Common law the ancient law of england based upon societal customs and recognized and enforced by the judgments and decrees of the courts the general body of statutes and case law that governed england and the american colonies prior to the american revolution. In most countries the criminal law is contained in a single statute known as the criminal or penal code although the criminal codes during the critical formative period of common law the english economy depended largely on agriculture and land was the most important form of wealth a money . The common law oliver wendell holmes jr on amazoncom free shipping on qualifying offers oliver wendell holmes jr 1841 1935 is generally considered one of the two greatest justices of the united states supreme court. The common law is a book that was written by oliver wendell holmes jr in 1881 21 years before holmes became an associate justice of the supreme court of the united states the book is about common law in the united states including torts property contracts and crime it is written as a series of lectures
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