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Cover English Legal System Concentrate

4. Sources of Law II: Case Law  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. This chapter focuses on case law, a major source of law providing for the interpretation of statutes and the application of law to particular circumstances. Case law, also known as the common law, is a set of judge-made rules that have either a binding or persuasive effect on future cases. Judge-made means that a member of the judiciary has decided a case in a certain way, which has led to the development of that particular piece of law. Certain courts are obliged to follow previous judgments, whereas other can ignore them due to their seniority. Indeed, the doctrine of precedent denotes a system of case law—binding or not—that a lower court may or may not have to follow. Whether precedent is binding is dependent on whether there is a statement of law, as opposed to fact, certain reasoning for that decision (known as ratio decidendi), and the decision of a superior court.