Stare decisis

4 definitions found for this term.
Definitions are presented in the order source books were published (most recent first).

The principle by which decisions of a higher court are binding on and must be followed by lower courts.


Literally “to stand by things decided,” stare decisis is a rule that requires judges to follow or obey the rulings of other judges higher in the judicial hierarchy and is similar to the concept of a binding judicial precedent. When the facts in Case A are similar to Case B, the judge in Case B must follow the ruling in Case A if the judge in Case A is from a higher court in the same jurisdiction.


The legal doctrine that obligates a lower court to follow and apply the decisions and precedents of a higher and superior court in the same judicial hierarchy.


A common law doctrine requiring courts to abide by prior decisions in future cases disclosing the same facts; a rule of binding precedent elevating judicial decisions to a source of law; specifically not applicable in international law, such that international judicial decisions are not a formal source of international law.

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