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

First, the United States already has extensive case law on racial gerrymandering that can be borrowed to help assess partisan gerrymandering. Bernard Grofman, Washington Post, "This might be the way to prove partisan gerrymandering, according to the new Supreme Court standard," 9 July 2018 In the first case of its kind to go before a federal judge in Oregon, Parents for Privacy argued that the privacy rights of their children are protected by the U.S. Constitution and supported by case law. Aimee Green,, "Judge asked to throw out transgender bathroom lawsuit at Oregon high school," 23 May 2018 This might explain why the long-winded overview Morgan presented at Wednesday’s press conference included so many provocative sound bites and so little in the way of relevant case law. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Ex-Card Luke Hancock sympathetic, but law seems to be on NCAA's side," 11 July 2018 One of the case law examples that Sporting point to in the document relates to Australian footballer Mark Bresciano and his controversial 2012 move from UAE side Al-Nasr to Qatari team Al-Gharafa., "Sporting Lisbon Demand €54.7m Compensation for Rui Patricio from Wolves After Lodging Complaint," 11 July 2018 But the intersection of the First Amendment and public education is a tricky crossroads, one complicated by decades of confusing Supreme Court case law and a frequent deference to school officials who favor order and control above all else. Will Nevin,, "WW #96: Students, comics and a student speech comic," 16 Mar. 2018 In an explanation that extended for an hour, Kendall rejected those arguments, citing case law and wording of the treaty. Ted Gregory,, "Suburban woman who fears persecution for exposing corruption in Lithuania fails to convince judge to halt extradition," 12 July 2018 Affirmative action in higher education has been scrutinized by the highest courts since 1978, and there is a corpus of case law about racial preferences in the workplace going back about as long. Richard J. Reddick, Fortune, "How Undoing Affirmative Action Hurts America's Colleges," 5 July 2018 But the right to represent oneself is equally sacrosanct, said Atlanta defense attorney Don Samuel, who’s authored books on criminal case law. Bill Rankin, ajc, "Her life on the line, Gwinnett woman shuns lawyers in death-penalty case," 28 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of case law

1731, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about case law

Statistics for case law

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for case law

The first known use of case law was in 1731

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

See words that rhyme with case law Encyclopedia article about case law

Comments on case law

What made you want to look up case law? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!