(1) The activity of the courts with respect to the application of the laws in the resolution of specific cases.
(2) A tendency in the court’s resolution of certain categories of cases, a tendency that takes into consideration the court decisions, primarily by the higher courts, that have acquired the force of law. Judicial practice contributes to uniformity in the courts’ application of the laws. In the USSR, the directives of the plenum of the Supreme Court of the USSR and the plenums of the supreme courts of the Union republics generalize the experience of all courts, give concrete expression to individual norms, and provide instructions to courts on the proper understanding and application of the laws. They also note, through reference to specific cases, the errors of the courts in the resolution of these cases. Pursuant to such instructions, courts throughout the USSR apply the laws in a manner consistent with the laws’ interpretation by the Supreme Court. Judicial practice plays an important role in the improvement of legislation: as the courts apply the laws, they thereby ascertain the efficacy of existing norms and reveal the gaps, contradictions, and other shortcomings in the legislation in force.
In several bourgeois states, judicial practice is regarded as a source of law and acts as the creator of new norms—for example, in the form of a precedent. In the resolution of a specific case, therefore, a court can cite a decision in an analogous case, as published in an official book of jurisprudence.