An abbreviation of the maxim 'stare decisis at non quieta movere', which translates as 'to stand by things decided and not disturb settled points'.
The doctrine of stare decisis, or binding precedent, is the principle by which judges are bound by decisions of superior courts. In the context of the civil courts in England and Wales, the emphasis is on the hierarchy of the courts and its application can be summarised as follows:
• all courts below the Supreme Court are bound by its decisions and all courts below the Court of Appeal are bound by the Court of Appeal's decisions
• a High Court judge is not bound by decisions of other High Court judges. The modern practice though is that such a judge should follow such a judgment unless convinced it is wrong
• decisions of High Court judges are binding on County Court judges