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Case Law

Next to appeals court is the Supreme Court in every state jurisdiction who decides on the appeals against the decisions of the Appeals Courts. Above the State Supreme Court is the federal, i.e the U.S. Supreme Court which can hear appeals against the decisions of the State Supreme Court and the decisions of the U.S. Circuit court of Appeals.1
This paper enquires into what extent doctrine of precedent depends on the hierarchy of courts. Otherwise called stare decisis, it enjoins the lower courts to follow their superior courts' decisions in matters of law and in a way it is an implied mandate of superior courts which the lower courts are bound to follow. The idea of following the precedents is to have uniformity in decisions though not at the cost of justice. Besides, the principle of stare decisis enables stability and predictability of law's directions so that one can plan for future actions. Question arises whether the lower court (constrained court) should blindly follow the superior court's (precedent court's) dictum or situations can arise wherein the constrained court can not simply follow the precedent in a unique condition. For example the precedent court faced with facts A, B, and C decides in favour of the plaintiff. In a later case, the constrained court finds fact C is absent and hence whether it can decide for defendant. ...Show more

Summary

In the U.S., hierarchy of courts comprises of District Courts, Appeals Courts, and Supreme Court in both State and Federal Jurisdictions. District courts, whose main function is to make findings of facts, should follow the precedents of their higher courts namely Appeals Courts and Supreme Court…
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