The applicability of precedent is dependent on four main rules: ratio decidendi, obiter dictum, binding precedent, and persuasive precedent.
This legal maxim translates to “the reasoning behind the decision”. The judge’s ratio decidendi is what forms precedent, rather than sanction or remedy handed down.
This legal maxim refers to additional statements made by the court that do not form part of the “ratio decidendi”. These statements, on legal issues, may be persuasive on the future decisions of courts.
Lower courts are bound to follow precedent set by higher courts in the same hierarchy for like cases. The principle of “stare decisis” (to stand by what has been decided). Therefore, for precedent to be binding, it must satisfy three criteria
Persuasive precedent means that courts do not have to follow a particular court-made decision, but may be influenced by it. For a precedent to be persuasive, it may satisfy any of four criteria:
Difficulties in applying past decisions
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