precedent

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Related to Binding authority: Legal precedent

precedent

Law a judicial decision that serves as an authority for deciding a later case

Precedent

 

in law, a decision delivered by a court in a specific case, the opinion for which becomes a rule that is binding on all courts of the same or lower instance in deciding analogous cases. Soviet law does not recognize precedent and does not permit the decision of criminal cases by analogy, holding that the judicial decision should be based on statutory law alone.

In some countries, including Great Britain, most of the states in the United States, Canada, and Australia, legal precedent is recognized as a source of law and lies at the foundation of the entire legal system. In accordance with the prevailing doctrine in these countries, the judge who creates a legal precedent does not create a legal norm but only formulates that which follows from the common principles of law inherent in human nature. In reality the judge may always reject the application of precedent, citing some insignificant features of the particular case in order to introduce an entirely new rule. The judge also has the freedom to interpret precedent and to select from an enormous number of precedents; in other words, there is an enormous potential for judicial discretion and arbitrary legal actions. In legal writing and in practice, systems of law based on precedent are often called systems of judge-made law.

In a number of bourgeois countries, including France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Belgium, precedent is important for deciding questions of the application of law, filling gaps in the law, and recognizing custom and commercial practices. On the basis of precedent, existing legislation is supplemented, and statutory law is interpreted.

References in periodicals archive ?
The better view appears to be that for purposes of the rule, decisions of the same level of court fall within the notion of binding authority.
154) Regardless, neither represent binding authority, and both are used primarily as educational aides in the judicial review process.
Specialties: "Commercial Lines property/casualty; many markets for small binding authority to larger transactional brokerage.
15) On the other hand, Irenaeus unambiguously rejects the binding authority of the Bible for any part of the Law besides the Decalogue.
The new group, however, will have no binding authority beyond bringing stakeholders to the table to discuss the issues affecting the Internet and its use.
What is true for the prophets is true even for Christ: God's authority is the only binding authority, and without it, no preacher or teacher can do anything.
But it will have no binding authority and Icann will still run the net.
An international forum is to be established to discuss Internet issues, but the forum will not possess any legally binding authority.
Some reinsurers review every risk submitted by a managing underwriter, while others give managing underwriters full binding authority and rely on audits and penalties to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Leitch of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, said statements made by Justice Schnall in her ruling "are not binding authority on the question whether Charter remedies can ever be available in a child protection proceeding.
The Binding Authority Reporting Implementation Guide accommodates the property and household lines of business for U.