V1.242 Precedent

The doctrine of precedent is dependent on a strict hierarchy of the courts. A court is bound by a decision of a court above it and usually by an earlier decision by a court of equivalent standing. Superior courts have the power to overrule decisions of lower courts. Decisions of lower courts are of merely persuasive authority in higher courts.

The binding element in a decision is its ratio decidendi, ie the statement of the principles of law applicable to the case in question. Findings of fact are not binding; neither is the judgment (other than on the parties involved)1. Statements or opinions made as obiter dicta, ie not essential to the decision, have persuasive authority.

Decisions made per incuriam (through lack of care) are not

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