Significance of Judicial Precedence
Uploaded by william jones on Dec 07, 2002
Describe the Operation of the System of Judicial Precedent and assess its Present significance in the Law of England.
There are many different sources of Law in England, which include statutes, case law, deligated legislation, custom and European Law. Each one of these sources has varying importance and this essay will be examining one of the major contributors to English Law, Judicial Precedent (or Case Law). Judicial Precedent can be seen as a process where by a judge must follow any decision that has been made by a higher court in a case with similar facts. “Precedent is the life blood of legal systems” and therefore this essay will follow how judicial precedent works within the various courts of England, and will be assessing whether it has a negative or positive impact on the Laws of England.
Since 1865 Law reports have been published under the control of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting . These Law reports, as they are known, have priority in court as the judge who heard the case sees and revises the report before it is published. There are also other private reports such as the All England Reports which are also revised by the judges concerned with the case . These Law Reports make up the Case Law within the English Legal System. From these cases it is important to know what to take as precedent and what we can ignore in order to find the ratio decidendi. The ratio decidendi of a case is defined as principle of law used by the judge to arrive at his decision along with his reasons for doing so . A judge may also include statements that are obiter dicta which are statements that are said in passing. When a judge is deciding a case he does not usually distinguish between statements that are ratio decidendi and those which are obiter dicta, and therefore it up to subsequent judges to approve what the ratio decidendi of a case is. These decisions then form precedents which must be followed by other judges even if they disagree with them. Obiter dicta do not form precedents
Within the system of Judicial Precedent there lies a hierarchy of courts meaning that lower courts are bound by decisions made by higher courts. The House of Lords is the highest appeal court (excluding cases concerning European Law) and all courts are bound by its decision....