Precedent in English Law

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The main aim of this book is to present a basic guide to the current doctrine of precedent in England, set in the wider context of the jurisprudential problems which any treatment of this topic involves. Such problems include the nature of the ratio decidendi of a precedent and of its binding force, the significance of precedents alongside other sources of law, their role in legal reasoning and the account which must be taken of them by any general theory of law. In examining these matters, the late Sir Rupert Cross expounded a fairly traditional practitioners view, and this approach has been preserved in the fourth edition, although references are included to competing answers, taking into account developments in the literature since the third edition. Re-writing has been undertaken to update case-law and take account of the possible implications for the doctrine of precedent of the impact of European Community Law, making it a source of reference for readers interested in the past history, present state and future developments of the English rules of precedent.