The Doctrine of Judicial Precedent

Topics: Common law, Stare decisis, Precedent Pages: 36 (5151 words) Published: October 16, 2014
1

Table of Contents

Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 2

The Hierarchy of Courts in Mauritius .................................................................................... 3

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) ........................................................ 3

The Supreme Court ........................................................................................................... 4

The District Court ............................................................................................................. 5

The Intermediate Court...................................................................................................... 5

Ratio Decidendi & Obiter Dictum ......................................................................................... 6

Types of Precedent ................................................................................................................ 7

(1) Decisions of courts lower in the hierarchy........................................................................ 9

(2) Decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ................................................ 9

(3) Dissenting judgments ....................................................................................................... 9

Avoiding Precedent ............................................................................................................... 9

Reversing .......................................................................................................................... 9

Distinguishing ................................................................................................................. 10

Overruling ....................................................................................................................... 11

Advantages & Disadvantages of the Doctrine of Judicial Precedent .................................... 13

Application of the different aspects of the assignment ......................................................... 15

Acknowledgement .............................................................................................................. 18

Division of Task .................................................................................................................. 18

References: ......................................................................................................................... 19

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Introduction

It is in the very nature of humanity that every act that has once made its appearance and has

been recorded in the history of mankind stays with us as a potentiality long after its actuality

has become a thing of the past. The aforementioned statement sums up the concept of judicial

precedence. Indeed, a judicial precedent is a ruling made by a court of law which, by virtue of

the legal principle applied to the judgment, will serve as a reference point for deciding on

future cases with similar sets of facts. This legal doctrine is present in common law legal

systems such as those of the Commonwealth of Nations.

A judge must follow any decision made by a higher court in a case with similar material facts

Some courts (the higher ones) also follow their own previous decisions. Thus they are said to

bind themselves. In order to decide if a judgment is binding, the material facts of the case

need to be looked at. Material facts are the ones which will affect the decision or outcome.

Judicial precedence is based on the precept of stare decisis which is the Latin expression for

"standing by things decided".Stare decisisis a binding principle in the sense that courts of law

are obliged to abide by the precedent established by former rulings.

The essence of this...

References: MacCormick, N. (1987) 'Why Cases haves Rationes and what these are ', in L. Goldstein (ed)
Precedent in Law, Oxford: Clarendon Press
Steiner, J (1990) Textbook on EEC law, 2nd ed., London: Blackstone Press.
Websites
Goodhart, A. (1931) Essays in Jurisprudence and the Common Law Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press
Schmidhauser, John R. 1962. Stare Decisis, Dissent, and the Background of the Justices of
the Supreme Court Law Review 14:194-212
Landes, William M., and Richard A. Posner. 1976. Legal Precedent: A Theoretical and
Empirical Analysis
Gennaioli, Nicola, and Andrei Shleifer. 2007. The Evolution of Common Law. Journal of
Political Economy 115:43-68
Fowler, James H., and Sangick Jeon. 2008. The Authority of Supreme Court Precedent.
Social Networks 30:16-30
Epstein, Lee, and Tonja Jacobi. 2010. The Strategic Analysis of Judicial Deci- sions. Annual
Review of Law and Social Science 6:341-58
Harris, B.V. (2002), 'Final Appellate Courts Overruling their Own "Wrong"Precedents: the
Ongoing Search for a Principle ',118 Law Quarterly Review 408.
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