Judicial precedents has many different advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is the certainty. It

Authors Avatar

Law Assignment 2.2

When a judge is deciding the outcome for a case, she must follow any decisions that a past judge in a higher court than itself had made, in a case with similar facts.  The decisions of who binds each court are known as judicial precedence, otherwise known as stare decisis.  Not only are courts bound by ones higher than themselves, but sometimes by their own previous decisions.


The term Ratio decidendi means the reason for the decision.  This is the legal principle on which a principle is based and it must be done.  This means that it is a binding precedent and other judges must follow it.  Obiter dicta are different though.  It just means ‘by the way’, although they are spoken by the judge they were not the basis on which the decision was made.  They are not binding but just persuasive precedent for future judges to consider in future cases.  An example of where they can be used is in the case High Trees.  In this case a company renting out flats let the rent half in price as it was during the war so most of the flats were empty.  When the war was over and the flats were full the rent was declared to be put back up to the original price but it was argued that the cheaper price had been permanently agreed till the end of their lease.  The judge ruled that the price was to go back to the original value as the flats were full.  That was the Ratio decidendi ruling that the price was to stay up.  The judge also added an obiter decta that if they had wanted the price to go back up when the flats were empty then this would have not been allowed.  That would not have had to be followed by future judges but there to assist them with their decision.

Join now!

All of the courts are bound by different courts.  The highest court is the European Court of Justice; this court binds all of the courts below it but does not bind itself.  The House of Lords is the highest appeal court except for the European Court of Justice.  All English courts are bound by it and although it used to bind itself, from 1966 it has only dealt with cases already seen.  The next court is the court of appeal.  This court binds all those below it and also binds itself.  The divisional court of the high court is ...

This is a preview of the whole essay