Module guide is on
available as “ebook”, via studynet
Other resources via
Justcite, Westlaw, Lawt
el, LexisNexis – see
link on module site
N.B. “Wikipedia” is not
a proper learning
Coursework element (50% of final
mark) – An online MCQ test, and a
group work exercise - submitted
Exam element – 3 problem
questions (out of 6 available).
Similar to seminar questions, so
use seminars to PRACTICE!!
Read the entire question carefully.
Identify the main legal area the question covers and
then all the legal issues raised.
Select from your knowledge of the law the legal
principles applicable to those legal issues.
Make a short abbreviated outline of your answer
indicating the order in which you will tackle the various
issues, i.e. by separate thematic paragraphs; jot down
in abbreviated form the content of each paragraph, i.e.
the issue, the applicable principle, the legal authority
(case or statute) from which the principle derives, any
relevant commentary, and side issues.
So…Law – what is it good
At its most basic level, law exists to protect
members of a society from those who would do
them harm. this includes bad businesses as much
as it includes criminals.
Law exists to ensure the citizen is kept safe.
Consider your own life:law ensures that you have been educated to a
certain level before arriving at University
law ensures the bus you travel to University on is
law ensures that food you buy at a supermarket is
Why do you need to know the
In business, law has many
functions, e.g.:protecting consumers
allowing businesses to plan
providing employees with rights
Types of Law
“criminal law”; - a
wrong, committed by
an individual, who is
punished by the state.
“civil law”; basically
covers all other aspects
of law. Regulates
disputes arising from
rights & obligations
parties have between
Sources of Law
Source 1 – Parliament
reading – purely formal
•Second reading – critical
stage, extensive debate on general
•Committee stage – MPs amend and
•Report – the committee reports
changes to the House of Commons
•Third reading – restricted debate
House of Lords
Now the bill does the same again…in
the House of Lords.
Then the Commons consider any
Royal Assent is given
Source 2 - The Courts
Some areas of
law are not
governed by acts
common law –
Precedent – what is it?
A judicial decision which provides a pattern for
subsequent cases to follow
Judges are bound by the law of binding precedent, i.e.
they are bound by a decision reached in a previous case
Lower courts must follow higher ones
Two factors are crucial to determining whether a
precedent is “binding”:court hierarchy - position in the court hierarchy of the
court which decided the precedent and the position of
the court trying the case
the facts of the case to be decided come within the
scope of the principle of law in the previous decision
It’s Latin time…!!!
stare decisis – “to
stand by the
Ratio decidendi –
“reason for the
Obiter dicta –
things said “by the
“Ratio Decidendi” – The reason for
Donoghue v Stevenson
The HoL held that a
manufacturer owed a duty of
care to the consumer that
products are safe.
Followed by …
Grant v Australian Knitting
The claimant bought some
underwear but the material
contained a chemical which
Compensation was awarded
based on the precedent set by
Donoghue v Stevenson.
Obiter Dicta – things said “by
Hill v Baxter (1958)
The defendant driver
fell asleep and drove
into some people. His
conviction for driving
offences was upheld as
he was at fault for not
stopping when he felt
Judge gave fictional
example of being stung
by bees while
driving, and losing
control as an example
of a driver not being at
(previously House of
Lords) – binds lower
courts; avoids binding itself by
(Judicial Precedent) 1966 1
High Court -
Magistrates Courts -
Court of Appeal -
bound by decisions of the
House of Lords even if it
considers them to be wrong;
Young v Bristol Aeroplane
Co Ltd  KB
718, provides Court of Appeal
(civil division) with 3
exemptions to being bound by
its own previous decisions
the Court of Appeal and the
House of Lords; not bound by
other High Court decisions.
decisions of these courts are
N.B.: Under the Human Rights
Act 1998, English courts must
now have regard to decisions
of the ECHR
Source 3 - The European
Treaties - primary source of EU law - need
to be enacted (e.g. Tr. of R + ECA 1972)
Regulations – secondary source - “directly
applicable” (take effect immediately)
Directives – secondary source - need
interpreting by domestic law (usually within
a set time)
Decisions of ECJ
Recommendations/opinions (not binding)
Source 4 - Delegated
Parliament passes an enabling act giving
law-making power to a delegate – e.g.
Welwyn & Hatfield Council, Education
Secretary. This delegate then draws up
Orders in Council
Brings in expertise
Flexible – can be changed quickly
Disadvantages:Accountability – who is making law?
Difficult to scrutinise
Huge amount of it
Is it controlled properly by Parliament and the
Source 5 – International
These are influential but only become
law if Parliament passes an act to
E.g. Human Rights Act derived from
European Convention on Human
Source 6 - Custom
Strict rules must be
satisfied if a custom is
to be recognised.
It has existed since
1189 – “time
Must have been
Must be reasonable
n Union, Courts
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