Section 1.4: Case Law

Fundamentals of Procedural Law by Adam J. McKee

Imagine the world of law as a giant puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle represents a part of the law. One of those pieces, a really important one, is case law. This body of law is made up of decisions made by judges in different court cases. These decisions create rules that we need to follow, and they also guide judges in future court cases.

How Case Law Works

Each time a judge makes a decision, it’s like adding another thread to a giant tapestry of the law. It is like a diary that keeps a record of past judgments, interpretations, and uses of the law. While statutory law tells us the rules, case law shows us how these rules have been used in real life. This makes this law a vibrant part of our legal system that changes and grows as society changes and grows.

It’s Flexible

One of the coolest things about this judge-made law is its ability to change and adapt. As society changes, the way we interpret the law also changes. This can be seen in how it evolves. This flexibility allows our legal system to stay current and continue to serve justice in a world that is constantly changing.

Studying Cases: It’s Not Just Memorization

Studying this law isn’t just about remembering what happened in different court cases. It’s about understanding the story behind each decision, why the judge decided the way they did, and how that decision affects everyone. When we study these court decisions, it helps us see how legal ideas are used in real-world applications.

As we dig into this chapter, the goal is to guide you through the process of creating this judge-made law. We’ll look at how case law shapes legal rules, how it influences the way we interpret written laws, and why it’s so important in our legal system. We’ll explore important cases and decisions that have made a big impact, helping you see how case law is a key part of studying and practicing law.


To sum it up, case law is an important part of our legal system. It’s made up of decisions from court cases that guide future rulings and show us how our laws work in real life. Studying case law isn’t just about remembering cases – it’s about understanding the story behind each decision and what it means for us. In this chapter, we’re going to explore the exciting world of case law and its important role in law.

Modification History

File Created:  08/04/2018

Last Modified:  07/05/2023

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