In law, long-established practice common to many or to a particular place or institution and generally recognized as having the force of law. In England during the Anglo-Saxon period, local customs formed most laws affecting family rights, ownership and inheritance, contracts, and violence between individuals. The Norman conquerors granted the validity of customary law, adapting it to their feudal system. In the 13th and 14th centuries, English law was given statutory authority under the crown, making the “customs of the realm” England's common law. See also culture; folklore; myth; taboo.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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