The English judicial system depends on the idea that the law already exists either in Acts of Parliament or in the principles of common law. As such, the role of the courts is to listen to cases and discover the parts of the existing law that are relevant to any given case. Stare decisis is one of the principles that judges use in doing this. The principle is also known as judicial precedent. It has to do with judges relying on the past court decisions to rule on a current similar matter. Advanced Law Tutors can help you to get a clearer understanding of what judicial precedent entails.
Judicial precedent can be binding or none binding. Binding precedent occurs when a court decision binds the court or other courts in determining other similar cases in the future. Generally, the precedents of superior courts are binding on the inferior courts. In some instances, the decisions of a court can be binding on the court itself. For example, the Supreme Court could not be allowed to rule against some of its precedents until the 1966 Practice Statement by Lord Garner allowed the court to do so when it is reasonable.
Non-binding precedents are those that a judge listening to a given case can ignore or overrule. Generally, the decisions of lower courts are not binding on the higher courts. For instance, the House of Lords, which is the highest court in the land, is not bound by the decisions of any other court in the UK. In fact, it is not bound by its earlier precedents. Therefore, the House of Lords can overrule the decision of other lower courts and even go against its previous rulings.
The Bottom Line
Judicial precedent is an integral component of the English legal system. It helps to make court decisions more consistent, fair, and predictable. If you would like to learn more about the principle of judicial precedent, Advance Law Tutors in London can assist you.