Types of Precedent

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  • Types of Precedent
    • Binding precedent
      • It is a precedent which must be followed by all courts below the court which the precedent is set in.
      • Judges must give their reasons for reaching their decision in the law report. The legal decision of the court is known as ratio decidendi
        • 'ratio decidendi' means reason for the decision.
        • E.g - In Donoghue V Stevenson, the ratio of the case was that manufactures owe a duty of care to the ultimate consumers of their products.
    • Persuasive Precedent
      • Where no binding precedent exists, judges will look for persuasion which will help them reach the correct decision.
      • They are not binding so the Judges do not have to follow them but they can choose to do so. Judges seek guidance from a range of sources;
        • 1.' Obiter dicta' (things said by the way)- a Judge may discuss other matters. They may speculate on how the law might have applied if the facts were different.
          • E.g - Rv Grotts 1992
        • 2. Other legal systems - Judges in appeal courts may examine other legal systems to help them make a decision.
        • 3. Legal Academics- In all areas of the law there are recognised experts who study law & comment on its development. Judges maybe persuaded by them in reaching decisions.
        • 4. Decision of an inferior court - the case must pass through the inferior courts and then be appealed. What us said by the judge can be persuasive to the appeal courts.


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