|1.||the body of law based on judicial decisions and custom, as distinct from statute law|
|2.||the law of a state that is of general application, as distinct from regional customs|
|3.||(modifier) common-law denoting a marriage deemed to exist after a couple have cohabited for several years: common-law marriage; common-law wife|
Law developed in the course of time from the rulings of judges, as opposed to law embodied in statutes passed by legislatures (statutory law) or law embodied in a written constitution (constitutional law). (See stare decisis.)
Note: The importance of common law is particularly stressed in the legal system of Britain, on which the legal system of the United States is based.