English Legal System and Law of Contract Sample

According to English Legal System, doctrine of precedent is the principles that are legally outlined in which the judges oblige to respect when conforming to the court’s ruling.  The English doctrine of precedent is more rigid today than it ever was in the past. Under the doctrine of precedent, much of the English law is derived from the decision and observations of the judges which are to be found in the different series of law reports (Slapper, 2009). Currently, the English doctrine of precedent is to some extent in a state of flux, but there appear to be three constant features. Theses are the respect paid to a single decision of the Supreme Court, the fact that a decision of such a court is a persuasive precedent, and the fact that a single decision is always binding.

English legal system is divided into civil and criminal courts. Under civil courts, at the bottom of the hierarchy are the County and Magistrate’s Courts with limited jurisdiction over cases of first instance. Next is the High Court whose judges exercise an unlimited jurisdiction over such cases. Divisional courts that are part of the high court enjoy limited appellate jurisdiction. Next is the Court of Appeal which hears appeals from the County Courts and the High Courts (Slapper, 2009).  Finally, there is the House of Lord which hears appeals from the English Court of Appeal.  In regard to Criminal Courts, the Magistrates’ Court is at the lower level followed by the Crown Court, Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and finally House of Lords.

Ratio decidendi is a rule of law in the English Legal system that can be impliedly or expressly treated by the judge in the courts of law as a necessary step in reaching his conclusion, having regard to the line of reasoning that has been adopted by the jury. On the other hand, obiter dicta is a rule of law in the English law system that is stated by the judge in a case but cannot be used as the basis for making a conclusive decision (Richards, 2007). 

According to the English legal law, reversing is whereby the court which is higher than the one making a decision overturns the decision of the lower court in the case of an appeal. This was seen in the case of Re Pinochet (1999) when the House of Lords reversed its own decision. Overruling is whereby the court which is higher than the one making the decision overturns the principle that was used by the lower court in arriving at a conclusion of the previous case. Distinguishing a case, in accordance to English law, is the act of the court to contrast the underlying facts of the given case before the court from the facts of a precedent case where it is reported to possess similarities (Slapper, 2009).

In regard to the law of contract, an offer is a definite promise from one of the parties to the agreement, made with the intention that it shall become binding upon the person making it as soon as it is accepted by the person receiving it. It is usually communicated to the other party either by writing or verbally. Invitation to treat is not an offer. It is an indication that a person is prepared to receive offers form another person. The party making an invitation to treat can accept or reject the offers subsequently received. It is important to make the distinction so that a party can know whether the contract is binding or not; this will enhance the transaction.  

According to the law of contract, Condition is different from Warranty. Condition is essential to the main purpose of the contract while Warranty is perceived to be the collateral or subsidiary to the main purpose of the contract. In addition, Condition permits the buyer to cancel the contract where need be but in case of Warranty, cancellation of contract by the buyer will attract a claim for damages. The breach of condition is usually treated as a breach of warranty while a breach of warranty cannot be treated as the breach of condition (Richards, 2007).

In the event of a breach of contract, the remedies available to a buyer or seller are set out in the law of contracts. In principle, the remedies are drawn form both the civil law systems and common law systems. The remedies are intended to give the parties the benefit of their bargain and to put the parties into the economic position they have been in had the breach not occurred. The remedies include; cancellation of the contract by the parties, right to remedy or cure, money damages, specific performances, and setting an additional time for the performance.

In regard to the law of torts, businesses and persons that do not exercise due care in their conduct will be liable for negligence in a wide range of torts if the wrongdoer owed a duty to the injured party (ordinary care), and the duty of care owed to the injured party was breached trough some act or omission on the part of the wrong doer (negligence). In addition, there should be a casual connection between the wrongdoer’s negligent conduct and the harm caused to the injured. Finally, the injured party suffered actual damage which should be recognized as actionable by law as a result of negligent conduct (Koesel, 2006).