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Do judges make law? The legal systems within the United Kingdom were based largely on judge-made law (

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  • Essay length: 1005 words
  • Submitted: 31/03/2006
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University Degree English Legal System

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Do judges make law?

The legal systems within the United Kingdom were based largely on judge-made law (law developed through decisions by judges necessary to decide cases brought before them - called "common law" or case-law) until around the seventeenth century. Each jurisdiction developed its own forms of common law, with Scotland being especially distinct from the rest. Since that time, new laws and law reform have increasingly been brought about through Acts of Parliament, usually inspired by policies of the Government of the day. Even so, the development of case-law still remains an important source of law. A statement of law made by a judge in a case can become binding on later judges and can in this way become the law for everyone to follow. Whether or not a particular pronouncement (technically called a precedent) by a judge sitting in court when deciding a case does become binding (according to the doctrine of "stare decisis" - stand by what has previously been decided) on later judges depends on two main factors:

* The pronouncement must be made by a court of sufficient seniority. Basically, judges at the lowest tiers of decision making (often called courts

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