Judicial Precedent

Topics: Stare decisis, Precedent, Common law Pages: 3 (1048 words) Published: May 4, 2011

Judicial precedent means the process whereby judges follow previously decided cases where the facts are of sufficient similarity. The doctrine of judicial precedent involves an application of the principle of stare decisis ie, to stand by the decided. In practice, this means that inferior courts are bound to apply the legal principles set down by superior courts in earlier cases. This provides consistency and predictability in the law.

It is desirable that similar cases should be decided in a similar manner because consistency is an important element of justice. Moreover, judicial experience is that the practice of following previous decisions result in improved efficiency. The precedent on an issue is the collective body of judicially announced principles that a court should consideration when interpreting the law. When a precedent establishes an important legal principle or representative new or changed law on a particular issue, that precedent is often known as a landmark decisions.

Stare decisis (Anglo-Latin pronunciation): /ˈstɛəri dɨˈsaɪsɨs]) is a legal principle by which judges are obliged to respect the precedents established by prior decisions. The words originate from the phrasing of the principle in the Latin maxim Stare decisis et non quieta movere: "to stand by decisions and not disturb the undisturbed. “In a legal context, this is understood to mean that courts should generally abide by precedents and not disturb settled matters. This doctrine requires a Court to follow rules established by a superior court. The doctrine that holdings have binding precedence value is not valid within most civil law justice as it is generally understood that this principle interferes with the right of judges to interpret law and the right of the legislature to make law Law made by judges:

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