Stare decisis

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Stare decisis (Anglo-Latin pronunciation: /ˈstɛəri dɨˈsaɪsɨs]) is a legal principle by which judges are obliged to respect the precedents established by prior decisions. The words originate from the phrasing of the principle in the Latin maxim Stare decisis et non quieta movere: "to stand by decisions and not disturb the undisturbed."[1] In a legal context, this is understood to mean that courts should generally abide by precedents and not disturb settled matters.[1]

This doctrine requires a Court to follow rules established by a superior court.

The doctrine that holdings have binding precedence value is not valid within most civil law jurisdictions as it is generally understood that this principle interferes with the right of judges to interpret law and the right of the legislature to make law.[citation needed] Most such systems, however, recognize the concept of jurisprudence constante, which argues that even though judges are independent, they should judge in a predictable and non-chaotic manner. Therefore, judges' right to interpret law does not preclude the adoption of a small number of selected binding case laws.



The principle of stare decisis can be divided into two components. The first is the rule that a decision made by a superior court is binding precedent (also known as mandatory authority) which an inferior court cannot change. The second is the principle that a court should not overturn its own precedents unless there is a strong reason to do so and should be guided by principles from lateral and inferior courts. The second principle, regarding persuasive precedent, is an advisory one which courts can and do ignore occasionally.[2]

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