Precedent in Pakistani Law

Precedent in Pakistani Law
Muhammad Munir
Oxford University Press Pakistan 2014 

In the Common Law system, it is the doctrine of ‘precedent’ which courts depend upon, more than any other legal doctrine, while arriving at their decisions. The elements that constitute the doctrine of precedent are numerous and complex. Despite its considerable importance in the Pakistani legal system, the operation of this doctrine has so far drawn little academic attention. This work bridges that gap. It thoroughly examines the history, origin and context of this doctrine, as well as the rules which guide its operation in Pakistan in the Supreme Court, the High Courts, the Federal Shariat Court, and various tribunals, with examples and analysis of case law. How is the ratio of a precedent case determined? What is the interpretation of Article 189 of the Constitution of Pakistan? Are decisions of the Supreme Court binding on the Supreme Court itself? Are the lower courts bound by the dictum of the Supreme Court? Are there decisions of the Supreme Court that are not binding on lower courts? What is the position of Superior Courts in India and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) on all these issues? What value should be attached to precedent in criminal cases? Can the Supreme Court, the High Courts, and the Federal Shariat Court overrule their own previous decisions? And is the practice of the higher courts in Pakistan—under Articles 189, 201, and 203 GG—in conformity with Islamic law? These are some of the questions, vital to understand the operation of precedent in Pakistani law, which are discussed in this work.

About the Author / Editor

Dr Muhammad Munir is Associate Professor at the Department of Law, International Islamic University, Islamabad. He holds a PhD from the University of Karachi, LLM in International Law from Stockholm University, and LLB as well as LLM from International Islamic University, Islamabad. Dr Munir has won the Government of Pakistan Higher Education Commission’s Best University Teacher Award for the year 2003; Outstanding Research Paper Award for the year 2005–2006, and 2011. He has presented papers in conferences and has spoken in numerous seminars and workshops abroad, including in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, India, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, and South Africa. Dr Munir is the author of over twenty-five journal articles on Jurisprudence, Muslim Personal Law, and Islamic International Law.