Why Is Legal Precedent the Most Important Element in Common Law

At the time, the royal government focused on the Curia Regis (royal court), the body of aristocrats and prelates who helped administer the empire, and the ancestors of Parliament, the Star House and the Privy Council. Henry II developed the practice of sending judges (about 20 to 30 in the 1180s) from his Curia Regis to hear various disputes throughout the country, and then return to court. [86] The king`s wandering judges usually received a writing or order under the Great Seal. [86] They would then resolve disputes on an ad hoc basis, depending on how they interpreted the practice. The king`s judges then returned to London and often discussed their cases and the decisions they made with the other judges. These decisions are recorded and filed. Over time, a rule known as stare decisis (also known as precedent) developed, according to which a judge was obliged to follow the decision of a previous judge; He was obliged to adopt the interpretation of the law by the former judge and to apply the same principles promulgated by that former judge when both cases involved similar facts. When judges began to view each other`s decisions as a binding precedent, the pre-Norman system of local customs and laws, which varied from place to place, was replaced by a common system (at least in theory, but not always in practice) throughout the country, hence the name “common law”. Precedents that must be applied or followed are called binding precedents (alternatively metaphorically precedent, binding or binding authority, etc.). According to the doctrine of stare decisis, a lower court must take into account the legal findings of a higher court that is appealing cases heard by the court. In the United States of America, the state and federal courts of the United States of America are often geographically distributed among local trial courts, some of which fall within the territory of a regional court of appeals. All courts of appeal are subordinated to a supreme court (sometimes, but not always, called a “supreme court”).

By definition, decisions of lower courts are not binding on the higher courts of the system, any more than decisions of courts of appeal are binding on district courts subject to another court of appeal. In addition, courts must follow their own legal statements previously issued in other cases and respect the decisions of other courts in disputes between parties before them that relate to the same pattern of facts or events, unless they have a valid reason to modify those decisions (see the law of the case: the previous decision of a court constitutes a binding precedent for that court). In other civil jurisdictions, such as the German-speaking world, the ratio decidendi tends to be much more developed than in France, and courts often cite earlier cases and textbooks. However, some courts (such as the German courts) place less emphasis on the particular facts of the case than the common law courts, placing more emphasis on examining various doctrinal arguments and seeking the correct interpretation of the law. One of the most prominent critics of setting precedents on a case-by-case basis as being both overly reactive and unfairly retroactive was the philosopher Jeremy Bentham. He attacked the common law as a “dog`s right”: In the United States, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the concept of an American court that takes into account foreign law or precedent was considered controversial by some parties. The Supreme Court is divided on this issue. This criticism is new, because the quotation of English authority was omnipresent in the early history of the United States. One of the first acts of many new state legislators was to incorporate English common law into state law. See here.

Citing English cases was common in the 19th century and until the 20th century. Even in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In the nineteenth century, it was relatively uncontroversial for American state courts to rely on English decisions when it came to pure (i.e. judicial) law. Lawyer: The lawyer advises the client on how to order the client`s affairs, how or whether to proceed with a proposed course of action, or how to proceed with respect to ongoing or potential litigation or settlements. Often this is when the lawyer prepares (or asks someone) an inter-office law brief that reviews the client`s legal situation and helps the lawyer advise the client. Stare decisis is the court`s policy of respecting precedents; The term is only an abbreviation for stare decisis and non quieta movere – “to remain passive and stick to decisions and not disturb what is regulated”. Consider the word “decisis.” The word literally and legally means the decision. According to the doctrine of stare decisis, a case is important only for what it decides – for the “what”, not for the “why” and not for the “how”.

As far as precedents are concerned, stare decisis is relevant only for the decision, for the detailed legal consequence after a detailed presentation of the facts. [26] The reality from the modern point of view can be seen in practice: according to the old view of “the old unwritten universal custom”, (a) the courts could not logically diverge from each other (but did so anyway), (b) a new decision that logically had to operate retroactively (but did not), and (c) there was no standard for deciding which English medieval customs should be “law” and which should not. not to be. The three tensions are resolved according to the modern view: (a) the common law may differ from country to country, (b) new decisions may (but need not apply) retroactively,[48] and (c) court decisions take effect immediately when they are made, not years later or after they have become “habitual”, and questions about what was “custom” in an “old” era, are simply irrelevant. [8] A precedent, known as stare decisis, is a history of judicial decisions that form the basis for evaluating future cases. Common law, also known as case law, relies on detailed records of similar situations and statutes, as there is no formal legal code that can be applied to an ongoing case. The procedure in the inquisitorial system is essentially written. Most witnesses testified at the investigative stage, and this evidence is included in the record in the form of police reports. Similarly, the accused has already taken his case to the investigation stage, but he is free to change his testimony at trial. Whether the defendant pleads guilty or not, a trial will take place.

Unlike the adversarial system, the conviction and sentence to be served (if any) are pronounced by the jury and the Presiding Judge after joint deliberation. The doctrine of precedents developed in the 12th and 13th centuries,[84] as collective judicial decisions based on tradition, custom and precedent. [85] Judges are bound by binding precedent law in England and Wales and other common law systems.