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The doctrine of Judicial Precedent lies in the heart of the English Legal System.

In essence, the doctrine refers to the fact that within the hierarchical structure of the English courts, a decision of a higher court will be binding on a court below as long as the facts of the cases are similar. However, the binding precedent itself is not referring to the decision of a particular case but rather the reason behind the decision; ratio decidendi. Such rule is used to create stability, consistency and predictability for the decisions delivered by the courts.

Among that, the court also deliver obiter dictum whereby it is a statement said by the way. They do not form part of the ration but are used as persuasive authority which judges may take into considerations and adopt if they are consider appropriate. The doctrine of judicial precedent operates in conjunction with the hierarchy of the English Courts and it refers to the fact that a decisions of a higher court will be binding on an equal or lower court. House of Lords stand is the highest court in this hierarchy causing its decision to be bind by all the courts below it. Prior to this, as established in the case of [ London Tramways v London County Council] the House of Lords regarded itself as being completely bound by its own precious decisions unless the decision had been made in per incuriam(in error). But this was not seen to be satisfactory as the laws could not be alter to meet changing social conditions and opinions. Therefore in 1966, Lord Gardiner( the Lord Chancellor then) issued Practice Statement allowing House of Lords to depart from their previous decision when it appears the right to do sp. This was seen in the case of [Milliangos v George Frank] overruled [ Re v United Railways] in order to allow damages to be paid in other currency which is not sterling. Although the Law Lords are now allowed to depart from their previous decisions, it must be emphasized that the Law Lords are reluctant to do so in general. For example, in [ Jones v Secretary of State], though a few Law Lords felt that the earlier case of [ Re Dawling] was decided wrongly, there was a great unwillingness to depart from this. This was simply due to the fact that overruling operates retrospectively. Sitting right below the House of Lords is the Court of Appeal. In the court of Appeal level, each judge follows the decisions of all higher courts above but need not follow the views of other judges in the same court or lower courts. The Court of Appeal is usually bound by its own past decisions in civil cases as well as those in the House of Lords. However, the Court of Appeal is also allowed to depart from its previous decision in civil cases in the circumstances laid down in a case called [ Young v Bristol Aeroplane].