statutory interpretation

Case Law

Case law is law that is based on judicial decisions rather than law based on constitutions, statutes, or regulations. Case law concerns unique disputes resolved by courts using the concrete facts of a case. By contrast, statutes and regulations...

Case of First Impression

A case of first impression is a case that presents a legal issue that has never been decided by the governing jurisdiction. An example is the 1978 Supreme Court case Monell v. Department of Soc. Svcs. which decided whether local governments were...

Common Law

Common law is law that is derived from judicial decisions instead of from statutes. American courts originally fashioned common law rules based on English common law until the American legal system was sufficiently mature to create common law rules...

Common Law Lien

Name for a category of liens that stem from the common law and do not depend on any statute or contract for their existence. Unless abolished by statute or judicial decision, common law liens generally have the force of law in each U.S. state.

Constitutional Avoidance

Constitutional Avoidance is the principal that, if possible, the Supreme Court should avoid ruling on constitutional issues, and resolve the cases before them on other (usually statutory) grounds. In practice, what this often means is that if the...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryThe act of interpreting and giving meaning to a statute, law, contract, or will when there is some ambiguity or question about its meaning. Strict, or narrow, construction means considering only the...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryTo determine the meaning of a written document, statute, or legal decision, based upon rules of legal interpretation.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

Controlling Law

In contracts, trusts, or other documents, controlling law refers to the laws of the state which will be relied upon in judging disputes.

In contracts, the parties often agree on a choice of law clause that...

Davis-Bacon Act

A federal law that regulates prevailing wage rates on public works projects.


The process through which the legislature legalizes an act which was formerly a crime. see, e.g. Washington v. Harold Glucksberg, 521 US 702 (1997).