The common law evolved in England over many centuries and operates through the doctrine of precedent and the development of legal principles through cases and judgments. As a system of law the common law can be contrasted with other legal systems though out the world such as the civil law system in Europe which requires the precise exposition of its laws in statutory codes. New Zealand, as a colony, inherited the common law system from Britain and the English Law Acts of 1854, 1858 and 1908 confirmed New Zealand as a common law country.
The Common Law, otherwise known as the law of the land, has been in our courts since the 13th century. You have every right to use it. It is fundamental to all the other law systems in use, such as Civil law.
Other law systems can be superimposed upon the common Law (without contradiction) by your consent and by your contract.
Common law only has one rule: harm no one.
It is a common-sense and intuition based approach founded upon Natural law. Follow this rule and nobody will have a good reason to wage war against you.
The rule is better understood by breaking it down into three basic actions:
- Do not harm others.
- Do not tamper with other peoples belongings.
- Be honest in your words and in your promises. Honour your contracts.
When people harm each other they are expected to make amends, and work it out amongst themselves. If they are unable or unwilling to do this then a group of people (called a jury) is gathered to examine the problem and find a solution (for everybody involved, not just the plaintiff.) Justice is dispensed in the form of a solution (again for everybody involved.)
Note: this process is not really about punishment as this is in-of-itself a harmful action. It's about finding solutions and making amends.
Honesty is paramount to this process. Dishonesty is quickly uncovered because this system is about helping each other. If you're not helping the situation it soon becomes obvious. This is the antithesis of the maritime approach which is about competing for self interests and claiming the spoils of war.
Laws are made when people agree with them. Agreements are made and remade as required for everybody to live together in peace and harmony. We call these agreements legal precedents. And you are considered to be the judge of them.
In common law we are all a judge.
When somebody breaks the common law, it is said that they have committed a crime.
In order for a crime to exist, four elements must exist:
- There must be a defined crime.
- There must be a victim.
- That the victim must have been damaged.
- The intent must be established on the part of the accused.
Without proof of all four elements, no crime can said to have been committed.
You cannot commit a crime against a corporation because they are fictitious entity. It's like hitting a ghost. Who would be the victim? It is also worth noting that a corporation has no lips and thus cannot swear oaths. Sworn evidence is the highest form of truth in court. Only real world individuals can swear oaths and they can only do it for themselves on their own unlimited liability. This is a huge advantage for real world entities caught in the seas of commerce.
In the common law system we plead "innocent" or "guilty." Depending upon if we did it or not.
In Civil law we plead "guilty" or "not guilty." Which is a bit of a trick question really. Because we are always guilty. Guilty of what happened. Guilty of the facts. We swear our stories into court as evidence. They call it your testimony. If you are not willing to plead guilty to your own facts then what credibility are you left with?
The Bible calls this sin and mentions this in the book of Mathew. If you opt to plead "not guilty" then you shall cause a controversy and the court will place you in contempt (disrespect) of court. You'll lose for the dishonour. You'll lose anyway. More money for the court!
One limitation of common Law is a belief that you can own things or have property rights. This is a notion that seems particularly insane to the author, especially in regards to owning the floor. You don't see the birds charging rent for the trees. Most of us can't levitate. Depriving others of the floor by claiming ownership over it, is the meanest most miserable, insane act imaginable.
Most people do not know about the common law. It is well hidden and long forgotten, lost behind the choking veil of Civil law jurisdiction. Common law is very different form of law to Admiralty law (See: Important Freeman on the Land Definitions and Information.)
public law that deals with crimes and their prosecution —compare CIVIL LAW
NOTE: Substantive criminal law defines crimes, and procedural criminal law sets down criminal procedure. Substantive criminal law was originally common law for the most part. It was later codified and is now found in federal and state statutory law.
- Roman law esp. as set forth in the Code of Justinian
- the body of law developed from Roman law and used in Louisiana, in continental Europe, and in many other countries outside of the English-speaking world including esp. those that were colonized by countries of continental Europe —see also the JUDICIAL SYSTEM in the back matter —compare COMMON LAW
- the law established by a nation or state for its own jurisdiction
- the law that applies to private rights esp. as opposed to the law that applies to criminal matters —compare CRIMINAL LAW
- a body of law that is based on custom and general principles and embodied in case law and that serves as precedent or is applied to situations not covered by statute common law
- of torts>: as a :the body of law that was first developed in the English courts of law as distinguished from equity and that allows for particular remedies (as damages or replevin)
- common law …the right of trial by jury shall be preserved
—compare EQUITY, CIVIL LAW, STATUTORY LAW