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

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

Extracts from this document...


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) ...read more.


The reasoning must be a matter pertaining to the law rather than a factual decision. In addition, the pronouncement must not be obiter dictum - something said either about the law or the facts of the case which is "by the way", in other words, not strictly necessary for the legal basis for the decisions. Only the ratio decidendi will be binding. It will comprise the legal principles and rules which are necessary to solve the problem before the court. Obiter dicta are not binding, but they may be treated as of "persuasive authority" - later judges are entitled to read them and be influenced by them, but they are not obliged to follow these parts of judicial pronouncements. We can summarise these rules -as the doctrine of precedent (or, to use lawyers' language, the doctrine of stare decisis). A later judge will have to determine (i) what pronouncements from earlier decisions are binding and (ii) ...read more.


So when we think of laws in modern times, we often think of sections in an Act of Parliament. Statutes can be applied to all or any combination of jurisdictions within the United Kingdom, whereas the common law jurisdictions are more limited. Acts of Parliament which apply to everyone throughout one or more jurisdictions are called public general Acts. But Acts may also be limited to geographical locations within a jurisdiction (e.g. the W est Yorkshire Act 1980 and local bye-laws) or to specific persons or companies. Reasons for the use of delegated legislation are as follows: * to save time in Parliament - the time taken to scrutinize statutory instruments is often zero or, at most, an hour or two; * to allow for expert input into their design and technical language to be used in their wording * to allow flexibility in responding to events and representations There are also powers under the Local Government Act 1972 for local authorities to issue delegated legislation - these are called bye-laws. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree English Legal System section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

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 University Degree English Legal System essays

  1. Where judges do not follow precedent (or where they distinguish binding cases on dubious ...

    There is no rigorous definition, it is clear, and the situation is made worse by the fact that in some cases it is practically impossible to identify the unique ratio by any criterion at all. This is true particularly of those cases which ought to carry the greatest authority, because

  2. Constitutional law.

    There have been many researches made to examine the implications of devolution. It is a major investment.2 Two challenges were set up: 1. go into social science disciplines in order to understand devolution and its connection with the UK 2. the research into policy debates.3 There were also themes involved.

  1. Law Making - Judicial Precedent.

    Law reform organisations These bodies look into problems in the law and make recommendations to parliament on how the law could be improved. (E.G. the law commission was set up in 1965) and has an ongoing program of investigating Royal Commissions on the other hand to be set up for one off investigations.

  2. Judges Make Law

    However since the Lord Chancellor's Practice Statement 2 says that the House of Lords can depart from it own previous decision. A leading case to illustrate this is R v R 3 where rape within a marriage is a crime.

  1. Do Judges Make New Law in Hard Cases?

    In 1952 he was selected as the Professor of Jurisprudence. He resigned that position in 1969 and was succeeded by Ronald Dworkin. A. Hart's Slant on Positivism. Hart critically analysed the works of the 19th century positivist's Bentham and Austen in order to develop his own theory.

  2. 'In every field of law and legal practice, the law itself is gendered. That ...

    A female defendant pleading provocation is therefore required to establish that the abusive treatment received caused her to lose her self-control. It will then be left to the jury to distinguish whether her reaction could also be one of 'the reasonable man'.32 Although in R v Camplin33 the reasonable man

  1. The judicial process: should judges ever make the law?

    Most policies are a mixture of facts and value judgements, if the decision is mainly based on facts, it should be possible to establish the rationality of the policy. But, if the facts are of minor importance when weighed against the element of value judgement in the policy, it would

  2. Constitutional Law

    to the court for judicial review, though it must be noted that in some limited circumstances, as established in the case of Independent Television Commission ex p TVNI (1991), applications for judicial review might in some limited circumstances be refused if not made with sufficient promptness, even if within the stipulated three months.

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