Practice Statement

From Academic Kids

Until 1966, the House of Lords in the United Kingdom was bound to follow all of its previous decisions under the principle of stare decisis, even if this created "injustice" and "unduly restrict(s) the proper development of the law" (London Tramways Co. v London City Council [1898] AC 375). The Practice Statement 1966 is authority for the House of Lords to depart from their previous decisions. It does not affect the precedential value of cases in lower courts; all other courts that recognise the House of Lords as the court of last resort are still bound by House of Lords decisions.

This is the text of the Practice Statement:

Their Lordships nevertheless recognise that too rigid adherence to precedent may lead to injustice in a particular case and also unduly restrict the proper development of the law. They propose, therefore to modify their present practice and, while treating former decisions of this House as normally binding, to depart from a previous decision when it appears right to do so. This announcement is not intended to affect the use of precedent elsewhere than in this House.
Lord Gardiner's statement in the House of Lords, July 26, 1966.
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