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Ratio Decidendi

Stare Decisis, the Doctrine

Legal System, English
Last updated: 28-Nov-2015

E. L. Oldendorff & Co. G.M.B.H. Appellants v. Tradax Export S.A. Respondents (The Johanna Oldendorf), [1974] AC 479 per Lord Diplock at p.554:

It is inherent in the English legal system that when conditions do change this development should at first be piece-meal. The cases that come before the courts raise specific problems for which it is the practice of English judges to seek empirical solutions by inquiring what the parties, as reasonable businessmen, must have intended should be the legal obligations of each in those particular circumstances which have given rise to the dispute. It is not their habit to formulate some broader principle of which the empirical solution is but a specific application. But the time comes when such a formulation is both practicable and desirable. Practicable, because it becomes possible to identify some factor common to previous empirical solutions; desirable, because it provides a criterion which businessmen who enter into charterparties can apply in order to ascertain by whom the loss caused by a particular risk will be borne.

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