Judicial Precedent

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  • Created by: Lizzie
  • Created on: 04-05-13 13:02

Settled Court Structure- Judicature Acts 1873-75

General Rules

  • every court is bound to follow decisions made by a court higher than it in the heirarchy
  • appealate courts are bound by their ownpast decisions

European Court of Justice, Privy Council, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Lower Courts (County, Crown, Magistrates) 

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European Court of Justice

  • not part of the British Court structure
  • does not hear national cases
  • Article 234 of the Treaty of Rome 1957, and english court may refer to a point of european law for interpretation
  • interpretation is binding on all national courts across the EU
  • not bound by judicial precedent
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The Privy Council

  • not part of the english court structure
  • it's decisions are not binding on domestic courts, but may influence their decisions as some senior UK judges sit in this court
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The Supreme Court

  • The final appeal court in the UK
  • Constitutional Reform Act 2005, opened in October 2009
  • same rules apply as applied to the House of Lords which it replaced s.13 Constitutional Reform Act 2005
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Court of Appeal

  • Bound by Supreme Court, ECJ and own past decisions.
  • split into civil and criminal division but they don't bind each other.
  • Lord Denning unsuccessfully argued that the Court of Appeal shouldn't have to follow decisions of the Supreme court decisions. In Broom v Cassel he refused to follow an earlier House of Lords decision on Rookes v Barnard.
  • Miliangos v George Frank Textiles the court of Appeal refused again to follow a House of Lords decision in Havana Railways which said that damages could be awarded in sterling. It was appealed and the House of Lords said they would have come ti the same conclusion but Denning shouldn't have contradicted it. The law was changed.
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The HIgh Court

  • First intance and appeal
  • different rules for both capapcities
  • Young v Bristol Aeroplane Co shows exceptions to the rule that courts are bound by their own past decisions.
  • In first instance cases the court isn't bound by its own past decions but sets precedents.
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Lower Courts

  • Do not set precedents
  • must follow courts above them
  • County
  • Crown
  • Magistrates
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