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Young v Bristol Aeroplane 1944 | English Legal System

Young v Bristol Aeroplane [1944]

In Young v Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd [1944] KB 718 CA, the Court of Appeal established that it is generally bound to follow its own decisions and those of courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction, except in the following three situations:


  1. The court can decide which of two previous conflicting decisions of its own it will follow.
  2. The court is bound to refuse to follow a decision of its own which cannot stand with a decision of the House of Lords (now the Supreme Court).
  3. The court is not bound to follow a decision of its own if the decision was given per incuriam, for example, where a statute or a rule having statutory effect which would have affected the decision was not brought to the attention of the earlier court.


Per incuriam means "through lack of care". A finding of per incuriam means that a previous court judgment has failed to pay attention to relevant statutory provision or precedents.


There are a few other possible exceptions to the principle of precedent that may also be considered, such as decisions on interlocutory appeals, where the decision from the Supreme Court was made on an unwarranted assumption, or where the decision was made before the Human Rights Act 1998, and so may be contrary to it.


You can learn more about this topic with our English Legal System notes.


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