The English Legal System which can be traced back as far as 1066 AD has been growing slowly over time. Certain characteristics of this law system, such as the law of precedent can be distinguished from other law systems. Judicial precedent or binding precedent often referred to as case law, is one of the main sources of English Law. As time passed a kind of court structure has matured while a hierarchy is formed between those courts. And through the doctrine of binding precedent the decisions made by the higher courts in the hierarchy are been bound on the courts below it.
In any good decision making process consistency will play an enormous role, which means like cases should be treated alike. A courts decision shall be consistent with decisions in previous cases and therefore providing certainty for future cases so that people will arrange their affairs relying on the courts opinion .
The doctrine of binding precedent is based on the Latin maxim "Stare decesis et non quieta movere" which loosely translated means, stand by what has been decided and do not unsettle the established. Which means a decision made in one case is binding on all following cases of similar fact in lower courts. In practice it means that the Court of Appeal is generally bound by the previous decisions of its own and the courts below it is bound to follow the decisions made by the courts above it. The High Court and above in the hierarchy of the courts are binding on the lower courts and its decisions should be followed by these courts in subsequent cases. Hence the higher the court, its decisions are more authoritative. Thus House of Lords as the highest court in the chain (excluding cases concerning European law) binds all courts below making its judgments the most important source of case law.
The system of precedent relies upon two important components. These include law reporting and a hierarchical court decision. An efficient system of law reportin...