§ 4-1. Common law declared to be in force.
All such parts of the common law as were heretofore in force and use within this State, or so much of the common law as is not destructive of, or repugnant to, or inconsistent with, the freedom and independence of this State and the form of government therein established, and which has not been otherwise provided for in whole or in part, not abrogated, repealed, or become obsolete, are hereby declared to be in full force within this State.
(1715, c. 5, ss. 2, 3, P.R.; 1778, c. 133, P.R.; R.C., c. 22; Code, s. 641; Rev., s. 932; C.S., s. 970.)
Legal Periodicals. - For note on the role of the judiciary in the abrogation of the municipal tort immunity rule, see 5 Wake Forest Intra. L. Rev. 383 (1969).
For article, "The Rule in Wild's Case in North Carolina," see 55 N.C.L. Rev. 751 (1977).
For article, "The Common Law Powers of the Attorney General of North Carolina," see 9 N.C. Cent. L.J. 1 (1977).
For article discussing the influence, past and future, of civil law on common law jurisdictions, see 1990 Duke L.J. 1207.
For note, "Its Days were Numbered: The Year and a Day Rule Falls in North Carolina - State v. Vance," see 14 Campbell L. Rev. 235 (1992).
For note, "Searching for Limits on a Municipality's Retention of Governmental Immunity," see 76 N.C.L. Rev. 269 (1997).
For note, "Not-So-Secrets? The State of the Attorney-Client Privilege in North Carolina in the Wake of In re Investigation of Death of Eric Miller and Crawford v. Washington," see 83 N.C. L. Rev. 1591 (2005).
For note, "A New Route to Medical Malpractice in North Carolina?," see 31 N.C. Cent. L. Rev. 198 (2009).
I. GENERAL CONSIDERATION.
Historical Background. - See Resort Dev. Co. v. Parmele, 235 N.C. 689, 71 S.E.2d 474 (1952), overruled in part, Gwathmey v. State ex rel. Dep't of Env't, Health & Natural Resources, 342 N.C. 287, 464 S.E.2d 674 (1995).
Since the American Revolution and our independence, the common law has continued to apply in North Carolina. Hall v. Post, 323 N.C. 259, 372 S.E.2d 711 (1988).
The term "common law" refers to the common law of England. State v. Willis, 255 N.C. 473, 121 S.E.2d 854 (1961); State v. Lackey, 271 N.C. 171, 155 S.E.2d 465 (1967); State ex rel.
Bruton v. Flying "W" Enters., Inc., 273 N.C. 399, 160 S.E.2d 482 (1968).
Common Law Adopted as of Date of Signing of Declaration of Independence. - This section adopted the common law of England as of the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Steelman v. City of New Bern, 279 N.C. 589,
184 S.E.2d 239 (1971).
Extent of Common Law in Force and Effect. - So much of the common law as is not destructive of, repugnant to, or inconsistent with our form of government, and which has not been repealed or abrogated by statute or become obsolete, is in full force and effect in this jurisdiction. State v. Hampton, 210 N.C. 283, 186 S.E. 251 (1936).
So much of the common law as has not been abrogated or repealed by statute is in full force and effect in this State. Hoke v. Atlantic Greyhound Corp., 226 N.C. 332, 38 S.E.2d 105 (1946); Scholtens v. Scholtens, 230 N.C. 149, 52 S.E.2d 350 (1949), overruled on other grounds, Foster v. Foster, 264 N.C. 694, 142 S.E.2d 638 (1965); Hensen v. Thomas, 231 N.C. 173, 56 S.E.2d 432, 12 A.L.R.2d 1171 (1949); Friendly Fin. Corp. v. Quinn, 232 N.C. 407, 61 S.E.2d 192 (1950); Ionic Lodge No. 72 F.A. & A.M. v. Ionic Lodge F.A. & A.M. No. 72 Co., 232 N.C. 648, 62 S.E.2d 73 (1950); Cooperative Warehouse v. Lumberton Tobacco Bd. of Trade, Inc., 242 N.C. 123, 87 S.E.2d 25 (1955).
A common-law rule which has not been abrogated or repealed by statute in North Carolina is still in effect under the terms of this section. Elliott v. Elliott, 235 N.C. 153, 69 S.E.2d 224 (1952); Redding v. Redding, 235 N.C. 638, 70 S.E.2d 676 (1952); McMichael v. Proctor, 243 N.C. 479, 91 S.E.2d 231 (1956); Mullen v. Sawyer, 8 N.C. App. 458, 174 S.E.2d 646 (1970), rev'd on other grounds, 277 N.C. 623, 178 S.E.2d 425 (1971). See note in 30 N.C.L. Rev. 417 (1952).
The "common law" to be applied in North Carolina is the common law of England to the extent it was in force and use within this State at the time of the Declaration of Independence; is not otherwise contrary to the independence of this State or the form of government established therefor; and is not abrogated, repealed, or obsolete. Gwathmey v. State ex rel. Dep't of Env't, Health & Natural Resources, 342 N.C. 287, 464 S.E.2d 674 (1995); Conley v. Emerald Isle Realty, Inc., 350 N.C. 293, 513 S.E.2d 556 (1999).
Trial court properly denied a defendant's motion to refer the matter to a three-judge panel because he did not show that exclusive jurisdiction was vested in a three-judge panel or that the deprivation of a substantial right would potentially work injury to him if not corrected before an appeal from a final judgment where, while common law torts were statutorily codified, the plaintiff's claims - alienation of affection and criminal conversation - did not arise under acts of the General Assembly, but were torts arising under common law, the trial court did not certify the order for appeal, and the defendant's motion alleged no specific basis, only the facial unconstitutionality of the torts. Estes v. Battiston, - N.C. App. - , - S.E.2d - (Oct. 20, 2020).
Extent to Which Common Law May Be Modified. - So much of the common law as is in force by virtue of this section may be modified or repealed, but those parts of the common law which are imbedded in the Constitution are not subject to control. State v.
Mitchell, 202 N.C. 439, 163 S.E. 581 (1932).
Effect of Legislation with Respect to Subject Matter of Common-Law Rule. - Where the North Carolina General Assembly has legislated with respect to the subject matter of a common-law rule, the statute supplants the common law with respect to the particular rule, but so much of the common law as has not been abrogated or repealed by statute is in full force and effect. Allen v. Standard Crankshaft & Hydraulic Co., 210 F. Supp. 844 (W.D.N.C. 1962), aff'd, 323 F.2d 29 (4th Cir. 1963).
When the General Assembly legislates in respect to the subject matter of a common law rule, the statute supplants the common law rule in regard to that matter. State v. Green, 124 N.C. App. 269, 477 S.E.2d 182
(1996), cert. denied and appeal denied, 345 N.C. 644, 483 S.E.2d 714 (1997), aff'd, 348 N.C. 588, 502 S.E.2d 819 (1998), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1111, 119 S. Ct. 883, 142 L. Ed. 2d 783
Statutes Construed According to Common-Law Definition. - When a statute punishes an act, giving it a name known to the common law without otherwise defining it, the statute is construed according to the common-law definition. State v. Ingland,
278 N.C. 42, 178 S.E.2d 577 (1971); State v. Roberts, 286 N.C. 265, 210 S.E.2d 396 (1974).
Presumption as to Common Law in Sister States. - Where there is no evidence to the contrary, the presumption is that the common law is in force in a sister state. Hipps v. Southern Ry., 177 N.C. 472, 99 S.E. 335
Applied in Wells v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 213 N.C. 178, 195 S.E. 394, 116 A.L.R. 130 (1938); State v. Sullivan, 229 N.C. 251, 49 S.E.2d 458 (1948); State v. Crawford, 329 N.C. 466,
406 S.E.2d 579 (1991); Burgess v. Busby, 142 N.C. App. 393, 544 S.E.2d 4 (2001); Rosero v. Blake, 357 N.C. 193, 581 S.E.2d 41 (2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1177, 124 S. Ct. 1407, 158
L. Ed. 2d 78 (2004); Nies v. Town of Emerald Isle, 244 N.C. App. 81, 780 S.E.2d 187 (2015), appeal dismissed, 793 S.E.2d 699, 2016 N.C. LEXIS 1014 (2016), cert. denied, mot. granted, 138 S. Ct. 75, 2017 U.S. LEXIS
4978, 199 L. Ed. 2d 184 (U.S. 2017).
Cited in Hinton v. Hinton, 196 N.C. 341, 145 S.E. 615 (1928); Rhodes v. Collins, 198 N.C. 23, 150 S.E. 492 (1929); Grantham v. Grantham, 205 N.C. 363, 171
S.E. 331 (1933); State v. Emery, 224 N.C. 581, 31 S.E.2d 858 (1944); Lutz Indus., Inc. v. Dixie Home Stores, 242 N.C. 332, 88 S.E.2d 333 (1955); State v. Lowry, 263 N.C. 536,
139 S.E.2d 870 (1965); In re Johnston, 16 N.C. App. 38, 190 S.E.2d 879 (1972); State v. Fulcher, 34 N.C. App. 233, 237 S.E.2d 909 (1977); State v. Sneed, 38 N.C. App. 230, 247 S.E.2d 658 (1978); Nash County Bd. of Educ. v. Biltmore Co., 464 F. Supp. 1027 (E.D.N.C. 1978); Robinson v. King, 68 N.C. App. 86, 314 S.E.2d 768 (1984); Southern Ry. v. O'Boyle Tank Lines, 70 N.C. App. 1, 318 S.E.2d 872 (1984); City Nat'l Bank v. American Commonwealth Fin. Corp., 608 F. Supp. 941 (W.D.N.C. 1985); Hendon v. North Carolina State Bd. of Elections, 633 F. Supp. 454 (W.D.N.C. 1986); State v. Mann, 317 N.C. 164,
345 S.E.2d 365 (1986); Cheape v. Town of Chapel Hill, 320 N.C. 549, 359 S.E.2d 792 (1987); State v. Beale, 324 N.C. 87, 376 S.E.2d 1 (1989); Hatcher v. Rose, 329 N.C. 626,
407 S.E.2d 172 (1991); State v. Lane, 115 N.C. App. 25, 444 S.E.2d 233 (1994); State v. Pope, 122 N.C. App. 89, 468 S.E.2d 552 (1996); State v. Mathis, 349 N.C. 503,
509 S.E.2d 155 (1998); Virmani v. Presbyterian Health Servs. Corp., 350 N.C. 449, 515 S.E.2d 675 (1999); Rosero v. Blake, 150 N.C. App. 250, 563 S.E.2d 248, cert. granted, 356 N.C. 166,
568 S.E.2d 610 (2002); State v. Taylor, 212 N.C. App. 238, 713 S.E.2d 82 (2011); Dickson v. Rucho, 366 N.C. 332, 737 S.E.2d 362 (2013).
II. ILLUSTRATIVE CASES.
Sovereign Immunity. - The concept of sovereign immunity, extant in the English common law, made its way into the common law of colonial North Carolina and remains in force in this State. Teachy v. Coble Dairies, Inc., 306 N.C. 324,
293 S.E.2d 182 (1982).
The common-law rights and disabilities of husband and wife are in force in this State, except insofar as they have been abrogated or repealed by statute. Scholtens v. Scholtens, 230 N.C. 149, 52 S.E.2d 350 (1949),
overruled on other grounds, Foster v. Foster, 264 N.C. 694, 142 S.E.2d 638 (1965).
The common-law doctrine of survivorship between husband and wife as tenants by entireties has not been changed by statute and is in force in this State. Dorsey v. Kirkland, 177 N.C. 520, 99 S.E. 407 (1919).
Because the historical purposes underlying the separation exception to the necessaries doctrine are incompatible with current mores and laws governing modern marital relationships in North Carolina, the separation exception as previously applied in the
courts is "obsolete" within the meaning of this section. Being obsolete, that exception has no place in the common law and must be modified. Forsyth Mem. Hosp. v. Chisholm, 342 N.C. 616, 467 S.E.2d
Presumption of Death. - The doctrine of the common law as to presumptive death is not repealed or affected by statute, and obtains in our courts. Steele v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 196 N.C. 408, 145 S.E. 787
Obligation of Father to Support Child. - At common law it is the duty of a father to support his minor children. The common-law obligation of a father to support his child is not a debt in the legal sense, but an obligation imposed by law. It is not a property right of the child, but is a personal duty of the father, which is terminated by his death. These common-law principles have not been abrogated or modified by statute and are in full force and effect in this jurisdiction. Mullen v. Sawyer, 277 N.C. 623, 178 S.E.2d 425 (1971).
The North Carolina Legislature has no explicit intention to overrule or abrogate the Fuchs-Williams principles. Pataky v. Pataky, 160 N.C. App. 289, 585 S.E.2d 404 (2003), aff'd, 359 N.C. 65,
602 S.E.2d 360 (2004).
Right of Father of Illegitimate Child to Visitation Privileges. - The common law principle that the father of an illegitimate child is not entitled to visitation privileges absent consent of the mother has been abrogated by statutes as well as case law.
Conley v. Johnson, 24 N.C. App. 122, 210 S.E.2d 88 (1974).
Tort Action by Child Against Parent. - The common-law rule that an unemancipated, minor child, living in the household of its parents, cannot maintain an action in tort against its parents or either of them, still prevails in North Carolina. Redding v.
Redding, 235 N.C. 638, 70 S.E.2d 676 (1952).
Exemption of Nonresidents from Civil Process. - The common-law privilege of the exemption of nonresidents from service of civil process while attending upon litigation in the courts of this State, as suitors or witnesses, was not repealed by implication
by G.S. 8-64, 9-18. Cooper v. Wyman, 122 N.C. 784, 29 S.E. 947 (1898).
Limitation Over in Personal Property. - The common-law rule that there can be no limitation over in personal property after reservation of a life estate therein is in force in this State, under this section, and has been recognized by judicial decision
and by statutory implication. Speight v. Speight, 208 N.C. 132, 179 S.E. 461 (1935).
The common-law rule that future interests in personal property may be created by will but not by deed prevails in this State, since it has not been abrogated or repealed by statute or become obsolete, and is not destructive of, or repugnant to, or inconsistent
with, the freedom and independence of this State. Woodard v. Clark, 236 N.C. 190, 72 S.E.2d 433 (1952).
Trademarks. - State statutes providing for registration of trademarks are in affirmance of the common law. Allen v. Standard Crankshaft & Hydraulic Co., 210 F. Supp. 844 (W.D.N.C. 1962), aff'd, 323 F.2d 29 (4th Cir. 1963).
The remedies given by statutes providing for registration of trademarks are either declaratory of or are cumulative and additional to those recognized by the common law. Allen v. Standard Crankshaft & Hydraulic Co., 210 F. Supp. 844 (W.D.N.C. 1962), aff'd, 323 F.2d 29 (4th Cir. 1963).
Implied Warranty in Sale of Food. - The common-law rule of implied warranty in the sale of food by a retailer to a consumer, even though the food may be sold in a sealed container, has not been rendered obsolete by the changes in the manner and method
of the manufacture, preparation and distribution of food. Rabb v. Covington, 215 N.C. 572, 2 S.E.2d 705 (1939).
Survival of Actions. - Since at common law, causes of action for wrongful injury, whether resulting in death or not, did not survive the injured party, the survival of such actions is solely by virtue of statute. Hoke v. Atlantic Greyhound Corp.,
226 N.C. 332, 38 S.E.2d 105 (1946).
Tortious Killing. - The common law, adopted as the law of North Carolina in this section, gave no right of action for the tortious killing of a human being. Gay v. Thompson, 266 N.C. 394, 146 S.E.2d 425 (1966).
Preference to Debts Due to State Abrogated. - The English common law, which gave a debt due to the sovereign a preference over the debts due to others, is not in force as applied to a debt due to this State, since the rule as it existed at common law
is antagonistic to the spirit of our governmental institutions. North Carolina Corp. Comm'n v. Citizens Bank & Trust Co., 193 N.C. 513, 137 S.E. 587 (1927).
Exemption of Attorneys from Arrest. - The common law exemption of an attorney from arrest in a civil action should, under our institutions and because of obsoleteness by nonusage, not prevail, except where the attorneys are actually in attendance upon
court in the due course of their employment as attorneys. Greenleaf v. People's Bank, 133 N.C. 292, 45 S.E. 638 (1903).
Attorney-Client Privilege - Because the North Carolina General Assembly had not enacted a statutory provision concerning the attorney-client privilege, it was necessary to look solely to the common law for the privilege's proper application. In re Investigation
of the Death of Miller, 357 N.C. 316, 584 S.E.2d 772 (2003).
The determination of the navigability of waters by whether they were subject to the ebb and flow of the tides, the lunar tides test, had never been part of the English common law applied in this State before or after the Revolution and that test was "obsolete,"
as it was inapplicable to the conditions of the waters within this State. For these reasons, the lunar tides test is not a part of the common law as it applies in North Carolina. Gwathmey v. State ex rel. Dep't of Env't, Health & Natural
Resources, 342 N.C. 287, 464 S.E.2d 674 (1995).
Common Law Fraud. - Because plaintiff's legal fees and other costs were not recoverable as independent damages on a fraud claim, and he did not allege that he suffered any other damage, he failed to prove that he suffered legally cognizable damages as a result of a misrepresentation by defendant. Under North Carolina law, a successful litigant could not recover attorneys' fees, whether as costs or as an item of damages, unless such a recovery was expressly authorized by statute, and costs were recoverable only in certain listed types of cases, none of which applied, or at the discretion of the court to a prevailing party, which necessarily meant establishing a prima facie case that, in the context of fraud, had to include independent damages aside from costs. Hoch v. Hoch (In re Hoch), - Bankr. - (Bankr. E.D.N.C. Jan. 25, 2018).
The year and a day rule has become "obsolete," within the meaning of that term as used in this section, and is no longer part of the common law of North Carolina for any purpose. State v. Vance, 328 N.C. 613, 403
S.E.2d 495 (1991).
Punishment When No Penalty Expressly Provided. - The common-law rule obtains in this State that where a statute enacted in the public interest commands an act to be done or proscribes the commission of an act, and no penalty is expressly provided for
its breach, its violation may be punished as for a misdemeanor. State v. Bishop, 228 N.C. 371, 45 S.E.2d 858 (1947).
The solicitation of another to commit a felony is a crime, although the solicitation is of no effect, and the crime is not committed, the common-law rule being in effect and controlling. State v. Hampton, 210 N.C. 283, 186 S.E. 251 (1936); State v. Furr, 292 N.C. 711, 235 S.E.2d 193, cert. denied, 434 U.S. 924, 98 S. Ct. 402, 54 L. Ed. 2d 281 (1977); State v. Tyner, 50 N.C. App. 206, 272 S.E.2d 626 (1980), cert. denied, 302 N.C. 633, 280 S.E.2d 451 (1981).
The offense of solicitation of another to commit a felony has been cognizable at common law at least since Rex v. Higgins, 2 East 5, 102 Eng. Rep. 269 (1801) and still an indictable offense under the common law in this State. State v. Furr, 292 N.C. 711, 235 S.E.2d 193, cert. denied, 434 U.S. 924, 98 S. Ct. 402, 54 L. Ed. 2d 281 (1977).
Solicitation to commit a felony was a misdemeanor at common law. United States v. MacCloskey, 682 F.2d 468 (4th Cir. 1982).
Obstruction of justice is a common-law offense in North Carolina. Article 30 of Chapter 14 does not abrogate this offense. In re Kivett, 309 N.C. 635,
309 S.E.2d 442 (1983).
False Imprisonment. - North Carolina does not have a criminal statute making false imprisonment a crime, and therefore, the common law with respect to false imprisonment is the law of this State. State v. Ingland, 278 N.C. 42,
178 S.E.2d 577 (1971).
Kidnapping. - Since this section adopted the common law as the law of this State, the common law with respect to kidnapping and false imprisonment was the law of this State. State v. Ingland, 278 N.C. 42, 178 S.E.2d 577 (1971).
The failure of G.S. 14-39, prior to its 1975 amendment, to define kidnapping did not render the statute vague or uncertain, and the common-law definition of the offense was incorporated into the statute by construction. State v. Ingland, 278 N.C. 42, 178 S.E.2d 577 (1971).
Since G.S. 14-39, prior to its 1975 amendment, did not define kidnapping, the common-law definition of that crime was the law of this State. State v. Murphy, 280 N.C. 1, 184 S.E.2d 845 (1971); State v. Hudson,
281 N.C. 100, 187 S.E.2d 756 (1972), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 1160, 94 S. Ct. 920, 39 L. Ed. 2d 112 (1974).
Rape. - By this section the common-law death penalty for rape was adopted in North Carolina. State v. Waddell, 282 N.C. 431, 194 S.E.2d 19 (1973).
Common law attempted murder was not abrogated by G.S. 14-32(a), prohibiting assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, because while a person could attempt to murder another person by assaulting that person, with the intent
to kill, using a deadly weapon and thereby inflict serious injury, a person did not have to do so to commit attempted murder, and attempted murder could occur through a multitude of circumstances, requiring simply (1) intent to kill and (2)
an overt act which was more than mere preparation and committed with malice, premeditation, and deliberation. State v. Ramirez, 156 N.C. App. 249, 576 S.E.2d 714 (2003), cert. denied, 357 N.C. 255,
583 S.E.2d 286 (2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 991, 124 S. Ct. 487, 157 L. Ed. 2d 388 (2003).
Short-Form Murder Indictments. - Prisoner's short-form murder indictment did not omit an element of the offense because the indictment stated every element of the charged offense of common law murder, as codified in 1893 N.C. Sess. Laws 76 since, under North Carolina law, murder by torture was just another means of committing the single common law crime of murder. Stroud v. Polk, 466 F.3d 291 (4th Cir. 2006), cert. denied, 551 U.S. 1134, 127 S. Ct. 2978, 168 L. Ed. 2d 709 (2007).
Burglary. - Since 1889, burglary has been divided into two degrees by G.S. 14-51. If the burglarized dwelling is occupied, it is burglary in the first degree; if unoccupied, it is burglary in the second degree. To constitute burglary in either degree,
however, the common law required the felonious breaking and entering to occur in the nighttime, and this common law requirement is still the law in North Carolina. State v. Jones, 294 N.C. 642, 243
S.E.2d 118 (1978).
The common-law definition of arson is still in force in this State. State v. Long, 243 N.C. 393, 90 S.E.2d 739 (1956); State v. Arnold, 285 N.C. 751, 208 S.E.2d 646 (1974).
Attempt to Commit Arson. - The common-law rule that an attempt to commit arson is a misdemeanor was changed by G.S. 14-67, which made an attempt to commit arson a felony. State v. Arnold, 285 N.C. 751, 208 S.E.2d
Champerty is an offense at common law, and prevails in this State, being retained under this section. Merrell v. Stuart, 220 N.C. 326, 17 S.E.2d 458 (1941).
Barratry. - The common-law offense of barratry obtains in this State, since it has never been the subject of legislation in North Carolina and is not repugnant to nor inconsistent with our form of government. State v. Batson, 220 N.C. 411,
17 S.E.2d 511, 139 A.L.R. 614 (1941).
Stop and Frisk. - The absence of a stop and frisk statute is not fatal to the authority of law-enforcement officers in North Carolina to stop suspicious persons for questioning and to search those persons for dangerous weapons, since those practices are
valid under the common law. State v. Streeter, 283 N.C. 203, 195 S.E.2d 502 (1973).
Right of Bail in Capital Cases. - At common law bail might be granted in capital cases only by a high judicial officer upon thorough scrutiny of the facts and great caution. This right, though once modified by former statutes against its existence in
capital offenses where the proof was evident and the presumption was great, now prevails in this State as it existed at common law. State v. Herndon, 107 N.C. 934, 12 S.E. 268 (1890). See G.S. 15A-533.
Habeas Corpus. - It is an admitted principle of common law that every court of record of superior jurisdiction has the power to issue the writ of habeas corpus. This power is preserved in this State and can be exercised by all courts of record of superior
jurisdiction. In re Bryan, 60 N.C. 1 (1863).
The common-law writ of error coram nobis to challenge the validity of petitioner's conviction for matters extraneous to the record is available under our procedure. In re Taylor, 230 N.C. 566, 53 S.E.2d 857 (1949), overruled on other grounds, Dantzic v. State, 279 N.C. 212, 182 S.E.2d 563 (1971); State v. Daniels, 231 N.C. 17, 56 S.E.2d 2 (1949), aff'd and appeal dismissed, 231 N.C. 509, 57 S.E.2d 653, cert. denied, 339 U.S. 954, 70 S. Ct. 837, 94 L. Ed. 2d 1366 (1950), overruled on other grounds, Dantzic v. State, 279 N.C. 571, 182 S.E.2d 571 (1971).
The availability of a writ of error coram nobis in this State stems from this section, which adopts the common law as the law of this State, and authority for the writ stems from N.C. Const., Art. IV, § 12, which gives the Supreme Court authority to exercise supervision over the inferior courts of the State. State v. Green, 277 N.C. 188, 176 S.E.2d 756 (1970).
There is no requirement that in every instance the approval of the Supreme Court must first be obtained before application can be made to the trial court for issuance of a writ of error coram nobis. Prior to In re Taylor, 229 N.C. 297,
49 S.E.2d 749 (1948), it does not appear that authority for the issuance of the writ, long recognized as an available common-law writ, was derived from the supervisory powers granted in the Constitution, but rather from this section, which,
with certain exceptions, adopted the common law as the law of this State. Dantzic v. State, 279 N.C. 212, 182 S.E.2d 563, cert. denied, 279 N.C. 619, 184 S.E.2d 113 (1971).
Forfeiture for felony, which was the established rule at common law, has had no force in this State since 1778. White v. Fort, 10 N.C. 251 (1824).
Opinions of Attorney General
As to venue at common law for offense of purchasing pistol without a permit, see opinion of Attorney General to Mr. J.B. Roberts, Sheriff of Cabarrus County, 40 N.C.A.G. 195 (1969).