The Role of Courts in 'Making' Law in Japan: The Communitarian Conservatism of Japanese Judges
13 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2015
Date Written: June 1, 2013
Courts in Japan have long played a central role in the formation and development of law. Despite some scholarly dissension as to the theory of judicial precedent as a source of law, adherence to judicial precedent is well-established in law and practice, touching nearly all fields of Japanese law.
This essay offers historical perspectives on judicial and legal precedent — from the twelfth century through the Meiji Era, the Taisho and early Showa Eras, and through the postwar period. It discusses the role of precedent and Japan's distinctive pattern of subsequent legislative action affirming judicial precedent (sometimes years later).
This essay is based on an address at the University of Waseda, October 22, 2012.
Keywords: Japan, Japanese law, courts, judicial system, precedent, judge-made law
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