Judicial Precedent in Emerging Constitutional Jurisdictions: Formulating a Doctrine of Constitutional Stare Decisis for Singapore
(2020) 7(1) Journal of International and Comparative Law 127
Posted: 12 Aug 2020
Date Written: November 24, 2017
The binding effect of judicial precedents in constitutional law — constitutional stare decisis — raises unique considerations. Being authoritative pronouncements on the proper interpretation of the Constitution, judicial precedents are essential for the effective working of constitutional governance as components of constitutional law: but they are merely judicial precedents and as such susceptible to being overturned. These considerations have been the subject of significant attention in mature constitutional jurisdictions. For instance, in the US Supreme Court, there is a well-established doctrinal framework within which stare decisis operates. However, there does not appear to be in younger constitutional democracies the same serious consideration of how the doctrine of stare decisis should operate in the area of constitutional law. This paper aims to investigate how younger constitutional jurisdictions, such as Singapore, can draw upon the experience of other jurisdictions in this regard, and will seek to propose a principled constitutional stare decisis framework that builds upon such experience and is normatively justifiable in the Singapore context.
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