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Practice Statement [1966] 3 All ER 77

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The 1966 Practice Statement is binding on the Supreme Court of Justice?


It is even more binding now as the judiciary has found a new lease of life totally independent from the legislature and the executive.


Stolen from Wikpedia –


Practice Statement [1966] 3 All ER 77, was a statement made in the House of Lords by Lord Gardiner, L.C., on July 26, 1966 on behalf of himself and the Lords of Appeal in ordinary. Until 1966, the House of Lords in the United Kingdom was bound to follow all of its previous decisions under the principle of stare decisis, even if this created "injustice" and "unduly restrict(s) the proper development of the law" (London Tramways Co. v London City Council [1898] AC 375). The Practice Statement 1966 is authority for the House of Lords to depart from their previous decisions. It does not affect the precedential value of cases in lower courts; all other courts that recognise the House of Lords as the court of last resort are still bound by House of Lords decisions. Before this, the only way a binding precedent could be avoided was to create new legislation on the matter.


This is the text of the Practice Statement:


Their Lordships regard the use of precedent as an indispensable foundation upon which to decide what is the law and its application to individual cases. It provides at least some degree of certainty upon which individuals can rely in the conduct of their affairs, as well as a basis for orderly development of legal rules.


Their Lordships nevertheless recognise that too rigid adherence to precedent may lead to injustice in a particular case and also unduly restrict the proper development of the law. They propose therefore, to modify their present practice and, while treating formal decisions of this house as normally binding, to depart from a previous decision when it appears to be right to do so.


In this connection they will bear in mind the danger of disturbing retrospectively the basis on which contracts, settlement of property, and fiscal arrangements have been entered into and also the especial need for certainty as to the criminal law.


This announcement is not intended to affect the use of precedent elsewhere than in this House.


— Lord Gardiner's statement in the House of Lords, July 26, 1966.


Beginning of rant......................


In the recent case of The Office of Fair Trading (Respondents) v Abbey National plc & Others [2009] UKSC 6, the Supreme Court was extremely careful to say that their Lordships’ judgment did not “close the door on the OFT’s investigations and “may well not resolve the myriad cases that are currently stayed in which customers have challenged [bank Charges].” (para.61 of the Supreme Court judgment). Lady Hale even suggested that the lack of competition was the cause of the present bank charges problems. (Para.93 of the Supreme Court judgment)


These two statements alone recognise that it is time for the Government to act and amend the ridiculous wording of Reg 6(2) upon which the SCOJ made their very narrow decision and suggests that the 1966 Practice Statement should be followed in line with their Lordships dicta of the time “when it appears right to do so”.


Assessment of fairness by the OFT, although the Supreme Court decision has prevented the OFT from applying any finding of unfairness for the purposes of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regs 1999 and in line with the Practice Statement this would give the Government an opportunity to further develop the law in respect of the strictures of the current version of the UTCCR Regs particularly the wording of Reg 6(2).


Again from Wikipedia - The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is a non-ministerial government department of the United Kingdom, established by the Fair Trading Act 1973, which enforces both consumer protection and competition law, acting as the UK's economic regulator. Clearly and despite being able to asses the fairness of credit card charges this ludicrous piece of legislation weak in comparison to some of or European brethren denies the OFT the opportunity to do what the consumer expects it to do in respect of bank charges and also follow the legally binding rules of the 1973 Act.


In (Para.52 of the Supreme Court judgment) Lord Walker clearly stated that if the Banks appeal was allowed that it would cause great disappointment to a very large number of bank customers who felt they had been subject to unfairly high charges. He further went on to say “But this decision is not the end of the matter as Lord Phillips explained in his judgement. Moreover Ministers and Parliament may wish to consider the matter further. They decided, in an era of so called “light touch” regulation, to transpose the Directive as it stood rather than to confer the higher degree of consumer protection afforded by the national laws of some other member states. Parliament may wish to consider whether to revisit that decision.”– once again giving weight to the intention of the their Lordships when publishing the Practice Statement in respect of injustice in a particular case and unduly restrict further development of the law.




We need a class action and I am sending this to my MP

Edited by EricTheRed
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