common law lien

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A common law lien is a lien that is created due to common law and does not depend on any statute or contract for its existence. Unless abolished by statute or judicial decision, common law liens generally have the force of law in each U.S. state. 

  • An example of a frequently seen common law lien is an artisan’s lien, which ensures payment for labor performed by artisans by placing a lien on improved property. 
  • As seen in National Bank of Joliet v. Bergeron Cadillac, Inc., the existence of a statutory lien does not inherently abolish the ability to obtain a common law lien in a similar situation. 

[Last updated in August of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]