Level 2
Level 1

Week 2 Court Hierarchy and Types of Precedent

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European Court of Justice
Highest binding court in the English Legal System
Supreme Court
Highest appeal court in England & Wales
European Court of Human Rights
Hears human rights cases, not binding on English law
High Court
Has 3 divisions: Chancery, Family, QBD
Court of Appeal
Has 2 divisions: Criminal and Civil
Crown Court
Highest first instance criminal court, hears serious trials
Magistrates' Court
Lowest criminal first instance court, hears minor offences
County Court
First instance civil court, hears low value civil claims
Privy Council
Final appeal court just for commonwealth countries, but based inside UK Supreme Court
Ratio decidendi
The reasons for making that verdict; becomes binding on lower courts in future
Obiter dicta
Other statements made by the judge; not binding but may be persuasive
Stare decisis
Means "stand by your decision" - how precedent works!
Law reporting
Methods by which case decisions are recorded and published
Binding precedent
Precedent that must be followed; by lower courts or their own past decisions
Original precedent
A brand new precedent on a point of law never decided in court before
Persuasive precedent
Precedent that does not have to be followed but might influence future judges
Dissenting judgement
A judge might disagree with the rest of the majority in their decision
Where judges look at a similar situation to help them decide a new case