law system soon became the foundation of several nations.

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