In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law, a criminal law, or it may cause no loss of money, property or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong; the purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, such as obtaining a passport or travel document, driver's license. Examples include mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A hoax is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. In common law jurisdictions, as a civil wrong, fraud is a tort. While the precise definitions and requirements of proof vary among jurisdictions, the requisite elements of fraud as a tort are the intentional misrepresentation or concealment of an important fact upon which the victim is meant to rely, in fact does rely, to the harm of the victim.
Proving fraud in a court of law is said to be difficult. That difficulty is found, for instance, in that each and every one of the elements of fraud must be proven, that the elements include proving the states of mind of the perpetrator and the victim, that some jurisdictions require the victim to prove fraud by clear and convincing evidence; the remedies for fraud may include rescission of a fraudulently obtained agreement or transaction, the recovery of a monetary award to compensate for the harm caused, punitive damages to punish or deter the misconduct, others. In cases of a fraudulently induced contract, fraud may serve as a defense in a civil action for breach of contract or specific performance of contract. Fraud may serve as a basis for a court to invoke its equitable jurisdiction. In common law jurisdictions, as a criminal offence, fraud takes many different forms, some general and some specific to particular categories of victims or misconduct; the elements of fraud as a crime vary.
The requisite elements of the most general form of criminal fraud, theft by false pretense, are the intentional deception of a victim by false representation or pretense with the intent of persuading the victim to part with property and with the victim parting with property in reliance on the representation or pretense and with the perpetrator intending to keep the property from the victim. Section 380 of the Criminal Code provides the general definition for fraud in Canada: 380; every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence within the meaning of this Act, defrauds the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fourteen years, where the subject-matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or the value of the subject-matter of the offence exceeds five thousand dollars. In addition to the penalties outlined above, the court can issue a prohibition order under s. 380.2.
It can make a restitution order under s. 380.3. The Canadian courts have held that the offence consists of two distinct elements: A prohibited act of deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means. In the absence of deceit or falsehood, the courts will look objectively for a "dishonest act"; the Supreme Court of Canada has held that deprivation is satisfied on proof of detriment, prejudice or risk of prejudice. Deprivation of confidential information, in the nature of a trade secret or copyrighted material that has commercial value, has been held to fall within the scope of the offence; the proof requirements for criminal fraud charges in the United States are the same as the requirements for other crimes: guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Throughout the United States fraud charges can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the amount of loss involved. High value frauds can include additional penalties. For example, in California losses of $500,000 or more will result in an extra two, three, or five years in prison in addition to the regular penalty for the fraud.
The U. S. government's 2006 fraud review concluded that fraud is a under-reported crime, while various agencies and organizations were attempting to tackle the issue, greater co-operation was needed to achieve a real impact in the public sector. The scale of the problem pointed to the need for a small but high-powered body to bring together the numerous counter-fraud initiatives that existed. Although elements may vary by jurisdiction and the specific allegations made by a plaintiff who files a lawsuit that alleged fraud, typical elements of a fraud case in the United States are that: Somebody misrepresents a material fact in order to obtain action or forbearance by another person.
Negligence is a failure to exercise appropriate and or ethical ruled care expected to be exercised amongst specified circumstances. The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by failing to act as a form of carelessness with extenuating circumstances; the core concept of negligence is that people should exercise reasonable care in their actions, by taking account of the potential harm that they might foreseeably cause to other people or property. Someone who suffers loss caused by another's negligence may be able to sue for damages to compensate for their harm; such loss may include harm to property, psychiatric illness, or economic loss. The law on negligence may be assessed in general terms according to a five-part model which includes the assessment of duty, actual cause, proximate cause, damages; some things must be established by anyone. These are. Most jurisdictions say that there are four elements to a negligence action: duty: the defendant has a duty to others, including the plaintiff, to exercise reasonable care, breach: the defendant breaches that duty through an act or culpable omission, damages: as a result of that act or omission, the plaintiff suffers an injury, causation: the injury to the plaintiff is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant's act or omission.
Some jurisdictions narrow the definition down to three elements: duty and proximately caused harm. Some jurisdictions recognize five elements, breach, actual cause, proximate cause, damages. However, at their heart, the various definitions of what constitutes negligent conduct are similar; the legal liability of a defendant to a plaintiff is based on the defendant's failure to fulfil a responsibility, recognised by law, of which the plaintiff is the intended beneficiary. The first step in determining the existence of a recognised responsibility is the concept of an obligation or duty. In the tort of negligence the term used is duty of care The case of Donoghue v Stevenson established the modern law of negligence, laying the foundations of the duty of care and the fault principle which, have been adopted throughout the Commonwealth. May Donoghue and her friend were in a café in Paisley; the friend bought Mrs Donoghue. She drank some of the beer and poured the remainder over her ice-cream and was horrified to see the decomposed remains of a snail exit the bottle.
Donoghue suffered nervous shock and gastro-enteritis, but did not sue the cafe owner, instead suing the manufacturer, Stevenson.. The Scottish judge, Lord MacMillan, considered the case to fall within a new category of delict; the case proceeded to the House of Lords, where Lord Atkin interpreted the biblical ordinance to'love thy neighbour' as a legal requirement to'not harm thy neighbour.' He went on to define neighbour as "persons who are so and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions that are called in question." In England the more recent case of Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman introduced a'threefold test' for a duty of care. Harm must be reasonably foreseeable there must be a relationship of proximity between the plaintiff and defendant and it must be'fair and reasonable' to impose liability. However, these act as guidelines for the courts in establishing a duty of care. In Australia, Donoghue v Stevenson was used as a persuasive precedent in the case of Grant v Australian Knitting Mills.
This was a landmark case in the development of negligence law in Australia. Whether a duty of care is owed for psychiatric, as opposed to physical, harm was discussed in the Australian case of Tame v State of New South Wales. Determining a duty for mental harm has now been subsumed into the Civil Liability Act 2002 in New South Wales; the application of Part 3 of the Civil Liability Act 2002 was demonstrated in Wicks v SRA. Once it is established that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff/claimant, the matter of whether or not that duty was breached must be settled; the test is both objective. The defendant who knowingly exposes the plaintiff/claimant to a substantial risk of loss, breaches that duty; the defendant who fails to realize the substantial risk of loss to the plaintiff/claimant, which any reasonable person in the same situation would have realized breaches that duty. However, whether the test is objective or subjective may depend upon the particular case involved. There is a reduced threshold for the standard of care owed by children.
In the Australian case of McHale v Watson, McHale, a 9-year-old girl was blinded in one eye after being hit by the ricochet of a sharp metal rod thrown by a 12-year-old boy, Watson. The defendant child was held not to have the level of care to the standard of an adult, but of a 12-year-old child with similar experience and intelligence. Kitto J explained that a child's lack of foresight is a characteristic they share with others at that stage of development. Certain jurisdictions provide for breaches where professionals, such as doctors, fail to warn of risks assoc
In tort law, detinue is an action to recover for the wrongful taking of personal property. It is initiated by an individual who claims to have a greater right to their immediate possession than the current possessor. For an action in detinue to succeed, a claimant must first prove that he had better right to possession of the chattel than the defendant and second that the defendant refused to return the chattel once demanded by the claimant. Detinue allows for a remedy of damages for the value of the chattel, but unlike most other interference torts, detinue allows for the recovery of the specific chattel being withheld. Detinue came in two forms: "detinue sur bailment" and "detinue sur trover". In detinue sur bailment, the defendant is in a bailment relationship with the claimant and either refuses to return the chattel or else has negligently or intentionally lost or destroyed it; the onus is on the bailee to prove that the loss of the chattel was not her fault. In detinue sur trover, the defendant can be any individual in possession of the chattel who refuses to return it to the claimant.
A defendant could be a finder or a thief or any innocent third party, the claimant need only have a better right to possession. Early writs and forms of action were exceptionally narrow in scope; this is reflective of the basic conservatism of the Common Law courts in the middle and late medieval period. This was in contrast with the Courts of Equity which were creative in producing novel writs for many new fact situations. Compensation in those days was not in money, rare, but in land, livestock, or furnishings, as these were the typical measures of wealth. What the plaintiff wanted back was the land, cattle or coins lent. Maitland suggests that in the earliest time the writ of debt seems to have been designed to recover identical coins; the early writ of detinue was designed for recovery of a chattel wrongfully detained, but not an action to recover loss due to a chattel being harmed while the defendant had it. Two facts marked the early common law actions, they were defective because of the wide field, excluded.
They were defective because the plaintiff might well think himself entitled to a remedy, but by reason of the procedure find that he went away empty. The defendant to a writ of debt or detinue might bring others with him who would swear that his denial of the claim was true; this was technically called his "wage of law" or "wager of law". It was enough to dispose of the plaintiff's claim. A common way to escape all writs the writ of right, as well as debt and detinue was to claim sickness. If the jury found him in bed with his boots off, the custom was to delay the writ for a year and a day. One of the oldest actions in the royal courts was replevin which had its roots in the law of customary courts. Speaking, replevin in its original form was a provisional remedy, its provision was to procure for the plaintiff the return of chattels taken out of his possession until the right to their possession could be decided by a court of law. No doubt, it was designed to avoid quarrels to cause a breach of the peace pending a settlement of the dispute about the right to possession.
In other words, the rule of law was beginning to replace that of local force of arms and personal conflict as the resolution of disputes over chattels. The action was in direct succession to the efforts made to regulate self-help, which were the origin of the law of tort; the form of legal recourse was in connection of distress. This was the practice of taking some chattel from the peasant or underling until some action was performed. In the medieval era the services for which distress could be levied were numerous, since the incidents of tenure were very numerous. Distress was leviable as damage feasant; when animals strayed and did damage to a neighbor, they could be retained until the damage was made good. Whether or not the distress was levied for rent or for livestock damage feasant, the owner of the animals could obtain their release by giving "gage and pledge" - a form of security that the damage would be made good. One peculiarity of distraint lay in the fact that the distrainor did not get any form of legal possession.
The goods and chattels were considered to be in the custody of the law. As a result, there was no taking of possession by the distrainor, unlawful, since no possession was technically inferred.. The action in replevin began to appear in the thirteenth century, it seems clear that the action of replevin lay where the question to be determined was that of wrongful distress. Excess and abuse of distress was punished; the mere claim by the distrainor that he had a right to the chattels distrained was a technicality that ended the action in replevin. It was necessary to re-file using a new writ invented in the early fourteenth century, called the writ de proprietate probanda - a writ "concerning the proof of ownership.". Since the distrainor did not get possession he was not liable in trespass, the spheres of the two forms of action remained distinct. During the fourteenth century, after some vacillation by judges, it was held that the plaintiff could elect which remedy he chose when the chattels had been distrained.
It was held that replevin could be used in place of the writ of trespass de bonis aspotatis. In reality, there is little evidence this substitution occurred with any frequency, if at all.. The rule involved interference with the possession of a chattel by the rightful owner; the 1856 case of Mennie v. Blake gives. There it was stated: "It seems clear that replevin
The eggshell rule is a well-established legal doctrine in common law, used in some tort law systems, with a similar doctrine applicable to criminal law. The rule states that, in a tort case, the unexpected frailty of the injured person is not a valid defense to the seriousness of any injury caused to them; this rule holds that a tortfeasor is liable for all consequences resulting from their tortious activities leading to an injury to another person if the victim suffers an unusually high level of damage. The eggshell skull rule takes into account the physical and economic attributes of the plaintiff which might make them more susceptible to injury, it may take into account the family and cultural environment. The term implies that if a person had a skull as delicate as that of the shell of an egg, a tortfeasor, unaware of the condition injured that person's head, causing the skull unexpectedly to break, the defendant would be held liable for all damages resulting from the wrongful contact if the tortfeasor did not intend to cause such a severe injury.
In criminal law, the general maxim is that the defendant must "take their victims as they find them", as echoed in the judgment of Lord Justice Lawton in R v. Blaue, in which the defendant was held responsible for killing his victim, despite his contention that her refusal of a blood transfusion constituted novus actus interveniens; the doctrine is applied in all areas of torts – intentional torts and strict liability cases – as well as in criminal law. There is no requirement of physical contact with the victim – if a trespasser's wrongful presence on the victim's property so terrifies the victim that he has a fatal heart attack, the trespasser will be liable for the damages stemming from his original tort; the foundation for this rule is based on policy grounds. The courts do not want the defendant or accused to rely on the victim's own vulnerability to avoid liability; the thin skull rule is not to be confused with the related crumbling skull rule in which the plaintiff suffers from a detrimental position pre-existent to the occurrence of the present tort.
In the "crumbling skull" rule, the prior condition is only to be considered with respect to distinguishing it from any new injury arising from the present tort – as a means of apportioning damages in such a way that the defendant would not be liable for placing the plaintiff in a better position than they were in prior to the present tort. In an example, a person who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta is more to be injured in a motor vehicle accident. If the person with OI is hit from behind in a motor vehicle collision and suffers medical damages, it would not be a prudent defense to state that the Osteogenesis Imperfecta was the cause of the fracture. In the English case of Smith v Leech Brain & Co, an employee in a factory was splashed with molten metal; the metal burned him on his lip. He died three years from cancer triggered by the injury; the judge held that as long as the initial injury was foreseeable, the defendant was liable for all the harm. In 1891, the Wisconsin Supreme Court came to a similar result in Putney.
In that case, a boy threw a small kick at another from across the aisle in the classroom. It turned out that the victim had an unknown microbial condition, irritated, resulted in him losing the use of his leg. No one could have predicted the level of injury; the court found that the kicking was unlawful because it violated the "order and decorum of the classroom", the perpetrator was therefore liable for the injury. In Benn v. Thomas, the appellate court determined that the eggshell rule should have been applied to a case in which a man had a heart attack and died after being bruised in the chest during a rear-end car accident. In the Australian case of Nader v Urban Transit Authority of NSW, the plaintiff was a 10 year old boy who struck his head on a bus stop pole while alighting from a moving bus, he developed a rare psychological condition known as Ganser Syndrome. The defendant argued. McHugh JA said, "The defendant must take the plaintiff with all his weaknesses and reactions as well as his capacities and attributes, physical and economic.
If the result of an accident is that a ten year old boy reacts to his parents’ concern over his injuries and develops an hysterical condition, no reason of justice, morality or entrenched principle appears to me to prevent his recovery of compensation." In the Australian case of Kavanagh v Akhtar, the court held the tortfeasor should take into account the plaintiff's family and cultural setting. Equality before the law puts a heavy onus on the person who would argue that the "unusual" reaction of an injured plaintiff should be disregarded because a minority religious or cultural situation may not have been foreseeable. Intervening cause is an exception to the eggshell skull rule. If an injury is not immediate, but a separate situation agitates the injury, the tortfeasor is not liable under common law in Australia. In Haber v Walker it was held that a plaintiff will not be liable for a novus actus interveniens if the chain of causation was broken by a voluntary, human act or, an independent event, which in conjunction with the wrongful act, was so unlikely as to
Restraint of trade
Restraints of trade is a common law doctrine relating to the enforceability of contractual restrictions on freedom to conduct business. It is a precursor of modern competition law. In an old leading case of Mitchel v Reynolds Lord Smith LC said, it is the privilege of a trader in a free country, in all matters not contrary to law, to regulate his own mode of carrying it on according to his own discretion and choice. If the law has regulated or restrained his mode of doing this, the law must be obeyed, but no power short of the general law ought to restrain his free discretion. A contractual undertaking not to trade is void and unenforceable against the promisor as contrary to the public policy of promoting trade, unless the restraint of trade is reasonable to protect the interest of the purchaser of a business. Restraints of trade can appear in post-termination restrictive covenants in employment contracts. Restraint of trade in England and the UK was and is defined as a legal contract between a buyer and a seller of a business, or between an employer and employee, that prevents the seller or employee from engaging in a similar business within a specified geographical area and within a specified period.
It intends to protect trade secrets or proprietary information but is enforceable only if it is reasonable with reference to the party against whom it is made and if it is not contrary to public policy. The restraint of trade doctrine is based on the two concepts of prohibiting agreements that run counter to public policy, unless the reasonableness of an agreement could be shown. A restraint of trade is some kind of agreed provision, designed to restrain another's trade. For example, in Nordenfelt v Maxim, Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Co a Swedish arms inventor promised on sale of his business to an American gun maker that he "would not make guns or ammunition anywhere in the world, would not compete with Maxim in any way." To be a valid restraint of trade in the first place, both parties must have provided valuable consideration for their agreement to be enforceable. In Dyer's Case a dyer had given a bond not to exercise his trade in the same town as the plaintiff for six months but the plaintiff had promised nothing in return.
On hearing the plaintiff's attempt to enforce this restraint, Hull J exclaimed, "per Dieu, if the plaintiff were here, he should go to prison till he had paid a fine to the King." The common law evolved with changing business conditions. So in the early 17th century case of Rogers v Parry it was held that a promise by a joiner not to trade from his house for 21 years was enforceable against him since the time and place was certain, it was held that a man cannot bind himself to not use his trade generally. This was followed in Broad v Jolyffe and Mitchel v Reynolds where Lord Macclesfield asked, "What does it signify to a tradesman in London what another does in Newcastle?" In times of such slow communications and commerce around the country it seemed axiomatic that a general restraint served no legitimate purpose for one's business and ought to be void. But in 1880 in Roussillon v Roussillon Lord Justice Fry stated that a restraint unlimited in space need not be void, since the real question was whether it went further than necessary for the promisee's protection.
So in the Nordenfelt case Lord Macnaghten ruled that while one could validly promise to "not make guns or ammunition anywhere in the world" it was an unreasonable restraint to "not compete with Maxim in any way." This approach in England was confirmed by the House of Lords in Mason v The Provident Supply and Clothing Co. In the US, the first significant discussion occurred in the Sixth Circuit's opinion by Chief Judge William Howard Taft in United States v. Addyston Pipe & Steel Co. Judge Taft explained the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 as a statutory codification of the English common-law doctrine of restraint of trade, as explicated in such cases as Mitchel v Reynolds; the court distinguished between naked restraints of trade and those ancillary to the legitimate main purpose of a lawful contract and reasonably necessary to effectuation of that purpose. An example of the latter would be a non-competition clause associated with the lease or sale of a bakeshop, as in the Mitchel case; such a contract should be tested by a "rule of reason," meaning that it should be deemed legitimate if "necessary and ancillary."
An example of the naked type of restraint would be the price-fixing and bid-allocation agreements involved in the Addyston case. Taft said that "we do not think there is any question of reasonableness open to the courts to such a contract." The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. During the following century, the Addyston Pipe opinion of Judge Taft has remained foundational in antitrust analysis; the 1911 decision of the Supreme Court in Standard Oil Company of New Jersey v. United States relied on Taft's rule-of-reason analysis. In that case, the Court concluded that a contract offended the Sherman Act only if the contract restrained trade "unduly"—that is, if the contract resulted in monopolistic consequences. A broader meaning, the Court suggested, would ban normal and usual contracts, would thus infringe liberty of contract; the Court therefore endorsed the rule of reason enunciated in Addyston Pipe, which in turn derived from Mitchel v Reynolds and the common law of restraints of trade.
In more recent cases, court continue to base their rulings on the Mitchel framework, but attention has turned to such issues as "necessary to do what?" and "how necessary compared to collateral damage?" For example if a restraint is necessary and ancillary, within the meaning of the Mitchel and Addyston Pipe cases, it may still be an unreasonable restraint of trade
Duty of care
In tort law, a duty of care is a legal obligation, imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. It is the first element; the claimant must be able to show a duty of care imposed by law. In turn, breaching a duty may subject an individual to liability; the duty of care may be imposed by operation of law between individuals who have no current direct relationship but become related in some manner, as defined by common law. Duty of care may be considered a formalisation of the social contract, the implicit responsibilities held by individuals towards others within society, it is not a requirement that a duty of care be defined by law, though it will develop through the jurisprudence of common law. At common law, duties were limited to those with whom one was in privity one way or another, as exemplified by cases like Winterbottom v. Wright. In the early 20th century, judges began to recognize that the cold realities of the Second Industrial Revolution implied that enforcing the privity requirement against hapless consumers had harsh results in many product liability cases.
The idea of a general duty of care that runs to all who could be foreseeably affected by one's conduct first appeared in the judgment of William Brett, Master of the Rolls, in Heaven v Pender. Although Brett's formulation was rejected by the rest of the court, similar formulations appeared in the landmark U. S. case of MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. and, in the UK, in Donoghue v Stevenson. Both MacPherson and Donoghue were product liability cases, both expressly acknowledged and cited Brett's analysis as their inspiration. Although the duty of care is easiest to understand in contexts like simple blunt trauma, it is important to understand that the duty can be still found in situations where plaintiffs and defendants may be separated by vast distances of space and time. For instance, an engineer or construction company involved in erecting a building may be reasonably responsible to tenants inhabiting the building many years in the future; this point is illustrated by the decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court in Terlinde v. Neely 275 S.
C. 395, 271 S. E.2d 768 cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in Winnipeg Condominium Corporation No. 36 v. Bird Construction Co. 1 S. C. R. 85: The plaintiffs, being a member of the class for which the home was constructed, are entitled to a duty of care in construction commensurate with industry standards. In the light of the fact that the home was constructed as speculative, the home builder cannot reasonably argue he envisioned anything but a class of purchasers. By placing this product into the stream of commerce, the builder owes a duty of care to those who will use his product, so as to render him accountable for negligent workmanship. Although the idea of a general duty of care is now accepted, there are significant differences among the common law jurisdictions concerning the specific circumstances under which that duty of care exists. Courts cannot impose unlimited liability and hold everyone liable for everyone else's problems. There must be some reasonable limit to the duty of care; the question whether a duty of care exists depends firstly on whether there is an analogous case in which the Courts have held there to exist a duty of care.
Situations in which a duty of care have been held to exist include doctor and patient and consumer, surveyor and mortgagor. Accordingly, if there is an analogous case on duty of care, the court will apply that case to the facts of the new case without asking itself any normative question, it is only if there is no similar case that the court will go onto apply the normative criteria which Lord Bridge of Harwich sets out in Caparo Industries plc v Dickman, in which the House of Lords set out the following three-part test: Harm must be a "reasonably foreseeable" result of the defendant's conduct. The High Court of Australia has deviated from the British approach, which still recognises a proximity element. Rather, Australian law first determines whether the case at hand fits within an established category of case where a duty of care has been found. For example, occupiers of a premises automatically owe a duty of care to any person on their premises. If this is not the case the plaintiff must prove that it was reasonably foreseeable that harm could result from the defendant's actions.
If so, the Court applies a'salient features' test to determine whether the plaintiff is owed a duty of care. Some of the salient features which the Court considers in making this inquiry include: Whether imposition of a duty of care would lead to'indeterminate liability' – that is, it would interfere with the legitimate protection or pursuit of an individual's social or business interests. Whether imposition of a duty would constitute an unreasonable burden on individual autonomy
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