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Introduction to Law 1. The doctrine of precedent or stare decisis can be aptly described as the epicentre of the judiciary in the English Legal system. When a judge of a superior court passes a verdict, it forms a binding ‘precedent’ for similar cases in the future for similar and inferior courts, forming a source of law…
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Download file to see previous pages 2. According to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the highest court in England is now the Supreme Court (previously the House of Lords). It ranks the highest in heirarchy, followed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and then the Senior Courts of England and Wales which include the Court of Appeal, High Court and the Crown Court respectively. The doctrine of precedent makes any decision of the Supreme Court binding on itself and all courts inferior it, which include the Privy Council, Court of Appeal, High Court and the Crown Court. Decisions of the Court of Appeal would be binding on the High Court and below, and so on. As such, decisions of the Senior Courts do not form binding precedent on the Supreme Court but may be considered by it. 3. Ratio Decidendi literally means the reason for the decision. When a judgement is delivered, the judge puts together rules of law and principles which were followed that led to that decision. This essentially forms the reason for that judgement, or ratio decidendi. The ratio decidendi of a judgement becomes part of the binding precedent on future cases for similar or inferior courts. ...
4. Reversing, overruling and distinguishing all relate to verdicts in relation to cases cited as authorities within them. A case is reversed when, on appeal to a higher court, the judge allows the appeal thereby reversing the decision of the lower court. In exceptional cases, the higher court may reverse its own judgement on appeal, such as that seen in Re Pinochet (1999) where the House of Lords allowed an appeal due to a conflict of interest that arose with respect to the judicial panel. Overruling occurs when a higher court repeals a principle laid down previously by a lower court or by itself in order to account for new developments in law and societal circumstances. An example is the case of Hedley Byrne v Heller (1964), where the original authority on the liability arising out of negligent misstatements, Candler v Crane (1951), was overrruled. Distinguishing applies to a case in the context of facts or law. A case may be distinguished on the facts on a similar principle or law from an earlier decision (regardless of court heirarchy) in order to reach a different verdict. This is a device used by judges to avoid following controversial decisions. 5. In contract law, an offer is a a statement which expresses the intention of the offeror to abide by the terms made explicit within it as soon as the offeree signifies their acceptance. An offer normally includes the price but mere mention of price does not give rise to an offer (Harvey v Facey (1893)). Once the offer is made which has not been revoked, upon communication of acceptance by the offeree, the parties enter into a binding agreement or contract enforceable at law. An invitation to treat is not an offer but an invitation to the other party to make an offer. It does not ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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