Judicial Precedent

Notes on cases and sections of Judicial Precedent :D

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  • Created on: 13-05-12 17:18
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Judicial Precedent
Important Cases:
Donoghue V Stevenson (1932)
Daniels V White (1938)
Key Terms:
Obiter dicta ­ the notes from the judge which are not necessary to
reaching a decision, but are made as comments, illustrations or thoughts.
Ratio decidendi - is a Latin phrase meaning the reason or the rationale
for the decision (rational decision). The ratio decidendi is the point in a
case which determines the judgment or the principle which the case
Doctrine of Precedent
Original Precedent
If the point of law has never been decided before, whatever the
Judge decides to do will become the new precedent. When making
this decision he will refer to the most similar case.
Binding Precedent
Precedent from an earlier case which has to be followed even if
they Judge doesn't agree.
Persuasive Precedent
It is not binding but the Judge may consider it and decide to use it,
he is persuaded to look at it.

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Different types:
1. Decisions made by court lower down in hierarchy ­
House of Lords agreed with the same decision made by
the Court of Appeal RvR 1991
2. Decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
­ decisions not binding but respected so judges often
follow them
3. Statements of obiter dicta - law in on duress and cannot
be used in murder cases
4.…read more

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Certainty V Flexibility
For certainty:
Law Lords Prefer certainty by following Judicial Precedent
Keeps law fair (personal views don't matter)
Predictable which means it's easy for lawyers to advise clients on
suspected outcome
For flexibility:
Need to be able to change law to keep up to date with society
Avoiding Precedent
Distinguishing ­ Finding the difference. Ratio decidendi of a case
binds the future cases with similar facts.…read more

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Court and have come to a different agreement. They can reverse
the decision as the Court of Appeal is a higher court.…read more


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