Nepyivoda Vasyl, Nepyivoda Ivanna

Yearly journal of scientific articles Pravova derzhava Volume 31 (2020), 134-143 p.

Nepyivoda Vasyl, Nepyivoda Ivanna. Precedent as a Core Component of Anglo-American Law and Its Penetration into the Legal System of Ukraine

The Anglo-American law have a considerable amount of accomplishments, which have become a worldwide asset. In terms of globalization and interaction, to use these achievements would be beneficial for further development of Ukrainian legal system. However, the very philosophy and reasoning behind the precedent-based common law is different from that in the civil law tradition of which the Ukrainian law is a part. This paper is intended to contribute to the examination how the mechanism of Anglo-American law operates in view of the expediency to introduce some of its elements into the Ukrainian jurisdiction. 

The initial part devoted to the emergence of, and formation of, the common law. It is noted that in the case of common law the influence of Roman law should not be denied. Relying mostly on praetorium ius experience, it has manifested itself in other directions and forms compare to civil law system. Therefore, the both, common law and civil law, despite their differences have been formed on the common ground the Roman legal tradition. Taking into consideration that throughout their history they exchanged fruitful ideas, there is no irreconcilable, "genetic" incompatibility between them. Thus, it would allow to successfully implant certain common law elements, first of all precedent as a source of law, in the body of Ukrainian law, a part of civil law system. 

The paper notes that issues of common law mechanism have never been a priority for scholarly research in Ukraine as in a country of civil law tradition. The inertial influence of the Soviet law has also contributed to this situation. According to the communist ideology and the positivist visions on which the Soviet law was based, the precedent has not been considered as an acceptable legal instrument.

In order to clarify how the mechanism works, the paper provides an overview of precedent and stare decisis doctrine as key components of common law. While a principle of stare decisis binding courts to follow legal precedents in cases with similar circumstances is in the core of Anglo-American law, in civil law systems precedent is not considered as binding. 

This discussion is followed by an analysis of judicial lawmaking. The paper specifies that in the common law systems, courts are not absolutely bound by precedents. In terms of radical changes in political, social or legal areas, they are entitled to re-examine and apply the law differently without legislative intervention, to adapt it to new circumstances. Thus, the Anglo-American legal tradition provides much broader scope for judicial lawmaking than Romano-German law. However, there is no consensus on the range to which it should be extended and to which extent it should rely on precedent. Within the framework of this controversial issue judicial activism and judicial restraint, two opposite philosophies of making a ruling in common law, are addressed. In order to examine the multifaceted nature of correlation between stare decisis principle and judicial lawmaking, the latest experience of the Supreme Court of the United States' on overruling precedents is considered. 

The paper summarizes that, most likely, mixed legal system associated with Nordic countries should be set as the reference point for the movement of Ukraine in this area. Such approach would provide rather broad scope for the operation of the common law elements, while safeguarding its omissions such as unjustified judicial activism.

Key words: common law, precedent, stare decisis, judicial lawmaking, judicial activism, Ukraine.


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