Judicial Precedent Cases

Some cases that can be used to illustrate the doctrine of judicial precedent and methods of avoiding it

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R v Howe

R v Howe

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R v Howe

The Ratio Decidendi of this case was that duress cannot be used as a defence for murder. The Obiter Dicta was that duress cannot be used as a defence for attempted murder.

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Donoghue v Stevenson

Donoghue v Stevenson

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Donoghue v Stevenson

The ratio decideni of this case was that the manufacturer of a product owes a duty of care to the direct consumers of the product.

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Merritt v Merritt

Merritt v Merritt

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Merritt v Merritt

The precedent set in Balfour v Balfour stated that an agreement between a married couple is not legally binding. The Judge avoided this precedent by distinguishing the facts of the two cases to be different as Mr and Mrs Merritt were married but seperated when they made the agreement, whereas Mr and Mrs Balfour were not seperated. 

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Hedley Byrne v Heller and Partners

Hedley Byrne v Heller and Partners

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Hedley Byrne v Heller and Partners

The precedent set in Candler v Crane Christmas held that "there cannot be liability for making a negligent mis-statement". The Supreme Court overruled this case using a dissenting judgment from Lord Denning to create liability for writing a negligent mis-statement. 

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Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association

Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association

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Fitzpatrick v Sterling Housing Association

The Court of Appeal did not allow a homosexual partner of a deceased man rights to tenancy of his flat. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the case on appeal and granted him tenancy. 

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British Railways Board v Herrington

British Railways Board v Herrington

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British Railways Board v Herrington

Precedent in Addie v Dumbreck held that an "occupier of land did not owe a duty of care to child trespassers". The Supreme Court used the Practice Statement 1966 to depart from their previous decision and impose a duty of care.

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Young v Bristol Aeroplane Co.

Young v Bristol Aeroplane Co.

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Young v Bristol Aeroplane Co.

Allows the Court of Appeal to depart from a previous decision in one of three circumstances.

1. Where the previous decision conflicts with a later       Supreme Court decision, they must follow the           Supreme Court decision

2. If there are two conflicting cases, the court can         select which one to follow

3. If the previous decision was made per incuriam, in     error

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R v Parmenter

R v Parmenter

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R v Parmenter

The Court of Appeal departed from a previous decision by using the second exception set out in Young v Bristol Aeroplane Co. The judge chose to depart from the decision in R v Savage and follow the decision from R v Spratt.

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