Consider How the Doctrine of Binding Precedent Operates in the English Courts.

1091 WordsMar 23, 20115 Pages
The doctrine of binding precedent, or stare decisis is the heart of the English Legal System. It refers to the fact that within the hierarchical structure of the English courts, a decision of a higher court will be binding on a lower court. The House of Lords or the Supreme Court stands at the peak of the English court structure and its decisions are binding on all lower courts. And it should always have to bear in mind, that, as the UK is a member of the EC, and as the ECJ is the highest court, it is not bound by any higher court, the decisions of the ECJ is binding on the House of Lords and all the lower courts. The ECJ is not bound to follow its own previous decision. Also as a consequence of the HRA 1998 the decision of the ECtHR are…show more content…
If a judge decides, for some reason that the facts in the case before him are so different from those of a previous similar case, he is at liberty to ignore the precedent and treat the case differently. He can decide the case as he thinks fit. Scope for further uncertainty is introduced by the necessary distinction between ratio decidendi and obiter dicta .Only the important part of judgment that are binding on future courts are the ratio decidendi. Anything else, i.e. the statements of principles of law that are not relevant to the decision are obiter dicta. Difficulty arises from the fact that judges do not label their judgments in this way. They do not actually separate and highlight the ratio of the case and their judgments may be of great length, or there may be many judges delivering individual judgments on the same case. So it is very difficult to determine the particular ratio of any case. The problem of binding precedent is that it is open to later judges to avoid precedents by declaring them to be no more than obiter statements. There are numerous advantages and disadvantages of the doctrine of stare decisis. Amongst these are the following: Advantages: (a) It is a time-saving device, as for most situations there is an existing solution. (b) It creates certainty in the law and allows lawyers to advice clients on the probable outcome of a case. (c) It provides an

More about Consider How the Doctrine of Binding Precedent Operates in the English Courts.

Open Document