The doctrine of precedent is based on the need for certainty in the law. It means that lawyers can properly advise their clients on the basis that like cases will be treated alike, rather than judges making their own random decisions which nobody could predict. This helps people plan their affairs. According to Lord Denning, 'It is the foundation of our system of case law'. However, Denning was 'against is its too rigid application - a rigidity which insists that a bad precedent must necessarily be followed'. It is the doctrine's rigidity that can prevent developments to meet the changing needs of society. However, this was recognised in the House of Lords 1996 Practice Statement. In addition, judges in the lower courts are adept at avoiding the doctrine's rigidity. A judge may distinguish the awkward precedent on its facts - arguing that the facts of the case under consideration are different in some important way from those of the previous case and therefore the rule does not apply. A precedent may be distinguished on a point of law; by arguing that the legal question answered by the precedent is not the same as that asked in the instant case. Courts may distinguish a precedent by stating that the precedent has been superseded by more recent decisions, and is therefore outdated. Courts may give the precedent a very narrow ratio decidendi or argue that the precedent
"What are the advantages and disadvantages of electing for a Summary trial as opposed to trail by jury?"
"What are the advantages and disadvantages of electing for a Summary trial as opposed to trail by jury?" There are many advantages to electing for a summary trial as opposed to trail by jury. One advantage of electing for a summary trial is that magistrates know more about their local area as they are members of the local community appointed by the Lord Chancellor. This means that their views could be more conclusive and would most likely consider the needs of the community and the major problems it faces. On the other hand, magistrates' courts deal with smaller incidents and magistrates may have a more 'conviction-minded' attitude as they wish to look out for their local community. As the magistrates court represents the local community then if the defendant has been accused of committing a crime in his or her local area then the trial would be held in the local magistrate's court and this could lead to embarrassment for the defendant and the defendant being segregated form the local community. Where as if the trial was held at the crown court it would be further from home and the defendant would be less likely that the defendant would be in the public eye. Magistrates Courts are faster in finishing cases as opposed to Crown Courts, which may take up to several months and this is an advantage electing for a summary trail as it often avoids long periods on bail or in
What is judicial precedent? What are the main principles that are applied in judicial precedent? Are the different court structure being bound by the decision of others higher courts? To what extend binding precedent ensures the existence of both certainty and flexibility in common law? What are the other advantages and disadvantages that contribute to the doctrine of binding precedent? The doctrine of binding precedent or stare decisis, refers to the fact that, the decision of a higher court will be binding on a court lower than its hierachy. Judicial precedent can be applied on cases and to be treated similiarly when the material facts of the cases are identical. There are two main principles that are involved in judicial precedent, there are ratio decidendi and the obiter dictum. Ratio decidendi is a principle of law on which the court reaches its decision. The ratio decidendi of a case may be understood as the statement of the law applied in deciding the legal problem raised by the concrete facts of the case. The ratio of a case is binding on lower courts but may not be cited as persuasive authority in later cases. The second principle is the obiter dictum. It is a statement made by the judge that is not an essential part of the ratio decidendi. It is most referred that something said by the way. Obiter dicta a statements do not form part of the binding precedent, but
History of Witchcraft Early-European Witchcraft The earliest historical records of witchcraft in Europe [such as law codes, poems, heroic tales] reveal that it was divided into two distinct traditions of magical belief. In the far north, from Iceland eastward to the Baltic lands and Russia, magic was the preserve of specialists, the shamans, who drummed, danced, and chanted their way into trances in which their spirits left their bodies to accomplish the necessary work. Every tribe or clan needed to have one, and misfortune was blamed on hostile shamans. Most were male, but a female shaman was acceptable if no man with the necessary gift was available. Across the rest of Europe, among the Greeks, Romans, Germans, and Celts alike, a different system prevailed. Men were regarded as able to learn magic, and to read omens, explain unusual events, and work sorcery. Women, by contrast, were treated as repositories of powerful and primeval natural magic. They were brought in to give advice, as seers or prophets, whenever normal social structures broke down. They also featured prominently as natural healers; conversely, they were especially feared for their ability to use that innate power for evil purposes. Hence to most ancient Europeans witches were usually female. Hence, also, the pagan peoples of Europe regularly executed people for the alleged crime of witchcraft. This
Stages of a Bill to become an Act of Parliament Green Paper This is a consulation document for Law reform. Whenever the government wishes to introduce a bill, it publishes a Green Paper. Then the Labour Government introduced it in 1967. The interested parties send comments to the relevant government department, so necessary changes can be made to the government's proposals. White Paper Following Green Paper, the government will publish a White Paper which is a draft Act of Parliament, with its firm proposals for new law. First Reading This is a formal procedure when the name and main aims of the Bill are read out. The in the House of Commons MPs can vote for this is two different ways - Verbally by shouting 'Aye' or 'No' or formally by each member of the House walking through a special chamber. Second Reading This is the most significant process on the entire Bill in which MPs discuss the main principles behind the Bill. The speaker of the House control the debate to ensure all MPs who wish to speak can do so. At the end of the debate the MP will vote the same way as for the First Reading. They walk through the 'division lobby' where commons officials called 'tellers' will physically count them. Committee Stage At this stage a standing committee which will range from sixteen to fifty MPs, the members will usually be those with the special interest in or
The aim of this study is to outline the difficulties confronting the court when fitness to plead and insanity defence are contested.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The aim of this study is to outline the difficulties confronting the court when fitness to plead and insanity defence are contested. The relationship between fitness to plead, insanity and crime has been of interest to man from time. This is particularly so when crimes like homicide (murder) have been committed. Prior to the trial (Pre-trial phase), fitness to plead is usually contested. It is not unusual for a person appearing before the court to be unfit to plead. The jury, by resorting to the trial of facts, determines whether the accused committed the act or not. With regards to the Soham Killings, Huntley's "fitness to plead" was questioned. As a result of this he had to be remanded under section 35 of the Mental Health Act 1983, for a medical report at Rampton Special Hospital. The issue here is to ascertain that the individual has got sufficient intellect to be able to plead to the indictment and also understand the proceedings sufficiently to challenge jurors, take in the evidence, and make a proper defence. The test for this purpose is that set out in R V Pritchard. The fact that a criminal is insane, can affect the normal processes of the law at the trial phase. The legal position would be to divert as many mentally disordered offenders as possible from prosecution or penal disposal towards the health and social services.