Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Common law is judge-made law and consists of all the decisions that came before the case the judge is currently working on.
Judges must follow certain cases, such as those from higher courts within the state and those from the same court, or explain why the current decision is different from the previous caselaw. This is called binding precedence.
A judge might also look to past cases from other jurisdictions for help in making a decision.
Judges may also look to scholarly texts such as the Restatement of Law series, in order to determine what an outcome should be.
Judges also use their judgement, making decisions by balancing the equities of a given case.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).