The purpose of the ISCL is to encourage the comparative study of law and legal systems and to seek affiliation with individuals and organisations with complimentary aims. We were established in June 2008 and are recognised by the International Academy of Comparative Law.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stare Decisis - A Universally Misunderstood Idea?

In this article, I argue against the overstatement of the binding effects of precedent in common law and against the understatement of the relevance of precedent in civil law. I try to show that judges and courts in both kind of systems have to acknowledge relevant precedents and then provide persuasive reasons for following or not following them. Blindly following precedent, just as blind application of statutes, is acceptable only in the 'empire of mechanical jurisprudence'. Ignoring precedent in the name of judicial independence, on the other hand, is acceptable only in the empire of arbitrary jurisprudence. Legal systems subscribing to the rule of law can neither be mechanical nor arbitrary. They have to care about legitimacy of the judicial process. They have to explain themselves and they have to do so persuasively.

Emmert, Frank, Stare Decisis - A Universally Misunderstood Idea? (May 7, 2012).