Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 45

law - History of law, Legal systems, Branches of law, Legal theory, Institutions, Further reading

decisions courts developing body

Specifically, a rule of conduct laid down by a controlling authority; generally, the whole body of such rules, recognized and enforced by society in the courts by sanctions. Laws are made by the body recognized as having the constitutional authority to make them, ie in most countries, the legislature. In common law systems, the courts are particularly influential in developing the law; although they may be said to interpret the law, the growth in case decisions can be regarded as effectively creating or developing the law, even though (as in the UK) parliament is sovereign (subject to the jurisdiction of the European Parliament). In states with a written constitution, such as the USA, the Supreme Court may have the power to declare particular laws, practices, or decisions as unconstitutional, ie inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution.

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