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By | May 2011
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6. ‘Judicial precedent is best understood as a practice of the courts and not as a set of binding rules. As a practice it could be refined or changed by the courts as they wish.’ Discuss.
Judicial precedent refers to the source of law where past decision of the judges create law for future judges to follow.This source of law is also known as case-law.Historically,it was believed that the Norman conquest had created a major impact in our legal system.It was believed that before the Norman conquest,different areas of England were governed by different system of law,often adapted from those of the various invaders who had settled there;roughly speaking ,Dane law applied in the north,Mercian law around the midlands,and Wessex law in the south and west.Each was based largely on local custom and,even within the larger areas,these customs,and hence the law ,varied from place to place.The king had little control over the country as a whole,and there was no effective central government. When William the Conqueror gained the English throne in 1066,he established a strong central government and began,among other things,to standardise the law.The king’s Representatives were sent out to the countryside to check local administration,and were given the job of adjudicating in local disputes,according to the local law. When these ‘itinerant justices’ returned to Westminster,they were able to discuss the various customs of different parts of the country and,by a process of sifting ,the rejected ones and accept those that seemed rational ,to form a consistent body of rules.During these process,the principle of stare decisis (‘let the decision stand’) grew up.Whenever a new problem of law came to be decided ,the decision formed a rule to be followed in all similar cases,making the law more predictable.The result of all this was that about 1250,a ‘common law’ had been produced ,and that ruled the whole country ,would be applied consistently and could be used to predict what the...

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