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Legal: Types of

Case Law

Case Law

Also known as Common Law.  The law created by judges when deciding individual disputes or cases.  Non-statutory law.

Legal principles that are developed by appellate courts when deciding appeals are collectively termed the case law or common law. Since the 12th century, the common law has been England's primary system of law. When the United States became independent, states adopted the English common law as their law. Since that time, decisions by U.S. courts have developed a body of U.S. case law which has superseded English common law in most areas.

Source: 'Lectric Law Library.  (n.d.). Case law.  Retrieved from



A law established by an act of the legislature.

Under the U.S. and state constitutions, statutes are considered the primary source of law in the U.S. -- that is, legislatures make the law (statutes) and courts interpret the law (cases).

Most state statutes are organized by subject matter and published in books referred to as codes. Typically, a state has a family or civil code (where the divorce laws are usually contained), a criminal code (where incest, bigamy and domestic violence laws are often found), welfare code (which contains laws related to public benefits), probate code (where laws about wills, trusts and probate proceedings are collected) and many other codes dealing with a wide variety of topics. Federal statutes are organized into subject matter titles within the United States Code (for example, Title 18 for crimes and Title 11 for bankruptcy).

The written will of the legislature, solemnly expressed according to the forms prescribed in the Constitution; an act of the legislature.

Source: 'Lectric Law Library.  (n.d.). Statute.  Retrieved from

Regulations/Administrative Law

Administrative Law

The body of law governing administrative agencies- -that is, those agencies created by Congress or state legislatures, such as the Social Security Administration, state Unemployment Insurance Boards, state Welfare Commissions and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The authority these agencies possess is delegated to them by the bodies which created them; the Social Security Administration's power comes from Congress.

Administrative agencies administer law through the creation and enforcement of regulations; most of these regulations pertain to providing some type of benefit to applicants. Frequently, an applicant objects to an agency's decision to deny, limit or terminate the benefits provided and seeks to have the decision reviewed. This review is called an administrative hearing and is held before an administrative law judge (A.L.J.).

Source: 'Lectric Law Library.  (n.d.). Administrative law.  Retrieved from