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Mechanics of precedent - High Court

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High Court

 

Not binding on other High Court Judges

Decisions of individual High Court judges are binding on the county courts but not on other High Court judges.

 

Highly persuasive

They are of strong persuasive authority in the High Court and are usually followed.

 

Cannot overrule, but can disapprove or not follow

If a High Court judge feels that he cannot follow a colleague's decision it is always with reluctance and he will usually state his reasons clearly and fully. He cannot 'overrule' it but is limited to 'disapproving' or 'not following' it.

 

Froom v Butcher [1976] CA

Some judges held that failure to wear a seat belt was not contributory negligence; others held that it was, but disagreed about the percentage by which the damages should be reduced. The difference of opinion was resolved by the Court of Appeal in 1975 in Froom v Butcher [1976],

 

Held: failure to wear a seat belt is contributory negligence if use of a belt would have avoided or lessened the injuries sustained in the accident. It was further suggested that, in general, the appropriate reduction is 25 per cent if the injuries would have been prevented altogether by the use of a seat-belt or 15 per cent if they would nevertheless have occurred but would have been less severe.

 

Divisional Courts - appellate divisions of the High Court

Normally bound by own decisions

It is also normally bound by its own previous decisions but subject to the same in Young v Bristol Aeroplane co. Ltd [1944].

 

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