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

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 This is both right under current case law and incredibly dumb. Will Nevin,, "WW #96: Students, comics and a student speech comic," 16 Mar. 2018 Alternatively, at the next upcoming annual meeting, the unit owners can elect directors who pledge to comply with the applicable governing documents, statutes and case law. Howard Dakoff,, "Aldermen introduce ordinance to strike down controversial part of Illinois condo law," 6 Feb. 2018 What Sasser has found here is a kind of case law — and the rudiments of a justice system. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why we can’t stop debating whether Facebook sells data," 14 Dec. 2018 In the meantime, Rynearson sued to challenge the constitutionality of the law, and Leighton dismissed it based on case law that says federal courts should abstain from intervening in state cases while proceedings are ongoing in state court. Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "Does Washington cyberstalking law violate free-speech rights? Bainbridge man gets new chance to make his case," 11 Sep. 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

4 Apr 2019

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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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