• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Briefly explain what is meant by the doctrine of judicial precedent.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Briefly explain what is meant by the doctrine of judicial precedent. (10 Marks) Judicial precedent refers to the sources of law where past decisions made by judges create law for future judges to follow. The English system of precedent is based on stare decisis, which translated from Latin loosely means "To stand by what has been decided". Stare decisis provides fairness and certainty in the law. It is divided into two parts: ratio decidendi and obiter dicta. Ratio decidendi are the principles of law that a judge has used to come to the decision at the end of a case, which is outlined in his speech. Ratio decidendi loosely means "Any rule expressed or implied by the judge as a necessary step in reaching his conclusion". Obiter dicta refers to "the other things said" by the judges and does not have to be followed by future judges. An example of this may include what the judge's decision would have been if the facts were different but does not have to followed as it is not binding precedent. ...read more.

Middle

The highest court affecting our legal system is the European Court of Justice (ECJ). A decision made by this court is binding on all other courts. Below the ECJ, is the House of Lords and its decisions bind all other courts in the English Legal system. Below the House of Lords is the Court of Appeal (civil and criminal division), Divisional Courts (Queen's Bench, Chancery and Family), the High Court, the Crown Court, the County Court and the Magistrate's Court. County Court and Magistrate's Court do not create precedent and are bound by all higher courts. It was decided that the House of Lords should have more flexibility. Since 1966, the Practice Statement has allowed the House of Lords to change the law if it believes that an earlier case was wrongly decided. The first major use of the Practice Statement was in Herrington v British Railways Board (1972), which involved the law on the duty of care owed to a child trespasser. ...read more.

Conclusion

The law becomes very precise as it gradually builds up through the different variations of facts in the cases which come before the courts. Another advantage is that there is room for the law to change as the House of Lords can use the Practice Statement to overrule cases (a decision which states that a legal rule in an earlier case is wrong). Judicial precedent can also be time-saving. The disadvantage to precedent is that the law can become too rigid seeing as the lower courts are bound by the higher courts and the Court of Appeal has to follow its own past decisions. Also, the process is quite complex seeing as there are thousands of reported cases and it is often quite difficult to extract the ratio decidendi from a case. Furthermore, the differences between some cases may be very small and appear illogical. The growth of precedent is slow and some areas of the law are unclear or in need of reform however, judges cannot make a decision unless there is a case before the courts to be decided. ?? ?? ?? ?? Uzmah Rashid November 10, 2008 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sources of Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This is a generally accurate answer, which at times contains some case authority and examples in support of the basic description. It is important to just answer the set question - not to include irrelevant material such as advantages and disadvantages.
Rating ***

Marked by teacher Nick Price 14/03/2012

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sources of Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Common Law and Equity

    5 star(s)

    Now that equity had become a body of law, there was no reason why it needed its own courts and as a result of the Judicature Acts 1873-1875, the two court systems were eventually combined, forming the Supreme Court of Judicature which would administer common law and equity.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    the english legal system unit1 assignment4

    4 star(s)

    undertaken to transfer the legal estate in land, drawing up wills, divorce settlements, civil litigation etc...However in relation to Barristers the profession is quite small with only some 8,000 practicing Barristers and it is still dominated by males, although women Barristers are increasing in numbers steadily.

  1. Free essay

    heirachy of civil courts

    They also deal with questions concerning the residence and adoption of children and the giving of permission for persons under 18 to marry where they cannot obtain their parents consent. Domestic proceedings are dealt with in separate branches of the magistrates' court known as the family proceedings court and family

  2. To advise Reggie, it is necessary to look at the law of adverse possession. ...

    From the information given, we are told that Arnie, Bruiser, Carmen and Dominique all contributed equally to the purchase price and the house is transferred into their joint names. This shows that it is a joint tenancy as the four unities are present19, which are the unity of possession20, unity of interest, unity of time and lastly, unity of title.

  1. Judicial Precedent

    The court decided that the word meant to be involved in a marital ceremony rather than being legally in a state of wedlock - otherwise it would have been legally impossible for anyone to commit bigamy, because the second marriage would not have been valid and therefore there would not have been a second spouse.

  2. The Land Registration Act 2002 heralds major changes to the law and procedures regarding ...

    However, in reality it did not reached the same requisite as what happened in Mount's case.

  1. Explain the distinction between the law and morals and consider the importance of the ...

    Similarly doctors have been prosecuted for openly practicing euthanasia as in R v Cox but withdrawing feeding so that a patient in a permanent vegetative state would die was accepted in Airedale NHS Trust v Bland therefore euthanasia contradicts withdrawal of nourishment.

  2. Explain what is meant by the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy and briefly explain one ...

    The parliament is limited as all legislation passed by them must meet the terms of the HRA. The Act states that a Minister must declare that the bill is compatible with the HRA before the second reading; if it is unsuitable it may be cancelled or refused application for subordinate

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work