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 ?
Ross was obviously conscious that judicial decisions are based on numerous factors, objective as well as subjective, but he had to exclude those subjective ones in order for his theory to be coherent with his neo- positivistic foundations.
Judge Frank, for example, observed that judicial decision making departed from the scientific process employed for geometry in at least two key ways.
To Justice Scalia, a judicial decision that upsets an owner's settled property interests is a political one, not a legal one.
Other statutes require provision of the grounds on which the judicial decision is based, but not the reasons.
That is, issues should be completely understandable without reference to the facts or other sections of the brief or judicial decision.
The carefully chosen background information in these profiles can help students explore the broader issues of how historical context and a judge's personal background influence judicial decision making.
In Hawaii, where same-sex marriage resulted from legislation rather than judicial decision, some advocates downplayed religious liberty concerns.
This article addressed the judicial decision by Federal District Court Judge John E.
It is clear from the judicial decision that there will be a range of impacts on Canada, from environmental concerns of overfishing, hunting out-of-season, depleting natural resources, to taxation exclusions, and possible economic redress.
They are at the courthouse when a judicial decision is made that they believe has significant interest or implications.
It also enhances judicial integrity by increasing transparency and integrity in the judicial decision and appointment processes.
He said "We have lost the former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in respect of the judicial decision.

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