legal system

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historical background

  • pre-1066 there was different laws for different parts of the country there was no central government.
  • 1066. William the conquer took up the throne he centralized the government and standardized the law 
  • he sent out the kings representatives to different county's to check local administration 
  • when they returned to westminster  they discussed different customs and it seemed rational to form a consistent body of rules.
  • the principle of stare decisis grew, whenever a decision came to be decided , the decision formed a rule to be followed in all similar cases. this made the law predictable and by  1250  the result was it had produced a common law that was followed by the whole country.
  • common law has been used to create case law.
  • the basic principle of stare decisis  a hierarchy of precedent grew in line with the hierarchy of  modern court system. a judge must follow decisions made in courts which are higher up the hierarchy than his or her own.

law reporting

  • the operation of precedent is reliant upon the existence of an extensive reporting service to provide access to previous judicial decision
  • law reporting dates back to 1865 when the council for law reporting was established

ratio decidendi

  • reason for deciding
  • 1) establishing the facts
  • 2) applying the facts to the law
  • following the principle of stare decisis is more fairer  than allowing each judge to interpret the law differently and also predictability which makes easier


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