precedent

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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 ?
His body of work on oil is an extraordinary undertaking--a profound and un precedented look at a subject that affects all of our fives," says Paul Roth, senior curator of Photography and Media Arts at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.
Brenner noted that "the noun 'Juif' [Jew] does not need to be precedented by the attribute 'sale' [dirty], as in 'sale Arabe' [dirty Arab] or 'sale negre' [dirty negro]; it has insulting significance in itself" (Brenner 2004, 37, translation from French by the author).
Compare this with what Martin (2006) describes as the traditional managerial approach: (1) an expectation that problems will be recognizable and solvable with precedented methods; (2) reliance on deductive and inductive reasoning alone, because new ideas (abductive reasoning) are not trusted; and (3) self-contained roles--the absence of consultation with peers and customers.
Potential claims for compensation could be way above any precedented damage in the past," says Kit Vaughan, an advisor at the WWF-UK.
Europe may be on foreign soil, but they remain strong favourites to retain the trophy for a nun precedented fourth time.
The opaque nature of Miller coupled with the longevity of its silence on the subject presented the Heller Court with an un precedented tabula rasa.
The process created an un precedented level of capital in the economy that fuelled a real estate boom but led originators to favor quantity over quality for the loans they made and then sold off as securities.
The scheme is joined by a nun precedented amount of hotels in the planning or building stage to enable more visitors, tourists and business people to stay in Chester, in turn spending money within the local economy.
17) Such confidence links Stevens to contemporaries like Jean Paulhan, moreover, as well as to later thinkers like Cavell: in The Flowers of Tarbes, Paulhan, whose work Stevens knew well, argues that a reassertion of rhetoric can overcome the "terror" (79) (18) of dualistic skepticism with a conscious adoption of the familiar and precedented.
This was met with a statement of rarely precedented force and persuasiveness from Given and fellow goalkeeper Steve Harper yesterday as the club's longestserving players clarified the situation at St James's Park.
1914 and 1915 were lean years of unemployment scarcely precedented in the history of the country.
This type of effect is well precedented in homogeneous complexes between arenes and metals.