Legal Research

Case Law

Perhaps the largest single body of law in existence is that of case law. Case law is that law as interpreted and set forth by appellate courts or courts of review. Appellate courts are charged with hearing appeals from decisions made by lower courts (trial courts) to determine whether prejudicial error was committed which requires reversal of the decision or judgment reached in the lower court.

In performing this function appellate courts have the opportunity to pass on the constitutionality of any laws that were challenged and to interpret and determine the legislative intent that underlies statutes. In those cases where there is no constitutional rule or legislative enactment that applies, the appellate courts apply the rules of common law, i.e., the law as derived from our system of Anglo-American jurisprudence, to decide which rules or principles are necessary to resolution of the issues at hand.

United States Supreme Court

Federal Courts of Appeal

Federal District Courts

California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal

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