Case Law And Precedent Case Study

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Tutorial 1: Case Law and Precedent
Question 1
(a)
i. Ratio decidendi
Ratio decidendi means ‘the reason for the decision’. It is the legal rule or principle of law which is established by the Court in deciding a case. Sometimes, it is also defined as material facts added together with the Court’s decision. Material facts are those facts that are legally relevant to the decision making of a case. If the facts are not there or differ, the Court might not make the same decision as before. ii. Obiter dicta
Orbiter dicta means ‘sayings by the way’. It is the unimportant statement of law made by the judge, which will not affect the Court’s decision. This includes statements surrounding the general area of law and discussions of the decision of the
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By other means, it is the doctrine of precedent. It is the rule that determines when a particular Court will be bounded to follow the decision of an earlier Court and when it is at liberty to ignore or overrule it. It is necessary to have the doctrine of precedent because it provides consistencies and legal certainties which promotes the fairness and equity. Furthermore, it also provides protection against variations in decision making by the judges.
(b)
i. Distinguishing a case
Distinguishing a case means that we are arguing that the material facts of the present case differ from what has been presented in the earlier case and respectively should not be dealt with on the same principle of the earlier case. By other means, the ratio decidendi of the previous case does not apply. Besides that, the differences noted should be material and be able to affect the Court’s decision. ii. Overruling a case
Overruling a case means that if a decision of another Court is overruled, then the ratio decidendi of that earlier decision is no longer good law. If a decision is overruled, only the ratio decidendi of the earlier case is overruled, the ‘order of the Court’ in that particular case still

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