Advantages And Disadvantages Of Judicial Precedent

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“The doctrine of judicial precedent is an unnecessary appendage of the common law tradition as the latter can meaningfully exist without the former.” Assess the correctness or otherwise of this statement in the light of your understanding of the Ghana legal system. Imagine what the consequence would be for the lives of many if there were less certainty in the law. If there were no certainty the courts could simply overrule any decision they chose to and people would not know where they stand in the law at any given time. This essay will examine the doctrine of judicial precedent and its relation with the common law tradition. In addition it will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of judicial precedent, and answer questions like:…show more content…
It is an important part of the common law as received in Ghana. This means that courts in Ghana follow earlier decisions where facts of the present case are similar to one already decided . This brings in a lot of questions, do judges make laws and to what extent is the court of appeal bound to follow its own previous decisions. The practice of judicial precedent is expressed in the maxim, stare decisis et non quieta movere this means that the court is to stand by its previous decisions. Judges make laws known as case laws which are gotten from decided cases, and the court of appeal is always bound by its previous decisions except if that particular case can be distinguished from previous similar cases. Judicial Precedent has always been in common law system and has been a stronghold, common law would likely not survive without judicial precedents because common law itself was formed by events that have happened in the past and these tradition or way of life of the people have formed what we know today as common law. So if common law is to exist earlier cases that were made principles and have now become law must still live so as to uphold the tradition and Ghana as a country is no…show more content…
As courts hear more and more decisions on similar legal points, the law within the area becomes fine-tuned and sharper because of all the different facts that have been considered over the years. This refines the law and makes it sophisticated. The power granted by the practice statement and the ability judges have to distinguish grants the court a degree of flexibility in how they approach cases. The use of precedent can save a lot of time because cases on similar facts are likely to be judged by the same precedent rather than be examined in great depth to determine the outcome. the views of lord denning’s relation to court of appeal in Davis v Johnson 1979 “on principle it seems to me that while the courts should regard itself as normally bound by previous decision of the court. Nevertheless it should be at liberty to depart from it if it is convinced that pervious decision was wrong” . Previous decisions can still be over rule if the previous decision is deemed wrong. Besides the advantages of judicial precedent it also has some disadvantages. The use of precedent brings about rigidity. The doctrine of precedent in English law can be criticized as being too rigid. Lower courts having to follow the higher courts means that unless a party has a lot of time, money and willingness to take a potentially great risk their case will more than likely never be heard by the Supreme Court. Often judges are reluctant to change the law even

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