From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Common law is law developed through decisions of courts and similar tribunals, rather than through legislative statutes or executive action. In common law legal systems, law is created and/or refined by judges: a decision in the case currently pending depends on decisions in previous cases and affects the law to be applied in future cases. When there is no authoritative statement of the law, common law judges have the authority and duty to make law by creating precedent.
Early common law systems
Examples of modern common law systems
Common law as applied to matrimony
Common vs. civil laws
Stages of common law trials