precedent

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precedent

Law a judicial decision that serves as an authority for deciding a later case
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(140.) It has been argued, for example, that in order to be legitimate, a judicial decision must also comport with morality.
As a consequence, those studies offer less insight into how judicial decisions are made.
Their judicial decisions are important in shaping the common law in that they apply or clarify the law, thereby establishing precedents including sentencing (criminal) and range of damages (civil).
(82) No judicial decision discussed whether Congress should have banned slavery or the slave trade in the District of Columbia, or could have established a slave code in the territories.
The judicial decision's citation may consist of only the most important reference, such as the cite to an official government reporter series, and the date of the opinion's issue.
Given that schools are one of the only places that young people can observe firsthand the relationship between judicial decision making and enforcement, it seems especially important for teachers on their own to address this with their students.
The complicated nature of judicial decision research has generated multiple theoretical approaches.
Consequently for Ross the statement concerning validity of a given rule is a prediction to the effect that this rule will become a basis of future judicial decisions. Thus instead of deriving legal validity form a priori principles, Ross based his theory only on empirical facts.
Other organisations were dissolved pursuant to a judicial decision, he said.
NORTHERN Ireland's top judge has said some Stormont ministers have a "lack of political regard for independent judicial decision making".
Such independent judicial decision making contains sound legal analysis and is constitutionally necessary.
He said that that in cases where a judicial decision is issued to have access to personal data, a judge is sent to the place of record-keeping at the concerned security department to see only the data concerning the judicial ruling.

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