Tennessee's Legal System Tennessee's legal system is common law based; however its laws are derived from the state Constitution and the specific statutes enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly and approved by the Governor in the Tennessee Code. Tennessee's laws are interpreted by its state courts at the trial and appellate levels, with the highest appellate power residing in the Tennessee Supreme Court.
No statute or law of Tennessee may violate the U.S. Constitution of federal laws. Federal law includes but is not limited to areas such as Copyrights, Patents, and Trademark; Civil Rights, Immigration, Customs, International Treaties, Fair Labor Standards and Occupational Safety, Securities Regulations, and others. In some instances both Tennessee and the U.S. government enact laws dealing with the same subject matter, such as pollution and criminal conduct. However, where state and federal law conflicts, federal law typically controls.