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Chapter

Cover Learning Legal Rules

5. The Doctrine of Judicial Precedent  

This chapter examines the use of case law to solve legal problems. In the study and practice of law we seek to analyse legal principles; and the ‘principles’ in English law are derived from pure case law or from case law dealing with statutes. The discussions cover the idea of binding precedent (stare decisis); establishing the principle in a case; the mechanics of stare decisis; whether there are any other exceptions to the application of stare decisis to the Court of Appeal that have emerged since 1944; whether every case has to be heard by the Court of Appeal before it can proceed to the Supreme Court; precedent in the higher courts; other courts; and the impact of human rights legislation.