Code of Ur-Nammu
The Code of Ur-Nammu is the oldest known law code surviving today. It is written on tablets, in the Sumerian language c. 2100–2050 BC. The first copy of the code, in two fragments found at Nippur, was translated by Samuel Kramer in 1952; these fragments are held at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums. Owing to its partial preservation, only the prologue and 5 of the laws were discernible. Kramer noted that luck was involved in the discovery: In all probability I would have missed the Ur-Nammu tablet altogether had it not been for an opportune letter from F. R. Kraus, now Professor of Cuneiform Studies at the University of Leiden in Holland... His letter said that some years ago, in the course of his duties as curator in the Istanbul Museum, he had come upon two fragments of a tablet inscribed with Sumerian laws, had made a "join" of the two pieces, had catalogued the resulting tablet as No. 3191 of the Nippur collection of the Museum... Since Sumerian law tablets are rare, I had No. 3191 brought to my working table at once.
There it lay, light brown in color, 20 by 10 centimeters in size. More than half of the writing was destroyed, what was preserved seemed at first hopelessly unintelligible, but after several days of concentrated study, its contents began to become clear and take shape, I realized with no little excitement that what I held in my hand was a copy of the oldest law code as yet known to man. Further tablets were found in Ur and translated in 1965, allowing some 30 of the 57 laws to be reconstructed. Another copy found in Sippar contains slight variants; the preface directly credits the laws to king Ur-Nammu of Ur. The author who had the laws written onto cuneiform tablets is still somewhat under dispute; some scholars have attributed it to Ur-Nammu's son Shulgi. Although it is known that earlier law-codes existed, such as the Code of Urukagina, this represents the earliest extant legal text, it is three centuries older than the Code of Hammurabi. The laws are arranged in casuistic form of IF THEN —a pattern followed in nearly all codes.
For the oldest extant law-code known to history, it is considered remarkably advanced because it institutes fines of monetary compensation for bodily damage as opposed to the lex talionis principle of Babylonian law. However, robbery and rape were capital offenses; the code reveals a glimpse at societal structure during the "Sumerian Renaissance". Beneath the lugal, all members of society belonged to one of two basic strata: the "lu" or free person, or the slave; the son of a lu was called a dumu-nita until he married, becoming a "young man". A woman went from being a daughter to a wife if she outlived her husband, a widow, who could remarry; the prologue, typical of Mesopotamian law codes, invokes the deities for Ur-Nammu's kingship and Utu, decrees "equity in the land".... After An and Enlil had turned over the Kingship of Ur to Nanna, at that time did Ur-Nammu, son born of Ninsun, for his beloved mother who bore him, in accordance with his principles of equity and truth... Did Ur-Nammu the mighty warrior, king of Ur, king of Sumer and Akkad, by the might of Nanna, lord of the city, in accordance with the true word of Utu, establish equity in the land.
He fashioned the bronze sila-measure, standardized the one-mina weight, standardized the stone weight of a shekel of silver in relation to one mina... The orphan was not delivered up to the rich man. One mina was made equal to 60 shekels. Among the surviving laws are these: 1. If a man commits a murder, that man must be killed. 2. If a man commits a robbery, he will be killed. 3. If a man commits a kidnapping, he is to pay 15 shekels of silver. 4. If a slave marries a slave, that slave is set free, he does not leave the household.^ 5. If a slave marries a native person, he/she is to hand the firstborn son over to his owner. 6. If a man violates the right of another and deflowers the virgin wife of a young man, they shall kill that male. 7. If the wife of a man followed after another man and he slept with her, they shall slay that woman, but that male shall be set free. 8. If a man proceeded by force, deflowered the virgin female slave of another man, that man must pay five shekels of silver. 9. If a man divorces his first-time wife, he shall pay one mina of silver.
10. If it is a widow whom he divorces, he shall pay half a mina of silver. 11. If the man had slept with the widow without there having been any marriage contract, he need not pay any silver. 13. If a man is accused of sorcery he must undergo ordeal by water. 14. If a man accused the wife of a man of adultery, the river ordeal proved her innocent the man who had accused her must pay one-third of a mina of silver. 15. If a prospective son-in-law enters the house of his prospective father-in-law, but his father-in-law gives his daughter to another man, the father-in-law shall return to the rejected son-in-law twofold the amount of bridal presents he had brought. 16. If, he shall weigh and deliver to him 2 shekels of silver. 17. If a slave escapes from the city limits, someone returns him, the owner shall pay two shekels to the one who returned him
Babylonia was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia. A small Amorite-ruled state emerged in 1894 BC, which contained the minor administrative town of Babylon, it was a small provincial town during the Akkadian Empire but expanded during the reign of Hammurabi in the first half of the 18th century BC and became a major capital city. During the reign of Hammurabi and afterwards, Babylonia was called "the country of Akkad", a deliberate archaism in reference to the previous glory of the Akkadian Empire, it was involved in rivalry with the older state of Assyria to the north and Elam to the east in Ancient Iran. Babylonia became the major power in the region after Hammurabi created a short-lived empire, succeeding the earlier Akkadian Empire, Third Dynasty of Ur, Old Assyrian Empire; the Babylonian Empire, however fell apart after the death of Hammurabi and reverted to a small kingdom. Like Assyria, the Babylonian state retained the written Akkadian language for official use, despite its Northwest Semitic-speaking Amorite founders and Kassite successors, who spoke a language isolate, not being native Mesopotamians.
It retained the Sumerian language for religious use, but by the time Babylon was founded, this was no longer a spoken language, having been wholly subsumed by Akkadian. The earlier Akkadian and Sumerian traditions played a major role in Babylonian and Assyrian culture, the region would remain an important cultural center under its protracted periods of outside rule; the earliest mention of the city of Babylon can be found in a clay tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad, dating back to the 23rd century BC. Babylon was a religious and cultural centre at this point and neither an independent state nor a large city. After the collapse of the Akkadian Empire, the south Mesopotamian region was dominated by the Gutian people for a few decades before the rise of the Third Dynasty of Ur, which restored order to the region and which, apart from northern Assyria, encompassed the whole of Mesopotamia, including the town of Babylon. Mesopotamia had enjoyed a long history prior to the emergence of Babylon, with Sumerian civilisation emerging in the region c. 3500 BC, the Akkadian-speaking people appearing by the 30th century BC.
During the 3rd millennium BC, an intimate cultural symbiosis occurred between Sumerian and Akkadian-speakers, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian and vice versa is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic and phonological convergence; this has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium as a sprachbund. Akkadian replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere around the turn of the third and the second millennium BC. From c. 3500 BC until the rise of the Akkadian Empire in the 24th century BC, Mesopotamia had been dominated by Sumerian cities and city states, such as Ur, Uruk, Isin, Adab, Gasur, Hamazi, Akshak and Umma, although Semitic Akkadian names began to appear on the king lists of some of these states between the 29th and 25th centuries BC. Traditionally, the major religious center of all Mesopotamia was the city of Nippur where the god Enlil was supreme, it would remain so until replaced by Babylon during the reign of Hammurabi in the mid-18th century BC.
The Akkadian Empire saw the Akkadian Semites and Sumerians of Mesopotamia unite under one rule, the Akkadians attain ascendancy over the Sumerians and indeed come to dominate much of the ancient Near East. The empire disintegrated due to economic decline, climate change and civil war, followed by attacks by the Gutians from the Zagros Mountains. Sumer rose up again with the Third Dynasty of Ur in the late 22nd century BC, ejected the Gutians from southern Mesopotamia, they seem to have gained ascendancy over much of the territory of the Akkadian kings of Assyria in northern Mesopotamia for a time. Followed by the collapse of the Sumerian "Ur-III" dynasty at the hands of the Elamites in 2002 BC, the Amorites, a foreign Northwest Semitic-speaking people, began to migrate into southern Mesopotamia from the northern Levant gaining control over most of southern Mesopotamia, where they formed a series of small kingdoms, while the Assyrians reasserted their independence in the north; the states of the south were unable to stem the Amorite advance, for a time may have relied on their fellow Akkadians in Assyria for protection.
King Ilu-shuma of the Old Assyrian Empire in a known inscription describes his exploits to the south as follows: The freedom of the Akkadians and their children I established. I purified their copper. I established their freedom from the border of the marshes and Ur and Nippur and Kish, Der of the goddess Ishtar, as far as the City of. Past scholars extrapolated from this text that it means he defeated the invading Amorites to the south and Elamites to the east, but there is no explicit record of that, some scholars believe the Assyrian kings were giving preferential trade agreements to the south; these policies were continued by Ikunum. However, when Sargon I s
History of China
The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, recorded as the twenty-first Shang king by the written records of Shang dynasty unearthed. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia; the Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River; these Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization; the Zhou dynasty supplanted the Shang, introduced the concept of the Mandate of Heaven to justify their rule.
The central Zhou government began to weaken due to external and internal pressures in the 8th century BC, the country splintered into smaller states during the Spring and Autumn period. These states became warred with one another in the following Warring States period. Much of traditional Chinese culture and philosophy first developed during those troubled times. In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang conquered the various warring states and created for himself the title of Huangdi or "emperor" of the Qin, marking the beginning of imperial China. However, the oppressive government fell soon after his death, was supplanted by the longer-lived Han dynasty. Successive dynasties developed bureaucratic systems that enabled the emperor to control vast territories directly. In the 21 centuries from 206 BC until AD 1912, routine administrative tasks were handled by a special elite of scholar-officials. Young men, well-versed in calligraphy, history and philosophy, were selected through difficult government examinations.
China's last dynasty was the Qing, replaced by the Republic of China in 1912, in the mainland by the People's Republic of China in 1949, resulting in two de facto states claiming to be the legitimate government of all China. Chinese history has alternated between periods of political unity and peace, periods of war and failed statehood – the most recent being the Chinese Civil War. China was dominated by steppe peoples, most of whom were assimilated into the Han Chinese culture and population. Between eras of multiple kingdoms and warlordism, Chinese dynasties have ruled parts or all of China. Traditional culture, influences from other parts of Asia and the Western world, form the basis of the modern culture of China. What is now China was inhabited by Homo erectus more than a million years ago. Recent study shows that the stone tools found at Xiaochangliang site are magnetostratigraphically dated to 1.36 million years ago. The archaeological site of Xihoudu in Shanxi Province has evidence of use of fire by Homo erectus, dated 1.27 million years ago, Homo erectus fossils in China include the Yuanmou Man, the Lantian Man and the Peking Man.
Fossilised teeth of Homo sapiens dating to 125,000–80,000 BC have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Dao County in Hunan. Evidence of Middle Palaeolithic Levallois technology has been found in the lithic assemblage of Guanyindong Cave site in southwest China, dated to 170,000–80,000 years ago; the Neolithic age in China can be traced back to about 10,000 BC. The earliest evidence of cultivated rice, found by the Yangtze River, is carbon-dated to 8,000 years ago. Early evidence for proto-Chinese millet agriculture is radiocarbon-dated to about 7000 BC. Farming gave rise to the Jiahu culture. At Damaidi in Ningxia, 3,172 cliff carvings dating to 6000–5000 BC have been discovered, "featuring 8,453 individual characters such as the sun, stars and scenes of hunting or grazing"; these pictographs are reputed to be similar to the earliest characters confirmed to be written Chinese. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BC, Dadiwan from 5800 BC to 5400 BC, Damaidi around 6000 BC and Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BC.
Some scholars have suggested. Excavation of a Peiligang culture site in Xinzheng county, found a community that flourished in 5,500 to 4,900 BC, with evidence of agriculture, constructed buildings and burial of the dead. With agriculture came increased population, the ability to store and redistribute crops, the potential to support specialist craftsmen and administrators. In late Neolithic times, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a center of Yangshao culture, the first villages were founded. Yangshao culture was superseded by the Longshan culture, centered on the Yellow River from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Bronze artifacts have been found at the Majiayao culture site, The Bronze Age is represented at the Lower Xiajiadian culture site in northeast China. Sanxingdui located in what is now Sichuan province is believed to be the site of a major ancient city, of a unknown Bronze Age culture; the site was first discovered in 1929 and re-dis
The Ottoman Empire known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire; the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the empire contained numerous vassal states; some of these were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.
With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. While the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians; the empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. However, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian empires; the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernisation known as the Tanzimat. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organised, despite suffering further territorial losses in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.
The empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent with the Arab Revolt in its Arabian holdings. During this time, atrocities were committed by the Young Turk government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks; the Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France. The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy; the word Ottoman is a historical anglicisation of the name of Osman I, the founder of the Empire and of the ruling House of Osman.
Osman's name in turn was the Turkish form of the Arabic name ʿUthmān. In Ottoman Turkish, the empire was referred to as Devlet-i ʿAlīye-yi ʿOsmānīye, or alternatively ʿOsmānlı Devleti. In Modern Turkish, it is known as Osmanlı Devleti; the Turkish word for "Ottoman" referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, subsequently came to be used to refer to the empire's military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term "Turk" was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, was seen as a disparaging term when applied to urban, educated individuals. In the early modern period, an educated urban-dwelling Turkish-speaker, not a member of the military-administrative class would refer to himself neither as an Osmanlı nor as a Türk, but rather as a Rūmī, or "Roman", meaning an inhabitant of the territory of the former Byzantine Empire in the Balkans and Anatolia; the term Rūmī was used to refer to Turkish-speakers by the other Muslim peoples of the empire and beyond.
In Western Europe, the two names "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" were used interchangeably, with "Turkey" being favoured both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name. Most scholarly historians avoid the terms "Turkey", "Turks", "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character; as the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman I, a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived. Osman's early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, many but not all converts to Islam. Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns along the Sakarya River.
It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their
Consolidated Laws of New York
The Consolidated Laws of the State of New York are the codification of the permanent laws of a general nature of New York enacted by the New York State Legislature. It is composed of laws. New York uses a system called "continuous codification" whereby each session law identifies the law and section of the Consolidated Laws affected by its passage. Unlike real codes, the Consolidated Laws are systematic but neither comprehensive nor preemptive, reference to other laws and case law is necessary; the Consolidated Laws were printed by New York only once in 1909–1910, but there are 3 comprehensive and certified updated commercial private versions. The Laws can be found online without commentary. There exist unconsolidated laws, such as the various court acts. Unconsolidated laws are uncodified due to their local nature, but are otherwise binding. Session laws are published in the Laws of New York; the Consolidated Laws were printed by New York only once in 1909–1910. There are 3 comprehensive and unofficial but certified printed versions of the Consolidated Laws: McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated, New York Consolidated Laws Service, Gould's Consolidated Laws of New York.
McKinney's and CLS are annotated. The Legislative Retrieval System is published under statutory authority and is available online but is not certified. McKinney's is searchable on Westlaw, while CLS is online and searchable on LexisNexis. Commercial versions of the Consolidated Laws are available from Loislaw, Looseleaf Law Publications, VersusLaw, the National Law Library, QuickLaw. Free unannotated versions are available from FindLaw, the New York State Legislature website, the free public legislative website. Unconsolidated laws are available in print from McKinney's, McKinney's Session Laws, the CLS Unconsolidated laws. Online resources include LexisNexis, WestLaw, the LRS, the New York Legislative Service, selected laws can be found online on the New York State Legislature website and the free public legislative website. There are several chapters that compose the Consolidated Laws: Some specific articles have short titles: Laws of New York Administrative Code of New York City Law of New York United States Code Consolidated Laws from the New York State Senate Consolidated Laws from the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission Consolidated Laws from FindLaw Consolidated Laws from Justia Consolidated Laws from Socratek Consolidated Laws from Onecle Peter Cedeno Sued For Breach of Judiciary Law §487
Republic of China (1912–1949)
The Republic of China controlled the Chinese mainland between 1912 and 1949. It was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China, its government moved to Taipei in December 1949 due to the Kuomintang's defeat in the Chinese Civil War. The Republic's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, leader of the Beiyang Army, his party led by Song Jiaoren, won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. Song Jiaoren was assassinated shortly after and the Beiyang Army led by Yuan Shikai maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan Shikai tried to reinstate the monarchy before abdicating due to popular unrest. After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, members of cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed their autonomy and clashed with each other. During this period, the authority of the Beiyang government was weakened by a restoration of the Qing dynasty.
In 1921, Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang established a rival government in Canton City, Canton Province, together with the fledgling Communist Party of China. The economy of North China, overtaxed to support warlord adventurism, collapsed between 1927 and 1928. General Chiang Kai-shek, who became KMT leader after Sun Yat-sen's death, started the Northern Expedition military campaign in 1926 to overthrow the Beiyang government, completed in 1928. In April 1927, Chiang established a nationalist government in Nanking, massacred communists in Shanghai, which forced the CPC into armed rebellion, marking the beginning of the Chinese Civil War. There were industrialization and modernization, but conflict between the Nationalist government in Nanking, the CPC, remnant warlords, the Empire of Japan. Nation-building took a backseat to the Second Sino-Japanese War when the Imperial Japanese Army launched an offensive against China in 1937 that turned into a full-scale invasion. After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II in 1945, the Chinese Civil War resumed in 1946 between the KMT and CPC, with both sides receiving foreign assistance due to the Cold War from the USA and USSR, respectively.
During this period, the 1946 Constitution of the Republic of China replaced the 1928 Organic Law as the Republic's fundamental law. Near the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party established the People's Republic of China, overthrowing the nationalist government on the Chinese mainland; the Government of the Republic of China moved from Nanking to Taipei in 1949, controlling only the Taiwan area after 1949. The official name of the state in the mainland was the "Republic of China". Shortly after the ROC's establishment in 1912, while it was still located on the Chinese mainland, the government used the short form "China" to refer to itself, which derives from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne, the name was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state during the Qing era; the ROC used alternate names throughout its existence were Republican China or Republican Era, as well as the Beiyang government, the Nationalist government.
A republic was formally established on 1 January 1912 following the Xinhai Revolution, which itself began with the Wuchang Uprising on 10 October 1911 overthrowing the Qing dynasty and ending over two thousand years of imperial rule in China. From its founding until 1949 it was based on mainland China. Central authority waxed and waned in response to warlordism, Japanese invasion, a full-scale civil war, with central authority strongest during the Nanjing Decade, when most of China came under the control of the Kuomintang under an authoritarian one-party military dictatorship. At the end of World War II in 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered control of Taiwan and its island groups to the Allies, Taiwan was placed under the Republic of China's administrative control; the communist takeover of mainland China in the Chinese Civil War in 1949 left the ruling Kuomintang with control over only Taiwan, Kinmen and other minor islands. With the 1949 loss of mainland China in the civil war, the ROC government retreated to Taiwan and the KMT declared Taipei the provisional capital.
The Communist Party of China took over all of mainland China and founded the People's Republic of China in Beijing. In 1912, after over two thousand years of imperial rule, a republic was established to replace the monarchy; the Qing dynasty that preceded the republic experienced a century of instability throughout the 19th century, suffered from both internal rebellion and foreign imperialism. The ongoing instability led to the outburst of Boxer Rebellion in 1900, whose attacks on foreigners led to the invasion by the Eight Nation Alliance. China signed the Boxer Protocol and paid a large indemnity to the foreign powers: 450 million taels of fine silver. A program of institutional reform proved too late. Only the lack of an alternative regime prolonged its existence until 1912; the establishment of the Chinese Republic developed out of the Wuchang Uprising against the Qing government on 10 October 1911. That date is now celebrated annually as the ROC's national day known as the "Double Ten Day".
On 29 December 1911, Sun Yat-sen was elected president b
In law, common law is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of "common law" is. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue; the court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch.
Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems. The common law—so named because it was "common" to all the king's courts across England—originated in the practices of the courts of the English kings in the centuries following the Norman Conquest in 1066; the British Empire spread the English legal system to its historical colonies, many of which retain the common law system today. These "common law systems" are legal systems that give great precedential weight to common law, to the style of reasoning inherited from the English legal system. Today, one-third of the world's population lives in common law jurisdictions or in systems mixed with civil law, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Cyprus, Fiji, Grenada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Liberia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zimbabwe.
Some of these countries have variants on common law systems. The term common law has many connotations; the first three set out here are the most-common usages within the legal community. Other connotations from past centuries are sometimes seen and are sometimes heard in everyday speech; the first definition of "common law" given in Black's Law Dictionary, 10th edition, 2014, is "The body of law derived from judicial decisions, rather than from statutes or constitutions. This usage is given as the first definition in modern legal dictionaries, is characterized as the “most common” usage among legal professionals, is the usage seen in decisions of courts. In this connotation, "common law" distinguishes the authority. For example, the law in most Anglo-American jurisdictions includes "statutory law" enacted by a legislature, "regulatory law" or “delegated legislation” promulgated by executive branch agencies pursuant to delegation of rule-making authority from the legislature, common law or "case law", i.e. decisions issued by courts.
This first connotation can be further differentiated into pure common law arising from the traditional and inherent authority of courts to define what the law is in the absence of an underlying statute or regulation. Examples include most criminal law and procedural law before the 20th century, today, most contract law and the law of torts. Interstitial common law court decisions that analyze and determine the fine boundaries and distinctions in law promulgated by other bodies; this body of common law, sometimes called "interstitial common law", includes judicial interpretation of the Constitution, of legislative statutes, of agency regulations, the application of law to specific facts. Publication of decisions, indexing, is essential to the development of common law, thus governments and private publishers publish law reports. While all decisions in common law jurisdictions are precedent, some become "leading cases" or "landmark decisions" that are cited often. Black's Law Dictionary 10th Ed. definition 2, differentiates "common law" jurisdictions and legal systems from "civil law" or "code" jurisdictions.
Common law systems place great weight on court decisions, which are considered "law" with the same force of law as statutes—for nearly a millennium, common law courts have had the authority to make law where no legislative statute exists, statutes mean what courts interpret them to mean. By contrast, in civil law jurisdictions, courts lack authority to act. Civil law judges tend to give less weight to judicial precedent, which means that a