These sample sentences are automatically selected from various online information sources to reflect the current use of the word « case law ». The views expressed in the examples do not represent the views of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us your feedback. What is the effect of case law? Here are some important examples: When a case is challenged in a higher court, the decision of the lower court may be: Case law (or precedent) is a law made by the courts and decided by the judges. The case law operates on the principle of stare decisis, which literally means « to stick to decisions ». This principle means that a court must obey and apply the law as set out in decisions rendered by higher courts in previous cases. The legal systems of the Nordic countries are sometimes regarded as civil law systems, but as a separate branch and sometimes as distinct from the civil law tradition. In Sweden, for example, case law may play a more important role than in some continental codified legal systems. The two highest courts, the Supreme Court (Högsta domstolen) and the Supreme Administrative Court (Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen), have the right to set precedents which, in practice (but not formally), are binding on any future application of the law.
Courts of appeal, whether general courts (hovrätter) or administrative courts (kammarrätter), may also issue decisions that serve as guidelines for the application of the law, but these decisions may be overturned by higher courts. Much of the case law is used to prove the existence of a statute and not, unlike many common law jurisdictions, the creation of a statute. Case law refers to the legal principles developed by judicial decisions. Unlike laws, which are contained in statutes and enacted through the legislative process, jurisprudence arises from the aggregation of judicial opinions that interpret the law and apply it to individual cases. In the U.S. legal system, decisions of higher courts are binding on lower courts. Courts also adhere to stare decisis, which generally requires courts to follow the precedent of previous court decisions. Because the U.S. legal system has a common law system, superior court decisions bind lower courts in cases involving similar facts that raise similar issues. The notion of precedent or stare decisis means following or respecting cases already decided during the evaluation of the case by the Bar Association. This means that appellate jurisprudence must be regarded as binding on the lower courts.
When several members of a court decide a case, one or more judgments may be rendered (or revoked). Only the reason for the majority`s decision can set a binding precedent, but all can be cited as persuasive, or their reasoning can be adopted into an argument. In addition to the rules of procedure relating to precedents, the weight given to a reported judgment may depend on the reputation of the reporting judge and the judges. [ref. needed] The different role of jurisprudence in civil and customary traditions leads to differences in the way courts make decisions. Common law courts generally explain in detail the legal basis for their decisions, citing both legislation and relevant prior judgments, and often interpret broader principles of law. The necessary analysis (called ratio decidendi) then sets a precedent that binds the other courts; The additional analyses, which are not strictly necessary for the decision in the present case, are called obiter dicta, which constitute a convincing authority but are not technically binding. On the other hand, decisions in civil courts tend to be shorter and concern only laws. The reason for this difference is that these civil courts follow a tradition that the reader should be able to draw logic from the decision and the laws.
Finally, a decision in another case may be set aside – A court may expressly annul the ratio decidendi of the decision of a lower court in another case. In Latin, stare decisis means « to stick to things decided ». In the American legal system, this Latin expression represents the « doctrine of precedent, according to which a court must follow previous decisions when the same points recur in a dispute ». (Black`s Law Dictionary, 11th edition) As a general rule, a court only deviates from precedent if there is a compelling reason. Under « vertical » stare decisis, decisions of the highest court in a jurisdiction set a convincing precedent for the lower courts of that court to follow. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court sets a binding precedent that all other federal courts must follow (and that all state courts must follow in matters of constitutional interpretation). Similarly, a state`s highest court sets a compelling precedent for the state`s lower courts.
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