Discuss the Operation of Precedent.

A court, presented with a set of circumstances that does not adequately fit a remedy via an existing statute looks at rules already decided. So some consistency can be drawn between decisions made by a court in one case and the related decision made by another court, faced with similar facts. It results in 'like' cases being treated in a 'like' manner. The decisions made earlier are said to be Precedents. Precedent allows for a degree of confidence in what ‘fairness’ is. So people can be satisfied that the decision reached, is the result of many reassessment’s of similar circumstances nationally.

But a ruling in one case in one court offered little hope to justice if a second court gave a different judgement on a similar case.   Precedent tries to introduce a level of consistence in judicial decisions. Not possible without a robust method of reporting what decisions are made nationally and against what circumstance prevailed. The intention of the judge in making a decision given the circumstances of the case could be shared. In this way different courts were able to see what judgements were established and importantly why. With this process of reasoning, a judge gives a decision in a dispute, and a 'Fair' law is created.

How binding a decision is, varies depending on a number of points, precedents stand until new situations force reconsideration. This must include the material facts of the case. What happened. In this way the like for like analogy used by the court can be tested, not just the judges intention. Any single Precedent may be viewed differently depending on your bias.   Often two sets of precedents offered by council will appear just as convincing as each other. For this reason Precedents are always a compromise not in suggesting the right answer, only a better or worse one depending on the facts of the case. Doing justice to individual instances.

Once a precedent is established, a degree of inflexibility must come with it, as precedents are...