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Judicial Precedent

  • Judicial Precedent refers to the process whereby judges follow the decisions of previous judges where the facts of the case are sufficiently similar
  • The doctrine of Judicial Precedent involves an application of the principle of stare decisis
  • Precedent is sometimes referred to as common law, judge made law or case law
    all have same meaning

The decision(s) or judgement in two parts

  • Ratio Decidendi

Reason for the decision not the factual outcome
Principle of law on which a decision is based
Binding on judges in later cases of similar facts

  • Obiter Dicta

Other things said may be persuasive in later cases
e.g. judge may go on to speculate what his decision would've been if the facts of the case had been different

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Law Reporting

  • If courts are to follow previous decisions then they needs to refer to some accurate record of those previous decisions- known as law reports
  • Law reports existed since 13th century
  • became variable in quality and reliability in 19th century when the incoperated council of law reporting was established.
  • The ICLR reports are considered more accurate and reliable and remain one of the principle sources of decisioms of the superior and appeliate courts
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