Case law is a major source of law in a common law system of jurisprudence. A great amount of a common law lawyer’s time is spent reading and studying cases to determine the rule of law on a particular point.
A case is a published report of an opinion indicating the decision of a court on a controversial issue heard by the reporting court. Generally, only appellate court decisions are published on a national basis, except for decisions of the federal district courts. The report contains at least the opinion of the court which is the decision of the court as decided by the numerical majority of the tribunal (another name for court) making the decision. The report is written by a judge of the court who is expressing the opinion for the court. If any judge of the court (where more than one judge hears the controversial point at issue) disagrees with the majority decision, he/she may write a separate opinion, termed a dissenting opinion, explaining his/her reasons for holding a view that is different from the majority opinion of the court. A judge may also agree with the results of the decision of the court, but for different or additional reasons not shared by the opinion of the court. This opinion is termed a concurring opinion. When the opinion, or opinions are made public, they are kept by the clerk of the court and accumulated along with other opinions until published in a volume. The volumes are numbered consecutively by the clerk; they are termed “state reports” when they involve state court decisions. The West Publishing Company also publishes the appellate decisions in a series of reports called the national reporter system, which contain the decisions of all state and federal courts. West group the state jurisdictions geographically.
— Quia Canada | ♊ (@QuiaCanada) May 3, 2016
source: John W. Palmer, Constitutional Rights of Prisoners
ff0000;">DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney. This blog does not provide legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.