Ratio Decidendi in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • DPP for Northern Ireland v Lynch
    • House of Lords
    • 12 March 1975

    It will not do to claim that judges have the duty—call it the privilege —of seeing to it that the common law expands and contracts to meet what the judges conceive to be the requirements of modern society. Modern society rightly prefers to exercise that function for itself, and this it conveniently does through those who represent it in Parliament.

  • Davis (A.P.) (Respondent) v Johnson (A.P.) (Appellant)
    • House of Lords
    • 09 March 1978

    This House decides every case that comes before it according to the law. If, as in the instant case, the Court of Appeal decides an appeal contrary to to one of its previous decisions, this House, much as it may deprecate the Court of Appeal's departure from the rule, will nevertheless dismiss the appeal if it comes to the conclusion that the decision appealed against was right in law.

  • Boys v Chaplin
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 06 December 1967

    But in Young's case it was only final judgments of the Court of Appeal which were under consideration. Young's case, which I loyally, if regretfully, accept as binding upon me, dots not, as I think, preclude this Court from declining to follow the ratio decidendi of a previous interlocutory order of the Court of Appeal if this Court thinks that the ratio decidendi was wrong. In the present state of juristic opinion, I would not extend the doctrine of stare decisis any further.

  • Bremer Vulkan Schiffbau und Maschinenfabrik v South India Shipping Corporation Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 22 January 1981

    For failure to apply for such directions before so much time had elapsed that there was a risk that a fair trial of the dispute would not be possible, both claimant and respondent were in my view in breach of their contractual obligations to one another; and neither can rely upon the other's breach as giving him a right to treat the primary obligations of each to continue with the reference as brought to an end.

  • Ashville Investments Ltd v Elmer Contractors Ltd; Elmer Contractors Ltd v Ashville Investments Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 20 May 1987

    In these circumstances I think that it is necessary carefully to consider the role of precedent and the doctrine of stare decisis in a case such as this, in which a question of construction is in truth the fundamental issue between the parties.

  • MK v CK
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 07 July 2011

    However, the circumstances in which these difficult decisions have to be made vary infinitely and the judge in each case must be free to weigh up the individual factors and make whatever decision he or she considers to be in the best interests of the child.

  • Midland Silicones Ltd v Scruttons Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 06 December 1961

    I must treat the decision as an anomalous and unexplained exception to the general principle that a stranger cannot rely for his protection on provisions in a contract to which he is not a party. The decision of this House is authoritative in cases of which the circumstances are not reasonably distinguishable from those which gave rise to the decision.

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