Common law, system of law that prevails in England and in countries colonized by England. The name is derived from the medieval theory that the law administered by the king's courts represented the common custom of the realm, as opposed to the custom of local jurisdiction that was applied in local or manorial courts. In its early development common law was largely a product of three English courts—King's Bench, Exchequer, and the Court of Common Pleas—which competed successfully against other courts for jurisdiction and developed a distinctive body of doctrine.
The characteristics of common law system are:
-There is not always a written constitution or codified laws;
-Judicial decisions are binding – decisions of the highest court can generally only be overturned by that same court or through legislation;
-Extensive freedom of contract - few provisions are implied into the contract by law (although provisions seeking to protect private consumers may be implied);
-Generally, everything is permitted that is not expressly prohibited by law.
The distinctive feature of common law is that it represents the law of the courts as expressed in judicial decisions. The grounds for deciding cases are found in precedents provided by past decisions, as contrasted to the civil law system, which is based on statutes and prescribed texts. Besides the system of judicial precedents, other characteristics of common law are trial by jury and the doctrine of the supremacy of the law.
Furthermore, this legal system is not as perfect as we thought to protect the rights of peoples. A common law system is generally less prescriptive than a civil law system. A government may therefore wish to enshrine protections of its citizens in specific legislation related to the infrastructure program being contemplated. For example,