Stare Decisis, Ratio Decidendi, and Obiter Dicta

Stare decisis, ratio decidendi, and obiter dicta are all important legal concepts that are used in common law jurisdictions such as England and Wales. They are related to the way that legal precedents are created and applied by courts.

Stare decisis is a Latin phrase that means "let the decision stand". It is the principle that a court is bound by the decisions of or higher courts in the same hierarchy and by its own previous decisions. This means that when a court is deciding a case, it must follow the legal precedent set by higher courts or its own previous decisions in similar cases. This ensures consistency and predictability in the law.

Ratio decidendi is another Latin phrase that means "the reason for the decision". It refers to the legal principle or rule that is used by a court to reach its decision in a case. The ratio decidendi is the part of the decision that is binding on lower courts in the same hierarchy and on future cases with similar facts. It is the legal principle that provides the basis for the decision.

Obiter dicta is a Latin phrase that means "things said by the way". It refers to comments or opinions made by a judge in a court decision that are not essential to the decision or the ratio decidendi. Obiter dicta may be persuasive, but they are not binding on lower courts or future cases. They are simply the judge's personal views on the matter and are not part of the legal precedent.

In short, stare decisis, ratio decidendi, and obiter dicta are all important legal concepts used in common law jurisdictions. Stare decisis ensures consistency and predictability in the law by binding lower courts to the decisions of higher courts and their own previous decisions.
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