It seems that often statutes are binding on courts even if neither party is aware of our calls the court’s attention to them. They will proactively introduce the relevant provisions into the equation of the case and apply them to it to often alter the outcome of their ruling. Furthermore sometimes the judicial procedural rules, processes, and official forms are crafted specially to account for certain provisions within the statutes.
However, while case law is seemingly in principle just as much “law” as statutes are, and courts are fully bound by the principle of stare decisis, I have never heard of official court forms being updated to reflect even massively influential landmark case rulings.
And if one or more of these precedent cases are seen to be relevant to that sub judice and cited as authorities by one of the parties to a case, then the court is bound to consider and honour its implications. Yet that are countless myriad such cases all of which may have some arguable shade of relevance to any given present case. What if there is one that has a massive impact on the current case at hand and yet neither parties’ solicitors had come across it in their research and so neither had presented it to the court or relied upon it in their submissions? Does the court generally do its own research of this type or not? And, irrespective of that, suppose that no research was necessary and that the judge deliberating on the matter had happened to be familiar from his own past experience with a relevant case precedent that might fundamentally alter the outcome of this one. Is he either permitted or expected to consider and cite it in his ruling?
In any event, the two aspects of this question, which I imagine as merely two different distinct angles of the same fundamental question, are:
Can courts be expected to consider precedent case law authorities that are not presented to them by any of the parties?
And if they don’t, but some such precedent has the effect of causing the court’s ruling to be wrong by violating the imperative of stare decisis, then may this constitute valid and compelling grounds for appeal if the arguments weren’t presented in submissions in the first place?