Apr. 24, 2012 - Common Law

Common Law

LAW, COMMON. The common law is that which derives its force and authority from the universal consent and immemorial practice of the people. It has never received the sanction of the legislature, by an express act, which is the criterion by which it is distinguished from the statute law. Bouvier's Law Dictionary

Among the mainstays of Common Law are the maxims of law. Bouvier's Law Dictionary defines Maxims of Common Law as follows:

MAXIM. An established principle or proposition. A principle of law universally admitted, as being just and consonant with reason.

There is a distinction between these Common Law and statutes. It is described in this maxim:

"When the common law and statute law concur, the common law is to be preferred." (…'concur' here means 'meet or come together' on an issue)

Common Law ought to be held as superior to statutes by the courts.

"A delegated authority cannot be again delegated."

This maxim states clearly that legislators, receiving their authority to act from the people who elected them, do not have authority to delegate back to those people, through their statutes, reduced rights and privileges. In other words, when we give legislators authority to protect our fish from being over fished it does not give them the authority to forbid or limit our authority to fish for our individual needs. They only have authority and a mandate to limit the amount of fish taken by those entities they have created—namely, and specifically, corporations.

"The power which is derived cannot be greater than that from which it is derived."

Here too, the established principle in law univerally admitted as true, states that those elected cannot have greater power/authority than those who elected them.

Memorize Maxims of Common Law and use them.

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