Ratio Decidendi Essay
It is an established common law principle that a decision by a superior court should be binding on inferior courts, hence, the ratio of past cases are legally binding on subsequent cases. This concept is called precedent and it is designed to give effect to the fact that the English law to some large extent is based on case law, and that case laws are not mere materials which a judge takes into consideration when making a decision on a particular case. Binding precedents are obtained from the legal reasoning for the decision of the court, which is called the ratio decidendi. Ratio Decidendi, as defined by Professor Cross, is; any rule of law expressly or impliedly treated by the judge as a necessary step in reaching his conclusion, having regard to the line of reasoning adopted by him, or a necessary part of his direction to the jury.
This essay will evaluate in detail the postulation that there is only one binding ratio which explains the holding on the facts of a case. I will argue that the judgment of a court logically falls short of a binding ratio therefore, multiple ratios exist. This essay will focus on the theories of various authorities such as A.L. Goodhart, J. Stone, J.L. Montrose, and A.W.B Simpson.
Application of the Rule of Precedent.
Although the rule of precedent offers predictability, certainty, …show more content…
The victim and one of her children escaped, the other two died of asphyxiation. The appellant said she had no intention of causing death, only scaring the victim. After the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the trial court, the appellant went further to appeal to the House of Lords, where it was held, with two out of the five judges dissenting, that there was no misdirection of the jury by the trial