Judicial Precedent- Case Studies
House of Lords à Binds all other domestic Courts. Since 1966, not bound themselves (Text of 1966 Practice Statement) and enables them to develop the Law. It generally does not follow own previous decisions. There are, however, some exceptions;
British Railways Board v Herrington 1972 à A child was injured after going on to an electric railway line via a gap in a broken fence. The railway was near to some open ground and a play area, and the station master knew the fence was broken. A previous case, Addie v Dumbreck 1929, had involved a similar situation, but on this occasion, a child was killed whilst trespassing in a privately owned colliery. The decision was that there was no liability towards the child, and this probably reflected the view of society in 1929. The Court said that British Rail were aware of the environment in which the railway line was sited, knew of the damaged fence and knew of power of their “Lethal Weapon” – the railway track.
Judicial Precedent-Case studies
Court of Appeal à 2 Divisions both bound by House of Lords.
Civil – Only court which generally binds itself.
Young v Bristol Aeroplane 1944 à In this case, the COA declared that it would be bound by its own decisions, it also laid down the grounds on which it would not be bound by them;
ü Where two previous decisions of the COA conflicted the COA could choose which decision to follow. The other would then be overruled.
ü Where there was a later decision of the HOL which conflicted with a COA decision, the COA would follow the HOL decision.
ü Where a COA decision had been made per incuriam, that is, without taking into account a relevant case or Statute, then, the decision made in error can be overruled.
Criminal – Not bound itself since R v Gould 1968 and Liberty of individual too important.