By Catherine Elliott
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The hierarchy of the courts The European Court of Justice Decisions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) are binding on all English courts. It appears not to be bound by its own decisions. The House of Lords Apart from cases concerning European law, this is the highest appeal court on civil and criminal matters, and all other English courts are bound by it. It was traditionally bound by its own decisions, but in 1966, the Lord Chancellor issued a practice statement saying that the House of Lords was no longer bound by its previous decisions.
Who were the judges in that case? 6 .. 1 Demonstrators in favour of the deportation of the former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet Source: © EMPICS. Privy Council The Privy Council was established by the Judicial Committee Act 1833. It is the ﬁnal appeal court for many Commonwealth countries. The Privy Council currently has jurisdiction to hear devolution cases relating to the powers of the devolved legislative and executive authorities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Once the Supreme Court has been established, this domestic jurisdiction will be transferred to the new court.
Judges are only bound by the part of the judgment that forms the legal principle that was the basis of the earlier decision, known as the ratio decidendi. The rest of the judgment is known as obiter dicta and is not binding. The hierarchy of the courts The European Court of Justice is the highest authority on European law, in other matters the House of Lords is the highest court in the UK. Following the 1966 Practice Direction, the House of Lords is not bound by its previous decisions. According to the traditional declaratory theory laid down by William Blackstone, judges do not make law but merely discover and declare the law that has always been.
As Law by Catherine Elliott