4.2.11 Neutral citation

In line with the ongoing modernisation of the whole legal system, the way in which cases are to be cited has been changed. Since January 2001 a new neutral system was introduced, and cases in the various courts are now cited as follows (‘EW’ means England and Wales):


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4.2.9 European Community reports

Although European cases may appear in the reports considered above, there are two specialist reports relating to EU cases.

  • European Court Reports (ECR)

    These are the official reports produced by the European Court of Justice. As such, they are produced in all the official languages of the Community and consequently suffer from delay in reporting.

  • Common Market Law Reports (CMLR)

    These are unofficial reports published wee
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4.2.8 Specialist reports

There are a number of specialist reports. Indeed, there are more than can be mentioned here, but amongst the most important are:

House of Lords [year] UKHL case no.
Court of Appeal
Industrial Relations Law Review (IRLR)
Knight's Local Government Reports (LGR)
Lloyd's Law Reports (Lloyd's Rep.)
Report on Tax Cases (TC or Ta
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3.3.6 Summary of the system of precedent

The basis of the system of precedent is the principle of stare decisis and this requires a later court to use the same reasoning as an earlier court where the two cases raise the same legal issues. For example:

  • House of Lords’ decisions are binding on all other courts in the legal system, except the House of Lords itself.

  • The Court of Appeal is bound by previous decisions of the House of Lords. The Court of Appeal generally i
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3.3.1 Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

This is the highest appeal court in the UK and was created by the Constitutional Reform Act 20045. The court became operational on 1 October 2009. Generally permission to appeal must be sought before a case can be brought to the UK Supreme Court.

As the highest court of appeal it hears matters which involve points of law of general public importance and concentrates on cases of the greatest public and constitutional importance. Its decisions are binding on all courts lower in the court
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3.2 The hierarchy of the courts

A court hierarchy establishes which decisions are binding on which courts. There are some exceptions and complications to what follows but, in general and for most purposes, the higher up a court is in the hierarchy, the more authoritative its decisions. I mean ‘authoritative’ in the sense that decisions of the higher courts will bind lower courts to apply the same decided principle.

Activity 5 asks you to explore the court structure further.

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3.1 Introduction

Precedent is the basis of the common law. The doctrine of binding precedent is known as the doctrine of stare decisis, which is Latin meaning ‘to stand by/adhere to decided cases’, i.e. to follow precedent. In other words, once a principle is decided it should be followed in future cases. The doctrine refers to the fact that, within the hierarchical structure of the English courts, the decision of a higher court will be binding on a lower court. In general terms, this means that wh
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2.3 Summary of Part A

In Part A you have learned:

  • that the English legal system is a common law system;

  • that this means that much of the law has been developed over time by the courts;

  • how to develop your use of language.


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2.2.1 Prefixes and suffixes

Prefixes and suffixes can offer clues to the meaning of words. Prefixes come before the main part of the word:

  • In ‘antenatal’, ‘ante’ is a prefix meaning ‘before’ and the whole word means ‘before birth’.

Suffixes are added to the end of the word:

  • -ive, -ing, -ness and -ion are all suffixes and are used to form words such as active, willing, willingness and action.


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2.1 The history of the common law

Prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, there was no unitary, national legal system. Before 1066 the English legal system involved a mass of oral customary rules, which varied according to region. The law of the Jutes in the south of England, for example, was different from that of the Mercians in the middle of the country (see map below). Each county had its own local court dispensing its own justice in accordance with local customs that varied from community to commun
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1 The role of the courts and the judiciary

This unit will explore the role of the courts and the judiciary in England and Wales. The English legal system is often referred to as a ‘common law’ legal system. Before medieval times the law in what we now call Great Britain was largely regional. Different regional kingdoms had different law. Over time, the same law was applied by judges across the single kingdom established after 1066 and so became common to all parts of the country. This was known as ‘the common law’. (The common
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand what is meant by a common law system;

  • demonstrate a good knowledge and understanding of what is meant by the common law and how its rules are made and changed;

  • demonstrate an understanding of how the common law has developed;

  • describe what is meant by a system of binding precedent;

  • explain the court hierarchy;

  • discuss how a precedent can be altere
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Introduction

This unit considers the way that judges make law, how the common law system works and the advantages and disadvantages of a system like the British one that relies heavily on such rules and rule making. The unit will set out the basic differences between ‘civil code’ systems and ‘common law’ systems, and consider the relationship between judge-made law and statutory law.

This unit is an adapted extract from the course Author(s): The Open University

Acknowledgements

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Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

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3.5 Does the answer make sense in the real world?

3.4.1 Try some yourself

1 For each of the following calculations make suitable rough estimates before doing the calculation on your calculator and check the result.

  • (a) 22.12 ÷ 4.12

  • (b) 0.897 ×
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1.4.1 Try some yourself

1 Round a measurement of 1.059 metres:

  • (a) to the nearest whole number of metres;

  • (b) to two decimal places;

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1.2.2 Rounding to the nearest ten

The blouse in the figure above was £19 and you may well have thought of it as roughly £20. In this case you would be rounding to the nearest ten (pounds).

The rule for rounding to the nearest hundred can be adapted easily to rounding to the nearest ten. Instead of looking at the tens digit look at the units digit.

So £23 is rounded down (to £20) and £36 is rounded up (to £40).


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1.2.1 Rounding to the nearest hundred

You will probably think to yourself that the coat shown costs about £300. £290 is considerably closer to £300 than it is to £200, so £300 is a reasonable approximation. In this case, 290 has been rounded up to 300. Similarly, 208 would be rounded down to 200 because it is closer to 200 than it is to 300. Both numbers have been rounded to the nearest hundred pounds.

When rounding to the nearest hundred, anything below fifty rounds down. So 248 rounds to 200. Anything o
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1.2 Rounding whole numbers


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