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Law Revision Notes ­ G152 Judicial Precedent
Definition ­ Where past decisions of judges are followed in future cases where
the facts of the case are similar. Also known as Case law or common law.

Based on 3 things:

1) The Judge's Judgment 3 parts
Res judicata the outcome of…

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PERSUASIVE PRECEDENT ­ not binding in court but a Judge may choose to follow
it. See Homework for essay question

The following may form a persuasive precedent:
o Obiter dicta of a higher court
Eg. OD of DvS followed in Home Office v Dorset Yacht Company (1970) where
the neighbour…

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2) The Hierarchy of the Courts

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Every court is bound to follow any decision made by a court above it in the
hierarchy
Appellant Courts are bound by their own past decisions
The Supreme Court
o Previously was bound by its own past decisions, but this made the law inflexible and it
couldn't adapt fast enough…

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3) A good system of law reporting
In order to follow past decisions there must be an accurate record of what the decisions were.
From 1275 ­ 1535 these were recorded in Year Books which contained short reports of cases
written in French
From 1535 ­ 1865 cases were reported…

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Precedent
Advantages

Certainty
o As the court follows past decisions people know what the law is and how it will be
applied to their case; lawyers can advise clients better and people can operate their
businesses knowing what the law it. This was pointed out in…

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