Although the Doctrine of Precedent Allows Some Flexibility, It Fundamentally Requires Judges to Respect the Hierarchy of the Courts Essay

2273 WordsApr 16, 201410 Pages
Question 2 Although the doctrine of precedent allows some flexibility, it fundamentally requires judges to respect the hierarchy of the courts . Discuss The doctrine of binding precedent or stare decisis, lies at the heart of the English legal system. In essence the doctrine refers to facts that within the hierarchical structure of the English Court, a decision of the highest court will be binding on a court lower. When a court makes a decision in a case, any court which is of equal or lower status to that court must follow that previous decision if the case before them is similar to that earlier case. Moreover, the doctrine requires that like cases should be treated alike in the interests of consistency and certainty of the law as well as a fairly rigid hierarchy of courts. This institutional structure provides a patterned form of justice, and makes judicial law making reasonably predictable. However the structure of precedent must also allow the system itself to change in those limited occasions when change is necessary. Since September 2009, the Supreme Court has repealed the House of Lords so the Supreme Court now stands at the summit of the English court structure and its decisions are binding on all courts below it in the hierarchy. It always has to be borne in mind, as regards European Union (EU) law, that the CJEU is superior to the Supreme Court, and its decisions are binding on all UK courts. Also, as a consequence of the Human Rights At 1998, the decisions of the ECHR are now part of the jurisprudence of the UK courts. The Supreme Court (formerly known as House of Lords) exercises the largest degree of flexibility than any other curt within the English legal system; in that all other courts are bound by its decisions and it has the right to depart from it own previous decisions. The position was formerly that the House of Lords was itself bound

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