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Flashcards in Judicial Precedent - Doctrine Deck (12):

What is precedent?

Earlier actions are seen as an example to be considered in future similar circumstances based on the separation of powers judges and Lords. “Standing by”/“following” decisions made in previous similar cases.


What is judicial precedent?

Laws made by judges (decisions made that have to be followed by lower courts).


What is judicial precedent based on?

“Stare decisis et non quieta movere”, meaning “stand by what has been said and don’t unsettle the established”.


Why is treating similar cases in the same way good good?

Promotes certainty and fairness in law.


What is the ratio decidendi of a case?

"Reason for deciding", judges deliver a judgement setting out the legal principles used to come to the decision. Judge gives legal reasons for making the decisions and is binding – Donoghue v Stevenson – DoC.


What else can ratio decidendi be said to be?

The statement of law in relation to the case the judge is hearing. Essential to judicial precedent as it's binding precedent.


What's the issue with finding the ratio decidendi of a case?

Can be hard to find for a judge in a later case – no headings in the judgement dividing the ratio decidendi form obiter dicta.


Why is multiple judges hearing a case an issue with the ratio decidendi of a case?

In appeal courts there's more than one judge hearing the case so there may be more than one ratio decidendi for a judge in a later case to consider.


What is the rest of the judgement that isn't ratio decidendi called?

“Obiter dicta”, meaning “other things said”.


What do obiter dicta statements consist of?

Hypothetical discussions of law that isn't needed for the judge to reach his decision and isn't a statement of law.


Are obiter dicta statement statements binding?

No but can be persuasive precedent – can be followed in future cases but doesn't have to be.


Why are obiter dicta statements essential for judicial precedent?

It helps to develop law – if an obiter dicta statement is followed in a future case, it becomes ratio decidendi of said case and so becomes binding precedent.