The Role of Ratio Decidendi in Judicial Precedent.

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Rajveer Khera - Law

The Role of Ratio Decidendi in Judicial Precedent

Ratio decidendi plays a very important role in judicial precedent as it is the legal principle underlying the decision in a particular case. Therefore, it creates the precedent for future cases and is considered the most important part of a judge’s speech.

Judicial precedent, which is case law, has been and still is a major source of law in the English system. The decisions from previous cases create law for future judges to follow. The English law system is based on the Latin principle of stare decisis, which means ‘stand by what has been decided and do not unsettle the established,’ i.e. follow the common law, don’t try to change it. There are different types of precedent; original, binding and persuasive.

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Original precedent is a point of law where a new case that hasn’t been decided on in the past. In these cases the judge would look at cases that appear closest, the judge would use the case to reason by analogy. A case where the judge had to reason by analogy was in 1995, the case was Hunter and others V Canary Wharf Ltd. The case was about a 250m high tower that Hunter said caused interference with television reception. A decision needed to be made as to whether the tower did cause problems, but because this was an unusual ...

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