According to Montesquieu`s theory of the „separation of powers“, only parliament has the power to legislate; But in the event that a law is ambiguous, the courts have the exclusive power to decide its true meaning by applying the principles of interpretation of the law. Since the courts do not have the power to legislate, the „legal fiction“ is that they „explain“ the common law (rather than „create“ it). The House of Lords took this „declaratory power“ a step further in DPP v Shaw, where Viscount Simonds, in creating the new crime of „conspiracy to corrupt public morality,“ asserted that the court had „residual authority to protect the moral welfare of the state.“   As Parliament became more established and influential, parliamentary legislation gradually moved beyond judicial legislation, so that today`s judges can only innovate in certain very narrowly defined areas. After the American Revolution, Massachusetts was the first state to establish an official deferral of decisions. Because the new states needed laws, they often first looked in Massachusetts reports for authoritative precedents as the basis for their own common law.  U.S. federal courts relied on private publishers until after the Civil War and did not begin publishing as a government office until 1874. West Publishing in Minnesota is the largest privately held publisher of legal reporting in the United States. Government publishers typically publish decisions only „in the raw state,“ while private sector publishers often add indexing, including references to key common law principles, editorial analysis, and similar finding aids. In common law jurisdictions (as opposed to „civil law“), legislators assume that laws are interpreted in the context of the already existing common law.
As the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v Texas, 507 U.S. 529 (1993): The main alternative to the common law system is the civil law system used in continental Europe and most Central and South American countries. Since 1189, English law has been a common law, not a civil law system; In other words, there has been no complete codification of the law, and judicial precedents are binding and unconvincing. This could be a legacy of the Norman conquest of England, when a number of legal concepts and institutions of Norman law were introduced into England. In the early centuries of English common law, judges and judges were tasked with adapting the writ system to day-to-day needs and applying a mixture of precedent and common sense to build a uniform law internally. An example is the Law Merchant, derived from the „pie powder“ courts, named after a corruption of the French powdered feet („dusty feet“), involving ad hoc market courts. Nevertheless, many states retain certain common law crimes. For example, in Virginia, the definition of conduct that constitutes the crime of theft exists only at common law, and the Robbery Act sets only the penalty.  Section 1-200 of the Virginia Code establishes the continuity and vitality of the principles of the common law and provides that „the Common Law of England, to the extent that it does not violate the principles of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, shall remain in full force and effect within it and shall be the rule of decision. unless amended by the General Assembly.
Contract law deals with the formation and interpretation (or „construction“) of written or oral agreements between companies or individuals. A contract does not need to be written to be a binding contract. Contract disputes may relate to whether or not a contract has already been formed, what its various terms and conditions actually meant, whether a party has breached the contract and, if so, what remedy (such as damages, injunction or particular performance) should be ordered. English law is the common law system of England and Wales, which consists mainly of criminal law and civil law, with each branch having its own courts and procedures.    After the British colonial era, jurisdictions that inherited and adopted English common law[a] developed their courts of appeal in different ways: jurisdictions still under the British crown are subject to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. [b] For a long time, the British dominions used the Privy Council in London as their last court of appeal, although they gradually established their local Supreme Court. New Zealand was the last dominion to leave the Privy Council and establish its own Supreme Court in 2004. [c] Even after independence, many former British Commonwealth colonies continued to use the Privy Council, as it provided a high-quality service that was easily accessible. In particular, several Caribbean island States have found the Privy Council beneficial. The common law includes both substantive rules such as homicide and procedural rules such as rules of judicial procedure resulting from the inherent jurisdiction of the court. Prior to 1938, federal courts, like almost all other common law courts, ruled on any matter on which the competent legislature (either the U.S.
Congress or the state legislature, as the matter may be) had not acted by appealing to the courts of the same system, that is, other federal courts, even on questions of state law. and even if there was no explicit grant of powers by Congress or the Constitution. .