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Doctrine of Judicial Precedent

The judges in the lower courts follow the practice of following the decisions already decided by the higher courts. The process when the judges follow the decisions of the previously decided cases we call it as Judicial Precedent (Chaney and Martin 2013).

The doctrine is a source of law where the past decisions regarded as law for the judges to decide in any similar case in future. The doctrine of judicial precedent based on the principle of ‘stare decisis’, which means stand by decided matters. The principle means that the lower court is bound to follow the legal principles laid down by the higher court in the past decisions in the similar cases. The application of the principle requires following the hierarchy of the courts and the past decisions need are published (Huat and Kuen-Chor 2014).

The doctrine of judicial precedent helps us in making our decisions and plans to setup the case accordingly. Moreover, there is uniformity as the similar cases treated in similar manner. However, there is much advantage in its application it has certain disadvantages too, like certain cases has many issues but not all issues are similar to the precedent available, so it becomes difficult for the judges to decide cases in such situation (Chen and Chua 2014). Hence, the doctrine of ratio decidendi and obiter dictum both will be applicable in such situation.  

In the English Common Law, there are certain legal principles of law, which administers the strict rules of law to achieve ‘natural justice’.

The High Court of Chancery developed the concept of ‘equity’ in England to exercise its extra ordinary jurisdiction. Equity is a modern legal doctrine to serve the old coercive laws. Equity aims at achieving the common goals of the law i.e. fairness, justice and good conscience. To control the rigidity of the common law the equity system of law developed (Carroll and Buchholtz 2014).

There are wide ranges of remedies available under the equity system such as:

Rectification:  Refers to an order to the defendant to modify a document or to make changes.

Injunctions: When a court refrain a party from doing a wrong, the order that the court gives, termed as injunctions (Mundial 2013).

Restitution: The court orders the defendant to restore lost or stolen to the actual owner.

Specific performance: When the court order force the defendant perform a job, which has omitted or not willing to perform (Peng 2016).

However, the above-referred remedies are to the discretion of the court and the court will decide with reasons, which the court thinks just and fair.

The doctrine of promissory estoppels evolved to remove injustice, it does not fall in the part of contract nor estoppels. This principle is applied in case of breach of contract or case against the government. The doctrine may also be called as equitable estoppels, quasi estoppels and new estoppels (Besley 2015).

Section 2(b) of the Indian Contract Act When an offer is accepted it becomes a promise. The person who offers or makes the proposal is the promisee and the person who accept the offer or proposal in the promisor (Ghemawat 2016).

Equity

The principle, which stops a person from denying what he has said previously, Known as estoppels. Estoppel is a principle of equity. A new type of estoppels has been evolved from the judgment of Lord Denning in the landmark case of High Tress case. In the referred case, one party promises the other of doing an act which changes there legal relationship between them and after the stipulated time the party who gave the assurance is not allowed to change its decision, as if no such promise been made by him, but he has to accept their legal relation (Goode, Kronke and McKendrick 2015). However, the principle creates no cause of action which says that where a promise is made without consideration the promisee cannot sue the promisor on the basis of the promise. This principle is known as Promissory Estoppels (Coelho 2015).

Yes, P can claim full rental as D has not given any additional consideration in lieu of the promise to accept reduced rental from D. As per the principle of promissory estoppels if D has not provided any additional consideration for P’s promise to accept less and in that case, P can change his decision. As per the P’s claim, the arrangement was temporary and was valid until the flats get occupied. So after the Second World War was over in 1944, the flats were occupied again by the middle of 1945 so the original rental should apply from 1945 onwards. Hence as per the Claim of P, D will have to pay original rent starting from 1945. The court in this case has decided that the rent waiver was for a temporary period as the World War was going on, Therefore it is unjust to raise the rent back to the original amount after the war.

Whether the Farny Bus Company is liable to pay compensation for the loss or damage to the property kept in their responsibility.

Exclusion clause is the term applicable in this case. The term in a contract, this cuts-off one of the parties from the liability. The term is included in a contract to exclude the liability for breach of contract. The party must expressly incorporate such clause in the contract. The expressly denotes that one party to the contract will not be liable for certain happenings or non-happenings (Yau and Johnstone 2014).

The clause will be valid if it satisfies two conditions, firstly, it should be properly and expressly included in the contract and secondly, the clause cannot contradict any other law.

In Thornton Vs Shoe Lane Parking ltd. It has been held that mere writing over the ticket or document will not exclude the contractor from his liability, the contractor before entering into contract shall do anything which will aware the other party entering into contract. So by the fact of the case the bus company did not aware its customer Brigitte about the exclusion of its liability in case of lost or damages of the luggage’s and that they shall pay $100 or the value of the goods whichever is less. Therefore, it can be said that the bus company is liable for the loss or damage made to the property of Brigitte and shall have to pay compensation to him (Faúndez 2016).

Promissory Estoppels

Now, the amount of compensation can be determined in two ways, Firstly, the parties to the contract can negotiate and fix an amount for any loss or damage made to their property before entering into contract for which the contracting parties is not necessary to go to courts. In the other way, the court can determine the amount of actual loss or damage. The court determines such amount by the following principles. The court will look into the matter and will determine that whether it should be a penalty or a genuine estimate of the loss. If it is a genuine estimate of loss, the court will ask to pay the said contracted amount, even if the loss is more or less. However, if the court feels that the estimate of the loss is not genuine and that there is a lot of breaches to the contract the court will impose penalty to the amount it thinks reasonable.

Conclusion:

Brigitte is advisable to sue the bus company before the court and ask for penalty as they have made breach of contract by way of negligence.

Whether Lam can initiate claim for compensation from Slory Pte Ltd.

The law applicable in the referred case is employees or workers compensation. Lam was working as employee in Slory Pte Ltd. The accident occurred in the course of employment.

Nearly all the countries have such beneficial legislation for its workers. The main objective of such legislation is to provide medical benefits as well as financial benefits. Employees who suffer injuries in the course of employment are entitled to receive such benefits. However, there are certain guidelines for determining the benefits that whether such injury or illness comes under the purview of compensation (Kowalczyk 2016).

Under the Workmen Compensation beneficial legislations, it is irrelevant to look into the fault of employer or employee, only thing that is to be considered is that the injury caused and the injury caused in the course of employment. If a worker or employee is injured in the course of employment then he/ she has the right to claim compensation from the employer, because the benefits help the injured and their family to survive the sudden hardship caused due to the employees injury (Hooper et al. 2016).

In the referred case, Lan was an employee of the Slory Pte Ltd. He has the duty to keep the premises clean. At the time of the performing his duty he got dislodged from the wooden steps and fell down for which he has fractured his leg. So the employee was in the course of employment when the accident took place. Again It has been said that the employers of the said company had previously informed the employees over the mail that too use the elevators instead of the wooden steps, but generally a cleaner does not use mail even if he has an official mail then too the elevator were being serviced on the day the incident happened. Thus, there was no other option left except the wooden steps.

Application of the Doctrines in Legal Cases

Conclusion:

Hence, it is advised that Lan is entitled to claim under the workmen’s beneficiary legislations against Slory Pte Ltd.

As per the beneficial laws of the workers compensation the Lam is supposed to get the compensation from the employer. Nearly all the countries have such beneficial legislation for its workers. The main objective of such legislation is to provide medical benefits as well as financial benefits. Employees who suffer injuries in the course of employment are entitled to receive such benefits. However, there are certain guidelines for determining the benefits that whether such injury or illness comes under the purview of compensation.

Under the Workmen Compensation beneficial legislations, it is irrelevant to look into the fault of employer or employee, only thing that is to be considered is that the injury caused and the injury caused in the course of employment (Garcia 2016). If a worker or employee is injured in the course of employment then he/ she has the right to claim compensation from the employer, because the benefits help the injured and their family to survive the sudden hardship caused due to the employees injury (Henkel 2014).

Therefore, Lam is supposed to receive compensation from the employer.

The second part of the question says that if Sim and Tom operate their business as a partnership will they have to pay compensation.

The answer would be that whether it is partnership or company, any employer is liable to pay compensation for any accident or injury cause to the employee.  

Agency can be defined as the relationship in which one party Is the principle who appoints the other party as agent to represent on behalf of the principle to the third party (Goode 2016).

In law of agency, the principle delegates some of the work to be done on its behalf.  Before we go into the relationship between the parties, we can define the parties and their relationship (Huat and Kuen-Chor 2014).

Principal:  He is the person who authorizes another to perform certain duties on his behalf.

Agent: He is the person who is authorized by the principal to perform certain duties on his behalf (Chen and Chua 2014).

Third Party: He is the person who is not a party to a lawsuit or agreement but is someone related to the principal parties (Carroll and Buchholtz 2014).

Agency authority can be created by the following different modes:

  • Firstly, Agency by Express agreement i.e. many contracts come under this purview. It may oral, documentary or by way of power of attorney.
  • Secondly, Agency by operation of law, sometimes contract of agency comes into effect by operation of law. For example partners in a partnership firm.
  • Thirdly, Agency by ratification means adoption by subsequent means. Principal agent relations come only after ratification. For example, A has purchased goods for B without A’s authority but A after knowing supported B’s decision, this is called ratification.
  • Lastly, Agency by implied authority is a type of agency, which comes into effect by the conduct of the parties (Mundial 2013).

Agency by implied authority is of three types:

  • Agency by necessity;
  • Agency by Estoppel; &
  • Agency by Holding out.

Therefore, these are the ways by which agency authority is created. As per the referred case study Jinglery is the agent of a training and development firm located in Shenton Way and Hagia Mona Catering Pte Ltd is the third party here.

The principle of ostensible authority apparent authority also called as ostensible authority is related to the principle of law of agency. The term refers to a situation where the third party easily understands the authority of the agent to act. This means that a principal knowing that the agent has no authority is bound by his acts (Peng 2016).

In the case of Freeman and Lockyer v Buckhurst Park Properties Ltd, Diplock LJ has provided four factors, which will prove that the company is bound by the acts of the agent:

  • Firstly, if the agent makes it clear that he has the authority to enter into any contract on behalf of the company;
  • Secondly, the person who has actual authority to deal in general or with such matters;
  • Thirdly, the person who actually dealt with the third party has induced him to believe that he has authority to enter into such contract;
  • Lastly, the memorandum or articles of association should contain the capacity to enter into such contract;

The fact of the case goes like this that the Jinglery is a catering service manager in a training and development firm and has been given the authority to arrange for food and beverages for a conference. Jinglery gave the order of the catering to Hagia Mona Catering Pte Ltd. The Conference would require having foods of $6000 but Jinglery orders foods for $ 10000 and planned to serve food of $ 6000 in the conference and $4000 foods for his private party and this was done without the knowledge of the principal. Later an employee get to know of the fact and informed the principal.

From the above fact it can concluded that the principal company is liable to pay the full amount. The reasons being:

  • Firstly,  Jinglery was authorized to order and arrange such foods for the conference;
  • Secondly, Jinglery has an actual authority to act or perform on behalf of the principal;
  • Thirdly, Jinglery has induced the third party to believe that he has full authority in connection to the food orders;
  • Fourthly; the relationship between the three are Principal, agent and third party.

In this case  the agent committed the wrong and as we know that in tort any wrong committed by the agent makes the principal liable. Therefore, the principal is liable to pay the full amount to the third party.

References:

Besley, T., 2015. Law, regulation, and the business climate: The nature and influence of the World Bank Doing Business project. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(3), pp.99-120.

Carroll, A. and Buchholtz, A., 2014. Business and society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Nelson Education.

Chaney, L. and Martin, J., 2013. Intercultural business communication. Pearson Higher Ed.

CHEN, S. and Chua, E., 2014. International Encyclopaedia of Laws: Civil Procedure (Singapore).

Coelho, F.U., 2015. Legal certainty and Commercial Law: a comparative perspective (common law x civil law). IALS Student Law Review, 2(2), pp.3-7.

Faúndez, J. ed., 2016. Good government and law: Legal and institutional reform in developing countries. Springer.

Garcia, F.J., 2016. Global Commercial Law: Does it Exist? What is It? Why Does it Matter?.

Ghemawat, P., 2016. The Laws of Globalization and Business Applications. Cambridge University Press.

Goode, R., 2016. Private Commercial Law Conventions And Public And Private International Law: The Radical Approach Of The Cape Town Convention 2001 And Its Protocols:Law2012

. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 65(03), pp.523-540.

Goode, R., Kronke, H. and McKendrick, E., 2015. Transnational commercial law. Oxford University Press,.

Henkel, C., 2014. Personal Guarantees between Commercial Law and Consumers in the United States.

Hooper, R., Sutton, C., Callaghan, S., Plank, G., Penney, E. and Pogorelsky, N., 2016. Research paper Commercial Law and Justice as an investable.

Huat, T.C. and Kuen-Chor, K. eds., 2014. Handbook of Singapore—Malaysian Corporate Finance. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Kowalczyk, W., 2016. On the Use of Comparative Law by Judges in Private and Commercial Law Cases. Studia Iuridica, (62), pp.169-179.

Mundial, B., 2013. Doing business 2013: smarter regulations for small and medium-size enterprises. The World Bank.

Peng, M.W., 2016. Global business. Cengage learning.

Yau, B. and Johnstone, A., 2014. Focus grouping attitudes towards commercial law in three legal communities: comparing attitudes of professional legal training students to those of undergraduates and early career commercial lawyers.

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[Accessed 23 February 2024].

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