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 Meanwhile, Kaur fears that adverse case law could accumulate. Lydia Depillis, ProPublica, "The Trump Administration’s Final Push to Make It Easier for Religious Employers to Discriminate," 23 Dec. 2020 The Supreme Court said Magers in his appeal failed to comply with Rule 28, which requires an appeal to argue the case with citations to case law and statutes. al, "Lawsuit from father of aborted fetus dismissed; Alabama Supreme Court calls for overturn of Roe v. Wade," 30 Oct. 2020 Lonita Baker, one of the attorneys representing Palmer, said case law supports Palmer's request for a new prosecutor, according to CBS News affiliate WLKY. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Kentucky council unanimously denies request for independent prosecutor in Breonna Taylor case," 4 Dec. 2020 For seventeen years, no federal prisoners were put to death in the United States, and both public sentiment and Supreme Court case law have trended against capital punishment. E. Tammy Kim, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Final Cruelty: Executing Prisoners," 25 Nov. 2020 Bob Jarvis, a longtime law professor at Nova Southeastern University, argues the case law being referenced by Gottlieb may not hold up in Jones’ defense. Safid Deen,, "Former Dolphin Reshad Jones may have been arrested illegally after car ran out of gas, his lawyer says," 19 Nov. 2020 Van Wagner said such peculiar facts have never been litigated, and there's no case law to guide Hepler. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dells man charged in kidnap plot says Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has a conflict in seeking his extradition," 18 Nov. 2020 Her inquiries were aimed at determining how Judge Barrett’s judicial approach and respect for existing case law would guide her decisions in particular cases — and what the consequences could be for the American people. Susan S. Carlson, Star Tribune, "Counterpoint: Sen. Klobuchar did her job — skillfully and graciously," 21 Oct. 2020 The new 178-page manual provides a guide to state laws regarding child abuse and neglect and also includes details about case law, how to handle witnesses, evidence consideration and trial strategies, Cameron said. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "Daniel Cameron announces new guidance his office produced to help prosecute child abuse," 27 Oct. 2020

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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The first known use of case law was in 1731

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Case law.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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

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