What role does a judge play in a legal system? Does he/she make law or merely play a role in interpreting law? Discuss.
A judge’s role in a legal system would be more of playing a role in interpreting law as compared to making a law which would not be a main role of the judge itself. As laws will fall under many different parts, the written law and unwritten law will be the basic ones that separate the two.
Written laws will be such as firstly, the constitution which is the basic framework of the country and basically, the supreme law of Singapore. It can be amended, but by members of the parliament. Next will be acts of parliament whereby the legislation process happens which starts as a bill to a law. Point to note that the constructing of laws is not in any field of inclusion for a judge to be in as they are all decided by the people that are chosen by the citizens and is technically trusted to maintain the country when a judge is not.
But in unwritten laws, a role that a judge plays in will be in terms of case laws in which it is not locked into any statute but instead judgements that the courts have delivered. And once a case has been decided, future cases with similar fact scenarios will be bound by the earlier decision if the earlier decision is made by a higher court in the same hierarchy or a decision made from the court’s previous decision which will be the doctrine of stare decisis. Thus, a “judge-made law” on a case by case basis.
My personal opinion that as judges know the law by hard from experience and studies, they will not follow their own private judgement but to follow the law which is already at hand when a “new question” is presented to them. Thus, a judge is to merely solve it from the existing principles at hand. I believe that this is what differ when answering the question on a judge making a law. Does a judge plays a part in the development of the laws? No, they are...
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