What Is an Example of Case Law?

An example of case law is a judicial decision from a previous case, such as Israel v. Carolina Bar-B-Que, Inc., which determined that a tree owner is liable for damages caused by his tree, explains NOLO. Examples of case law are used to present legal arguments in subsequent cases.

Examples of case law include all cases courts have previously ruled on that have to do with a particular legal topic, says NOLO. A court’s written opinions are called case law, and they often interpret unclear state laws. Examples of case law are recorded in books called reporters. State reporters contain just the court cases from a particular state, and regional reporters record cases from a group of states. Cases are recorded using a very specific citation method, and they are accessed by getting the full case citation and then reading the case published in the reporter. The full text of a case may be available online for a fee.

Some legal issues are completely determined by the courts when no local ordinances or state statutes address a particular situation, notes NOLO. In these instances, something called common law may apply. Common law is related to case law because it is the body of law created by the courts using the written decisions from cases upon which they have ruled.