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Paper Topic:

describe and analyse the significance and purpose of the practice statement made by the house of lords (judicial committee) in 1966 with supporting case law

p Title

Describe And Analyse The Significance And Purpose Of The Practice Statement Made By The House of Lords (Judicial Committee ) In 1966 With Supporting Case Law

S .M . Shamimul Haque Chowdhury


Before attempt to answer this question , it is necessary to discuss about the doctrine of binding precedent . The judicial precedent or stare decisis lies at the heart of the English Legal System , which means- let the decision stand . It may be defined as a practice whereby a previous decision of a court may be binding on future

courts in a similar case It refers to the fact that the ELS is divided into a hierarchical system of courts and it operates within this hierarchy affecting the different courts in different ways

Judges presiding over a case produce two types of legal utterances These are `obiter dicta ' and `ratio decidendi , the former are legal statements that a judge produces in the course of his judgment , the latter are the reasons for the decisions reached . The principle reasons for the existence for the doctrine are to create continuity , fairness and certainty in decision

The HLs stands at the summit of English court structure . Decisions of the HLs on all courts in the country except the House itself . Until 1966 the HLs was bound by its own decisions . This practice was established in mid nineteenth century and reaffirmed in 1898 in London Tramways Co . Ltd v London County Council (1898 ) HL . The reason was that it was felt that decisions of the highest appeal court should be final in the public interest so that there would be certainty in the law and end to litigation

However , there was increasing judicial criticism of the practice from the 1930s . In particular , it was said that the rule did not produce the desired certainty in the law and it had become too rigid [Lord Wright `Precedent (1944 ) Lord Denning , `From Precedent to Precedent . But the practice was not changed until 1966 . The practice eventually changed in July 1966 when Lord Gardiner , the Lord Chancellor , made Practice Statement [1966] 3 ALL ER 77 on behalf Himself and his fellow Law Lords .Lord Gardiner 's statement was accompanied by a press release which emphasied the importance of and the reasons for the change in practice The change would bring the House into line with the practice of superior courts in many other countries . In the USA , for instance , the US Supreme Court and state Supreme courts are not bound by their own previous decisions . Through the Statement got the authority to depart from its earlier decision when it appears right to do so

The House of Lords first exercised the power to depart from its own previous decision . In Conway v Rimmer [1968] HL , where the previous decision Duncan v Cammell , Laird Co [1942] HL , was unanimously overruled on a question of the discovery of documents

In Herrington v British Railways Board 1972 , the HL overruled Addie Sons v Dumbreck (1929 ) HL . In Addie , an occupier...

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