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“The common law is but the accumulated expressions of the various judicial tribunals in their efforts to ascertain what is right and just between individuals in respect to private disputes. The common law, however, is not static. By its nature, it adapts to changing circumstances. The common law is affected by the felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, and intuitions of public policy, and it embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries. It is generally agreed that two of the most significant features of the common law are: (1) its capacity for growth and (2) its capacity to reflect the public policy of a given era. The common law does not consist of definite rules which are absolute, fixed, and immutable like the statute law, but it is a flexible body of principles which are designed to meet, and are susceptible of adaption to, among other things, new institutions, public policies, conditions, usages and practices, and changes in mores, trade, commerce, inventions, and increasing knowledge, as the progress of society may require. So, changing conditions may give rise to new rights under the law. The common law is always a work in progress and typically develops incrementally, i.e., gradually evolving as individual disputes are decided and existing common-law rules are considered and sometimes adapted to current needs in light of changing times and circumstances.” – Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr., Michigan Supreme Court, Price v. High Pointe Oil Co., 2013 (edited for clarity; internal cites and quotes omitted)

Published inPolitics & LawThe American Constitution

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