Proceeding according to precedent

by Andrea Elizabeth

Chancery, which knows no wisdom but in precedent, is very rich in such precedents; and why should one [victim] be different from ten thousand?

Charles Dickens, Bleak House

Dickens is known as a social reformer, in this case, of the legal system. In order to lead reform, you have to vilify the status quo. Contrarily, Orthodoxy exalts its precedents and believes that what is not broken does not need fixing. I think my problem here is with the seeming vilification of the word “precedent”. Some are bad and some aren’t.

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