Disadvantages of case law as a source of law

Highlight three disadvantages of case law as a source of law

  • Rigidity: Strict application of state decision renders a legal system inflexible or rigid and this generally interferes with the development of law.
  • Bulk and complexity: Since stare decision based on judicial decisions and many decisions have been made, it tends to be bulky and there’s no index as to which of these decisions are precedent. Extraction of the ratio decidendi is a complex task.
  • Artificial in Law (over-subtlety): When Judges in subsequent cases attempt to distinguish indistinguishable cases. They develop technical distractions or distinctions without a difference. This makes law artificial and renders the legal system uncertain.
  • Piece-meal: Law-making by courts of law is neither systematic nor comprehensive in nature. It is incidental, principle or propositions of law are made in bits and pieces.
  • Backward locking: judges or courts are persuaded/urged to decide all cases before them in a manner similar to past decisions. It is contended that this practice interferes with the ability of a judge to determine cases uninfluenced by previous decisions.



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