Stare Decisis and Judicial Precedent Hinder the Development of Law

Stare decisis as a legal principle to which the judges at bound require the court to respect the standard decisions. The words derives from the Latin phrase which means to stand the accepted decision and do not violate which could not be violated. In the context of law, it implies that the courts must adhere to the precedent and do not consider it from other perspective. With reliance on the fact, it should be admitted, however, the strict commitment to the precedents will not provide the reasonable shifts in the law because of the impossibility to introduce improvements. On the other hand, there will be unprecedented cases which could introduce new schemes for legal modifications. Therefore, precedent laws and stare decisis will not provide significant barriers for the development of English law.

 

It is logical that all legal frameworks follow judicial statements because it is a natural practice, should it be legal or non-legal to assume similar patterns in analogous and similar cases. Additionally, a rational law requires that similar cases to be treated alike. At this point, it is impossible to rely on judicial precedents, which is a peculiar feature of English law and common law systems. Specifically, the uniqueness of the English law consists in the precedents which are able of possessing the quality of a specific source of law and can prevent future judges positioned in the judicial hierarchy if it is not distinguished or overruled. Therefore, continental judicial decisions are not presented in accordance with the status of law as it is, but they could be followed. However, in case a Continental court follows a precedent or, in case an English course carried out such an action, it is applied to the doctrine of the precedent, or stare decisis. In other words, the doctrine of precedent demands that the rule in an appropriate previous decision must be approached, if it does not contradict the categorical imperative and it is agreed with the commands. Thus, the adherence with the doctrine of the precedent is carried on the condition that court approves that it should follow the previous rule and the assumption to which the law limitations it is one which it would not approached but for the rule, or a conclusion. In other words, it is an assumption that the court does not approach, and could not rely on equity, conscience and public welfare.

There are many case studies which could be used for understanding the role of stare decisis and precedent law in appraising the current situation with law both in UK English law. The British House of Lords, being with the last court o appeal was not tied to the decisions with reliance on the case, until the emergence of the case London Street Tramway v. London County Council [1898] AC 375. Specifically, once the Lords have been provided with the ruling in regard to law, the issue was closed until the Parliament introduced a shift to the statute. The case was considered to be the strictest form of the stare decisis doctrine, which was not applied in common law regulations, promoted greater flexibility to the court. The situation, however, changed when the issuance of the 1966 Practice Statement, according to which the House of Lords introduced English law to adhere to the changing social conditions. To prove the idea, the case R v. G & R [2003], a criminal law case associated with recklessness, which held the defendant to subjectively appraise a risk to property, health or another event. The case consideration resulted in the abolition of objective recklessness which was previously established in the case R v. Caldwell [1982], where the new understanding of recklessness was introduced. Specifically, the case focuses on Caldwel, a former hotel worker, who had been fired because of being drunk at work and setting hire at the hotel to damage the property. There were 10 people inside the hotel, but the fire has been extinguished quickly, without any threat to the clients life. The employee was charged in accordance with the Criminal Damage Act 1971. In this context, recklessness was regarded as any negligent act which could or might pose threat to life, health, or property. The case has also become the evidence that the concepts in the legislature are constantly developing, introducing significant improvements and precisions to the English law. In this respect, the attention should be given to similar cases improving and facilitating the judicial decisions. Although sometimes the English law is closely bound to precedent, the possibility of the emergence of unprecedented case is not excluded.

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Regardless the introduction of the Practice Statement, it is rarely applied by the House of Lords, only in the capacity of the last resort. In 2005, the House of Lords has withdrawn its previous decisions for about 20 times because they are reluctant to use for the fear of introducing uncertainly to the legal framework. To enlarge on the issue, the Practice Statement argued that the Lords should be reluctant to surpass the law in criminal law due to the significance of law. In other words, the development of law do not have in common with the uncertainly. Rather, the introduction of stare decisis could provide new opportunities for considering unprecedented cases. The first case engaging the criminal law and overruled the Practice Statement included Anderton v. Ryan [1985], which was later overruled by R v. Shivpuri [1986]. The two cases provide new provisions and precedents which overruled several academic lawyers. The Lord Bridge, as a result, expressed his doubts regarding the 1985 case with the emergence of new circumstance. Although the Practice Statement was an effective abolition of the prevention and provide infallibility and serious errors in the decisions, there are still situation House of Lords were more prone to act according to the emerging precedents.

In fact, it should be stressed that the knowledge of the U. K. legal system is the constraint to each degree in Wales and England. It is evident that the doctrine is effective because it provides judges to ignore the possibility of solving the legal problem for several times, and they could save time and energy for referring to the law. Another advantage postulates that this system provides some sort of predictability to legal decision making, which plays an important role for becoming more certain regarding the decision-making process, being the outcome of litigation. When a specific situation or legal principle has been presented in a previous court case, the lawyer could evaluate the case in the context of previous decisions, guiding the client in accordance with the outcomes, which tend to solve the case in favor of client. Additionally, the commitment to previous precedent fits the requirements of justice that people are expected to be treated in accordance with the similar circumstances. Therefore, the case presented in the High Court could refer to the precedent in the Court of Appeal, will be dealt in similar ways because a similar case is employed in Nottingham. In other words, the doctrine could be presented as consistent and certain. There are approaches and possibilities, however, for precedents to be ignored, contributing to the flexibility and development of UK law. Critics have argued that the system of precedent is not constitutionals because it provides a ground for judges to introduce changes to the law rather to reform the legal system within the powers separation. At the same time, there are certain critics who believe that stare decisis could contribute to the judicial laziness because it can discourage the judges from being accountable for the decisions they take in accordance with the accepted rules. Such an approach could also develop the new scheme for managing the course of events.

 
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The doctrine of judicial precedent is the one which allows for applying the principle of stare decisis, but it has certain exceptions. The first exception involves the fact that the UK courts should follow the decisions of the European Court. The second exception is that it should adhere to the 1998 Human Rights Act, which postulates that the UK courts should considered cases in regard to the rights which are guaranteed by the Act and the European Convention of Human Rights. The influence of the international law, therefore, plays an important role in hindering the enactment of the precedent.

In conclusion, it should be stressed that the use of the stare decision and precedent doctrine will not hinder the development of law for several reasons. To begin with, the stare decisis could not be applied to the cases which do not have precedents. Rather, the judges should introduce changes to the law to provide a new assumption. Second, there are cases when the judges should act in accordance with the International standards, which do not always imply the use of stare decisis. Finally, the use of the precedent doctrine contributes to the precision and certainty of the UK law.

 

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Jan 18, 2021 in Law
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