Judicial Precedent

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Use of the Practice Statement

Key Facts:

1898: House of Lords decided in the case of London Street Tramways that it was bound to follow its own previous decisions. 

1966: Issue of the Practice Statement. House of Lords would depart from previous decisions when 'it is right to do so' 

1968: First use of the Practice Statement in Conway v Rimmer. Only involves technical law on discovery of documents. 

1972: First major use of Practice Statement in Herrington v BRB on the duty of care owed to child trespassers. 

1980s & 1990s: House of Lords showed an increasing willingness to use Practice Statement to overrule previous decisions, e.g. R v Shivpuri (criminal attempts); Pepper v Hart (use of Hansard in statutory interpretation). 

2003: Practice Statement used to overrule the decision in Caldwell on recklessness in criminal law.

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