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How Law Works$
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Ross Cranston

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780199292073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199292073.001.0001

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(p.106) 4 Courts
How Law Works

Ross Cranston

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a discussion of the social ramifications of court decisions. It adopts a ‘systems’ approach, exploring the ‘inputs’ of the civil courts in England and Wales. It then explains how decisions are made in relation to these inputs, before turning to the results of these decisions (the ‘outputs’). Furthermore, two issues of outputs are discussed: first, the outcome of cases for the parties involved, and secondly, whether those outcomes have an impact on wider social behaviour. The approach taken throws some light on the questions which the other approaches address, for example, the nature of rights in practice, how legal rules are applied, and the functions of law in society. Moreover, it determines significant areas in the operation of the civil courts of which there is presently a substantial ignorance. It is stated that courts have a significant role in reminding society, especially speaking to those with power, of the importance of values such as equality before the law, the need to respect civil, political, human, and social rights and that acting in accordance with law is a cardinal feature of liberal democratic society.

Keywords:   civil courts, court decisions, England, Wales, inputs, outputs, legal rules, rights, equality

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