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 Latham & Watkins attorney Samir Deger-Sen, representing Oak View Comunidad, argued that case law demonstrates that associations have standing to bring cases involving their members. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Court hears appeals of ruling that exempted Huntington Beach from state ‘sanctuary’ law," 23 Oct. 2019 This is how prosecutions stemming from the Umbrella Movement operated—by building up a body of case law that could eventually be used to prosecute its leaders. Jan Wetzel, Time, "The Hong Kong Government's Use of Emergency Regulations Must Be Challenged," 22 Oct. 2019 After citing case law on the matter and arguing with Sinnott, Susan Church was placed in handcuffs and taken into custody., "The state Commission on Judicial Conduct is investigating Boston Municipal Court Judge Richard Sinnott’s handling of arraignments earlier this month of several Straight Pride counter-demonstrators.," 25 Sep. 2019 Hawley’s standard is most assuredly not the viewpoint-neutrality standard seen in First Amendment case law. David French, National Review, "Josh Hawley’s Internet Censorship Bill Is an Unwise, Unconstitutional Mess," 20 June 2019 Yost argues in a brief filed in front of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati that Supreme Court case law says that only the state of Ohio can speak on behalf of all its residents. Eric Heisig,, "Ohio AG Dave Yost again seeks control of opioid litigation, asks appeals court to halt first federal trial," 30 Aug. 2019 John Austin, a 57-year-old former military cop and fugitive recovery consultant and former New Jerseyite who resides in Idaho, is squarely on Anderson’s side, case law and court rules be damned. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: On my honor, I will do my best to describe the ongoing Boy Scout scandal," 10 Aug. 2019 Brent Helms, the attorney who filed the wrongful-death suit on a contingency basis, said that case law had already established personhood for fetuses who perish at the hands of reckless people, such as drunken drivers or domestic abusers. Farah Stockman, New York Times, "Alabamians Defend Arrest of Woman Whose Fetus Died in Shooting," 30 June 2019 Assistant State Attorney Tim Donnelly said case law supports the charges. NBC News, "Bond reduced for former deputy in Parkland shooting accused of child neglect," 6 June 2019

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

14 Nov 2019

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

Rhyming Dictionary: 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 of little or no value

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!