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The English Legal System

The English Legal System (8th edn)

Alisdair Gillespie and Siobhan Weare
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date: 22 June 2024

p. 673. Domestic Sources of Law: Case Lawlocked

p. 673. Domestic Sources of Law: Case Lawlocked

  • Alisdair A. GillespieAlisdair A. GillespieProfessor of Criminal Law and Justice at Lancaster University
  •  and Siobhan WeareSiobhan WeareSenior Lecturer in Law at Lancaster University


This chapter continues the discussion of sources of domestic law, focusing on material produced by the courts through cases. It covers the reporting of cases, the hierarchy of courts, legal principles, and the operation of precedent. The courts operate a system of precedent known as stare decisis (‘let the decision stand’). The type of precedent set depends on the court sitting, with the most complicated rules occurring in the Court of Appeal. As a general rule of thumb, the court setting the precedent will bind every court below it but the real question is under what circumstances that court is bound by itself.

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