How Judges Make Law (UK)
Judges have an important role within the English legal system. William the Conqueror, after he gained the English throne in 1066, was the first person to begin the long process of standardising the law. Before this law was mainly based on local custom, and so obviously varied a great deal from place to place, and throughout this time the king would have had hardly any control over the country as a whole.
During William the Conquerors the principle of 'stare decisis' ('let the decision stand') was developed. This principle meant that when ever a new problem of law came to be decided, the decision reached formed a rule to be followed in all similar cases, thus making the law more predictable. By around 1250 a 'common law' had been developed that ruled the country as a whole. The principles of this common law are used by judges today. (Elliot & Quinn 1996).
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