The Doctrine of Judicial Precedent Is Described as the "Backbone" of the Common Law System.

Topics: Common law, Stare decisis, Law Pages: 2 (655 words) Published: December 24, 2008
The doctrine of judicial precedent is at the heart of the Common Law system of rights and duties. Judicial precedent is concerned with the major of case law in the common law system, it had been described as the legal experience from lawyer’s term. The term of ‘precedent’ there is an implication that what was done before should be done again and which mean a good guide to follow and trying to solve a problem is to see what examples exist where this or similar problems have been tackled before. If a case then had decided point of law it will be logical that kind of explanation will look in the future. Therefore the law does not have essentially differently.

The doctrine of judicial precedent is based on the principle of stare decisis, meaning 'to stand by what has been decided'. Under this doctrine, legal decisions made by judges in higher courts set a precedent for judges in equal or lower courts to follow, whereby lower courts are bound to apply the legal principles set down by superior courts in earlier cases and appellate courts follow their own previous decision. Judicial precedent can applied on cases and to be treated similar when the material facts of the cases are identical.

There are two principles that are involved in judicial precedent. There are ratio decidendi and the obiter dictum. The binding part of a previous decision is the ration decidendi (reason for the decision) and it must be followed by judges in later cases. Anything said an obiter dictum (by the way) in the original case is merely persuasive because it was not strictly relevant to the matter in issue and does not have to be followed. For example: In Donoghue v Stevenson, the claimant suffered food poisoning after drinking from an opaque bottle of ginger beer which contained a dead, decomposing snail. The House of Lords held that a manufacturer owed a duty of care to the consumer that products are safe because the circumstances prevented the consumer from discovering any...
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