Judicial precedent is the process whereby judges refer to previously decided cases with similar facts and apply those principles used in such cases. Where no statute applies to a particular legal case, the doctrine of judicial precedent comes in. These principles derived from the common law or case law. The English common law originated in the early Middle Ages in the King’s Court. Common law, like many early legal systems, did not originally consist of human rights but of procedural remedies.
The doctrine of precedent requires all courts to follow previous decisions even though some cases may be decided wrongly. It does not mean that the precedent is a bad decision, but its application may not be suitable for other cases. It would not be fair to decide a case unjustly because of the unsuitable binding precedent.18 Another advantage of judicial law-making is that as they are made based on real situations, they are more practical than the ones based merely on
 Common law works in a different way, the judges rather than the Parliament make common law or ‘judge-made law’. Considering criminal and civil cases, the judges take decisions based on the stare decisis principle (Latin “to stand by things decided”, the legal principle of determining points in litigation according to precedent ), deliver rulings and create precedents, thus applying the law to real life situations. Therefore, the value of the precedent is very high in the English Common Law system. The strengths of common law The law is meant to provide justice to people. So the main advantages of the common law system is that it is consistent, adaptive, equal and independent.
What is common law? Common law is generally uncodified which is, there are no inclusive collation of legal rules and statutes. Common law is dependent on some scattered statutes. This is the decision of the legislation and is largely based on precedent. Precedent is the judicial decisions that have already been made in similar cases.
“The oracles of law” as Holmes says it (Holmes, 2006), enables lawyers to predict the consequence, which is all that matters! But, what has to be taken into consideration is the fact that, judges do not decide a case in vacuum. They do not merely ‘apply’ the laws. They might take a technical or non- technical view of the case. Various case laws, the facts of the case and other factors are taken into consideration before the judge forms a concrete decision.
In the United States, a Supreme Court decision is binding on all lower federal courts. State courts are only subject to follow a Supreme Court decision when it decides an issue of federal law, such as fundamental individual rights. Thus, one can say that Supreme Court decisions serve as de jure precedent for these courts. However, because no state can guarantee less protection than that granted by the Constitution of the United States, Supreme Court decisions also serve as de facto precedent by guiding the state legislature in drafting legislation in accordance with the Federal Constitution. Also, state court judges may use Supreme Court decisions are persuasive precedent in order to avoid getting overturned; this is part of the fear I was previously referring to, and it is a reason why it is so important that the institution reviewing constitutional issues be part of the judiciary hierarchy.
By participating in the legal system, we may endeavour to formulate a link between our own unique beliefs and the world in which we live. Evidently, a just sense of legality is a potent prerequisite for change, enabling society to continue its quest for universal equality and justice. Aristotle once stated that "even when laws have been written down, they ought not to remain unaltered". Throughout my A level studies I have become increasingly attracted to the study of Law and wish to pursue a degree in this subject to reinforce and develop my knowledge and understanding of the legal system. Studying law has provided me with a solid grounding in the English Legal system.
Criminal Procedure Assignment Reasonableness or fairness is a related concept. So too is the concept of fair trial. Try to identify the concept of fair trial with “independent, impartial and competent judiciary”, “free legal aid to indigent accused” “presumption of innocence” as comprehended or conceived in our adjective law. The most indispensable condition for a fair trial is to have an independent, impartial and competent judge to conduct the trial. It is necessary to break down these elements to understand the need for a fair trial.
Throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, the judges in England created the ‘Common Law’ which was a system based on strict rules and precedents. However, this dependence on judicial precedents resulted in Common Law becoming rigid and restrictive. Hence, litigants who were unable to obtain a remedy or who found the result produced under the Common Law System harsh, petitioned to the King. Due to a large number of petitions made to the King, the duty to deal with these petitions was then transferred to the Lord Chancellor who was known as the ‘Keeper of the King’s conscience’. Eventually, a special court known as the Court of Chancery was set up by the King.