The role of the courts in law making
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Like this? Share it with your network

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads


Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds



Embeds 79 79

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

    No notes for slide


  • 1. !   Role  of  the  Courts  in  Law-­‐making   Unit  3  Outcome  3   Chapter  5  
  • 2. Key  Knowledge   !  The  ability  of  judges  and  courts  to  make  law   !  The  opera>on  of  the  doctrine  of  precedent   !  Reasons  for  the  interpreta>on  of  statutes  by  judges   !  Effects  of  statutory  interpreta>on  by  judges   !  Strengths  and  weaknesses  of  law-­‐making  through  the   courts   !  The  rela>onship  between  courts  and  parliament  in  law-­‐ making  
  • 3. Historical  Development  of  Common  Law   !  Common  law  has  evolved  from  past  decisions  made   by  courts  da>ng  back  to  King  Henry  II  of  England   !  Australia  adopted  this  and  with  it  came  the   principle  of  binding  precedents   !  Due  to  court  hierarchy,  a  higher  courts  decision   becomes  binding  to  lower  courts   High  court  –>  Court  of  Appeal  –>  Supreme  Court   -­‐>    County  Court  –>    Magistrates  Court  
  • 4. What  is  Common  Law   !  Law  developed  through  courts   !  Also  referred  to  as  judge-­‐made  law  and  case  law   !  Requires  a  case  to  be  brought  before  the  court   !  Reasoning  for  decisions  provide  a  model  for  lower   courts  to  follow   Followed  by   Decision….  
  • 5. How  can  Judge’s  make  law   !  Deciding  on  a  new  issue  that  is   brought  before  them   !  Statutory  interpreta>on   !  Ra>o  decidendi  -­‐  It  is  the   REASON  which  is  the  RULE,   the  RULE  is  the  REASON  and   the  REASON  is  the  RATIO  
  • 6. Restrictions  on  judge-­‐made  law   !  Judge’s  can  only  make  laws  in  certain   circumstances:   !  If  in  a  superior  court   !  If  there  is  no  previous  binding   precedent   !  Excluding  ability  to  dis>nguish   differences  
  • 7. Doctrine  of  Precedent   !  Precedent  is  the  reasoning  behind  a  court   decision  that  establishes  a  principle  or  rule   of  law  that  must  be  followed  by  other   courts  lower  in  the  same  court  hierarchy   when  deciding  future  cases  that  are  similar   !  Creates  consistency  and  predictability   It  is  the  REASON  which  is  the  RULE     the  RULE  is  the  REASON  and     the  REASON  is  the  RATIO  
  • 8. Jams  &  Judges   & Mmm ….. jam!
  • 9. Making  Jam   Ingredients   !  7  quan>ty  of  chopped  (pi[ed/ peeled)  fruit   !  2  cups  of  sugar   !  ½    cup  water   !  ¼    cup  lemon  juice   Method   1.  Combine  all  ingredients,  bringing  slowly   to  the  boil,  s>rring  occasionally  un>l   sugar  dissolves       2.  Cook  rapidly  almost  to  jellying  point,   approx  20  minutes.  As  mix  thickens,  s>r   frequently  to  prevent  s>cking   3.  Poor  into  hot  sterilised  jars.  Process   10-­‐15  minutes  OR  seal  with  paraffin   What  is  the  system?…………………..>  The  recipe   What  is  the  outcome?………………..>  The  jam  
  • 10. Judges  &  Jam   !  Making  jam   !  No  ma[er  what  type  of   jam,  the  same  type  of   recipe  was  followed   !  Making  law   !  No  ma[er  what  type  of   case,  the  same  type  of   doctrine  of  precedent   was  followed   Doctrine of Precedent is the ‘recipe’ for Judge-made law!
  • 11. Stare  Decisis   !  “Fancy  dancy”  word  to  explain  the  process  of  lower   courts  following  precedent  set  by  higher  courts  in  the   same  court  hierarchy   !  Literally  means  ‘to  stand  by  what  has  been  decided’   !  Rules  rela>ng  to  Stare  Decisis   !  Precedents  can  only  be  set  by  a  higher  court   !  All  lower  courts  are  bound  by  the  decisions  of  higher   courts  in  the  same  hierarchy   !  Decisions  of  courts  at  the  same  level  or  equal  standing  or   from  another  hierarchy  are  NOT  binding  (can  be   persuasive)   Followed  by…   Decision…  
  • 12. Ratio  Decidendi   !  NOT  the  Judgment/Decision/Punishment!!   !  The  reason  for  the  decision   !  The  component  that  forms  precedent   !  It  is  the  REASON  which  is  the  RULE,  the  RULE  is   the  REASON  and  the  REASON  is  the  RATIO   !  Finding  the  ra>o  decidendi  –  only  the  material   facts  are  relevant     !  Example  Shaddock  v.  Parrama[a  City  Council  pg   232  
  • 13. Obiter  Dictum   !  ‘Things  said  by  the  way’   !  Not  apart  of  ra>o  decidendi   !  Not  a  component  relevant  to  the   decision  making  though  a  point  of   considera>on   !  Not  binding  but  can  be  persuasive  
  • 14. Binding  Precedent   !  Legal  principle  that  must  be  followed  (ra>o   decidendi)   !  Doctrine  of  precedent  depends  on  lower   courts  following  decisions  of  higher  courts   !  General  rule:   !  A  decision  of  a  higher  court  in  the  same   hierarchy  is  binding  or  must  be  followed  by   lower  courts  in  the  same  hierarchy  when   deciding  similar  or  ‘like’  cases   !  High  Court  decisions  are  binding  on  all  other   Australian  courts  (though  the  High  Court   itself  is  not  bound  by  its  own  precedent!)  
  • 15. Persuasive  Precedent   !  A  convincing  argument  made  by  a  judge  in   a  previous  case  however  not  binding   !  Persuasive  Authority:   !  Obiter  Dictum   !  Statements  made  by  judges  at  the  same   level  in  the  same  hierarchy   !  Ra>o  Decidendi   !  Of  courts  at  the  same  level  or  lower  in   the  same  hierarchy   !  Decision  of  a  judge  in  another  court   hierarchy   !  Although  not  binding  can  be  used  as  a   point  of  reference  
  • 16. Precedent  in  Practice   Anyone feel like a ginger beer?...
  • 17. Precedent  in  Practice   … with a side of snail
  • 18. Are  the  fact  situations  the  same?  
  • 19. Don’t  Ride  On  Drugs!   Flexibility  within  the  Doctrine  of  Precedent   !  Dis>nguishing  a  previous  precedent   !  Reversing  a  precedent   !  Overruling  a  precedent   !  Disapproving  a  precedent  
  • 20. Distinguishing  a  previous  precedent   !  Finding  a  difference  in  material  facts  of  the  previous   (binding)  case  to  the  current  case  therefore  not  bound   by  the  previous  decision.   !  Case  Study  Davies  v.  Waldron  (1989)     !  The  Judge  in  this  case  dis>nguished  from  the  Gillard  v.   Wenborn  case  on  the  difference  of  the  facts  of  the  case.   The  accused  in  the  Davies  v.  Waldron  was  found   a[emp>ng  a[emp>ng  to  start  the  car  (and  was  at  risk  of   driving),  whereas  the  accused  in  Gillard  v.  Wenborn  was   found  asleep  in  the  driver’s  seat,  with  the  car  running,   and  was  not  at  risk  of  driving.  
  • 21. Reversing  a  precedent   !  When  on  appeal,  the  higher  court  changes  or   reverses  the  decision  of  the  previous  court  with   regards  to  the  same  case.  The  reversed  precedent  is   now  binding  on  lower  courts  in  the  same  hierarchy.   !  Case  Study  Queen  v.  Tomas  Klamo  (2008)   !  The  Court  of  Appeal  reversed  the  Supreme  Courts   decision  and  Klamo  was  acqui[ed  of  charges  of   manslaughter  –  ra>o  decedendi  no  evidence   showing  the  shaking  of  the  baby  was  the  cause  of   death  
  • 22. Overruling  a  precedent   !  A  superior  court  decides  not  to  follow  an  earlier   precedent  of  a  lower  court  (as  it  is  not  binding)  in  a   different  case   !  As  a  result  the  new  precedent  of  the  superior  court   ‘overrides’  the  lower  court  precedent     !  The  ra>o  decedendi  of  the  new  decision  is  to  be   followed  by  lower  courts  in  future   !  Case  Study  AON  risk  Services  Australia  Ltd  v.   Australian  Na>onal  University  (2009)    
  • 23. !  Insert  pic  from  book  pg  242  
  • 24. Disapproving  a  precedent   !  When  a  court  at  the  same  or  lower  level  disagrees  with   a  precedent  set  in  a  previous  case   !  If  at  same  level  of  hierarchy,  the  court  may  disapprove   and  set  a  new  precedent,  however  BOTH  precedents   remain  in  force  (binding  to  lower  courts)  un>l  a  higher   court  overrules  and  makes  a  new  precedent   !  If  at  lower  level  of  hierarchy,  the  court  may  disapprove,   however  is  s=ll  bound  by  the  precedent  and  must   follow  the  decision   !  Case  Study  State  Government  Insurance  Commission  v.   Trigwell  &  Ors  (1978)  …..  
  • 25. Interpretation  of  past  precedents   !  Problems  interpre>ng  past  decisions   include:   !  Loca>ng  relevant  cases   !  Iden>fying  relevant  ra>os   !  Cases  with  more  than  one  ra>o   !  Dissen>ng  judgments   !  Determining  what  is  a  ‘like’  case  
  • 26. Interpretation  of  past  precedents   !  Because  of  a  judge’s  ability  to  dis>nguish,  reverse,   overrule  and  disapprove,    the  development  of  law   through  the  courts  is  possible.   !  Classic  example  –  Law  of  Negligence   !  Going  further  box  pg  247  –  252   YES     Please!   On  second  thought  ….   …  I’ll  pass  
  • 27. Statutory  Interpretation   !  Judge  made  law  through  the  process   of  interpre=ng  the  meaning  of  the   words  of  an  Act  of  Parliament   (statute)   !  When  a  judge  interprets  the  meaning   of  a  word(s)  the  reasoning  for  the   interpreta>on  (ra>o  decedendi)   forms  the  precedent   !  For  future  cases,  the  act  and  the   precedent  are  read  together  and   form  the  law  
  • 28. Methods  used  in  Statutory  Interpretation   !  Intrinsic  Materials   !  Extrinsic  Materials   !  Literal  versus  purposive   approach  
  • 29. Intrinsic  Materials   !  Judges  use  intrinsic  materials  to   aid  in  their  interpreta>on  of  a   statute   !  These  are  contained  in  the  act   itself   !  The  words  of  the  act   !  The  >tle   !  Preambles   !  Headings,  margins,  footnotes,   punctua>on   !  schedules  
  • 30. Extrinsic  Materials   !  Judge’s  also  use  extrinsic  materials   when  interpre>ng  a  statute   !  These  are  aids  that  are  found  outside   of  the  act  itself  such  as:   !  Parliamentary  debates   !  Reports  from  commi[ees  and  law   reform  bodies   !  Interpreta>on  acts   !  Dic>onaries   !  Law  reports  
  • 31. Literal  Approach  
  • 32. Purposeful  Approach   !  Used  when  the  literal  meaning  of   the  word(s)  does  not  support  the   inten>on  of  parliament  when   making  the  law.   !  Judge’s  look  at  the  purpose  of  the   act  and  interpret  the  words  based   on  the  overall  inten>on  of  the  law.   !  Also  consider  the  compa>bility  of   the  law  with  Human  Rights  
  • 33. Reasons  for  Statutory  Interpretation  
  • 34. Reasons  for  Statutory  Interpretation  
  • 35. Effects  of  Statutory  Interpretation  
  • 36. Strengths  and  Weaknesses  of  law-­‐making   through  the  courts   !  The  courts  are  influen>al  in  mul>ple  areas:   !  Separa>on  of  powers   !  Independence  of  the  judiciary   !  Making  law  ex  post  facto   !  The  Doctrine  of  precedent   !  Each  of  these  areas  have  strengths  and  weaknesses  
  • 37. Role  of  courts  in  the  separation  of  powers  
  • 38. The  independence  of  the  judiciary  
  • 39. Courts  making  law  ex  post  facto  
  • 40. Doctrine  of  precedent  
  • 41. Relationship  between  courts  and  Parliament  in   the  law-­‐making  process   !  Parliament  establishes  courts   !  Parliament’s  legisla>on  limits  the  common  law   !  The  courts  interpret  the  statutes  of  parliament   !  The  courts  have  some  power  of  parliament   See  Study  on  slides  to  follow…  
  • 42. Parliament  establishes  courts  
  • 43. Parliaments  legislation  limits  common  law  
  • 44. The  courts  interpret  the  statutes  of  parliament  
  • 45. The  courts  have  some  power  of  parliament  
  • 46. The  Mabo  Case   !  The  development  of  the  law  of  na=ve  =tle  shows   the  ways  parliament  and  the  courts  work  together     !  Na=ve  =tle  refers  to  the  rights  and  interests  of   Aboriginal  and  Torres  Strait  Islander  people  in  lands   and  waters  that  are  possessed  under  their   tradi>onal  laws  and  customs  and  are  recognised   under  Australian  law   !  See  handout  of  case  study  
  • 47. References   !  Beazer,  Humphreys  &  Filippin  (2012)  Jus7ce  &   Outcomes  12e,  12th  ed   !  Aldous  (2008)  Making  &  Breaking  the  Law,  8th  ed   !  John  Wiley  &  Sons  Australia,  Ltd,  Jacaranda  plus   ‘Study  on’  (2010)   !  Tony  Kuc,  Cri>cal  Agendas  (2014)   !  Humphreys,  2011,  Legal  Notes  2nd  Ed