of, pertaining to, or established by common law: a common-law spouse.

1905–10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin & History

common law
c.1350, "the customary and unwritten laws of England as embodied in commentaries and old cases" (see common), as opposed to statute law. Phrase common law marriage is attested from 1909.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

common law definition

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.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for commonlaw
The concept of statutory torts is not held throughout all commonlaw countries, however.
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