Discuss Advantages and Disadvantages of Doctorine Precedent

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Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the doctrine of precedent. Judicial precedent concerns itself with the influence and value of past decisions of case law and prior legal experience. The doctrine of precedent means that judges refer back to previous decisions to help them decide similar cases where the law and facts are alike.
A fundamental principle upon which the doctrine of judicial precedent rests, is that a hierarchy of courts is needed if it is to operate. The concept of stare decisis, meaning to stand by what has been decided, forms the basis of the doctrine of judicial precedent. The notion is that like cases should be treated alike for the sake of certainty and consistency which, it is argued, leads to fairness. The effect of this is that, ordinarily, the legal reasoning on a point of law made in an earlier case must be followed. If all courts, regardless of their status or seniority, were able to set precedent, the doctrine of judicial precedent would be a nonsense as it would be practically impossible to determine which precedent took precedence! The doctrine of judicial precedent has overcome this by the requirement that all courts are strictly bound to follow decisions made by the courts above them in the hierarchy. In addition appellate courts are normally bound by their own past decisions. However, there are advantages and disadvantages. Any discussion of the advantages is likely to include the point that the doctrine provides certainty in the law. This means the legal profession can give more helpful advice regarding the law to their clients, including advice as to the merits of the case and, just as importantly, advice regarding the outcome. This is essential because issues of costs are likely to be involved and any question of whether to continue with a court action may have to be balanced with the chances of success and…...

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