case law


Definition of case law

: law established by judicial decision in cases

Examples of case law in a Sentence

Case law says that a person has a right to privacy.

Recent Examples on the Web

Double jeopardy: The Supreme Court rejected arguments from an Alabama man represented by a Cleveland attorney to overturn long-standing case law,’s Eric Heisig reports. Cliff Pinckard,, "How the Cuyahoga County Jail erroneously released a murderer: The Wake Up for Wednesday, June 19, 2019," 19 June 2019 There is little case law on the government’s discretion to ban individual reporters from government buildings, though controversies over press access in Washington aren’t new. Byron Tau, WSJ, "White House Restores Full Access for CNN’s Acosta," 19 Nov. 2018 Attorneys for Skloot responded to the allegations by saying there is case law that would establish that Lawrence and Ron have no authority over other family members speaking about Henrietta Lacks at public forums. Deneen L. Brown, Washington Post, "Can the ‘immortal cells’ of Henrietta Lacks sue for their own rights?," 25 June 2018 Citing case law, Rugh said this crisis might lead an outside observer to doubt the fairness of the proceeding. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Judge rules Navy SEAL murder trial will proceed," 8 June 2019 Otero repeatedly asked Avenatti to cite case law to support his arguments. Brian Melley, The Seattle Times, "Porn star’s hush money suit against Trump could be tossed," 22 Jan. 2019 More recent First Amendment case law suggests that the president could win by convincing a judge that the decision was merely reasonable, according to Mr. Volokh. James Freeman, WSJ, "CNN’s Acosta Privilege," 13 Nov. 2018 Both writings pointed to some of the same case law examples. Alexandra Berzon, WSJ, "Justice Department’s Reversal on Online Gambling Tracked Memo From Adelson Lobbyists," 18 Jan. 2019 However, very little case law exists on the clause. Byron Tau, WSJ, "Former Intelligence Committee Aide’s Lawyers Want Testimony From Senators," 27 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'case law.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of case law

1731, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for case law

Last Updated

27 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for case law

The first known use of case law was in 1731

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More Definitions for case law

case law


English Language Learners Definition of case law

: law that is based on decisions that judges have made in past cases

case law


Legal Definition of case law

: law established by judicial decisions in cases as distinguished from law created by legislation

called also decisional law

— see also common law

More from Merriam-Webster on case law

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with case law Encyclopedia article about case law

Comments on case law

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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