Doctrine of Precedent

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The first settlement of the British in Australia was distinguished by the establishment of a penal colony at Botany Bay in New South Wales in the year 1788. This land inhabited till then by the aboriginals had no legal system to cite and was characterized only by some unrefined and undefined folk traditions.


But in due course, to cope with the administration of the colony, the English in Australia, simply acquired almost all of the prevailing British law at their discretion and for their easiest convenience, started applying them according to the call of the circumstances in the colony. Thus, common law of Britain which originated in the thirteenth century based unevenly on Roman traditions became the guiding principles of the current legal system of Australia. The Australian legal system founded on the common law has the elements of trial by jury, adversarial system and presumption of innocence.
But as the society became civilized and the living conditions changed, many of the existed laws became incapable to meet the challenging situations and requirements of the people. Hence, legislation was required to formulate new statutes or Acts to meet the varying needs of the people. These legislations were enacted to broaden the living style of the people and also to regulate the society as a whole, to bring in equity of law. However, the laws based on the doctrine of precedent or case laws edge over the statutory laws, because of its simplicity in its application facilitating decisions on a case by the jury. ...
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