Cases with similar scenarios and facts must be approached in the same way, as
required by Stare Decisis. This legal doctrine obligates courts to follow
historical cases while making a ruling on a similar case. Previous decisions set
legal precedents that bind courts to follow them, in a nutshell.
Stare Decisis is a legal doctrine that obliges courts to follow historical cases
in deciding a similar case.
Similar jurisdictions must follow the precedents of other like cases, according
to the principle of stare decisis.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land; therefore, all states rely
on Supreme Court precedent.
In legal terms, Stare Decisis is a principle that means "let's stick with what
we decided before." When a court makes a decision on a specific legal issue,
that decision becomes a kind of rule that should be followed in similar cases.
Stare Decisis is the policy of the court to stand by precedent. The phrase 'Stare Decisis' is shortened from the Latin phrase 'stare decisis et non
quieta movere,' which means 'to stand by decisions and not disturb settled
Characteristics of Stare Decisis
The main characteristics of Stare Decisis are as follows:
Concept of Stare Decisis
- Binding Precedent: Think of a rule in a game that everyone must follow. When a court makes a decision, it's like creating a rule for that specific situation. Other courts, particularly lower ones, should then follow that rule in similar situations.
- Hierarchy of Rules: Legal system hierarchy is often compared to a tower with various levels. At the top, the highest court establishes the most significant rules that lower courts must adhere to. Appellate courts, positioned in the middle, create rules that trial courts, located at the bottom level, are obligated to follow.
- Making Exceptions: There are instances where the current circumstances differ from those when a particular rule was established. In such cases, a court may conclude that the situation is distinct from previous rulings and therefore not bound by the old rule.
- Updating the Rules: In cases where a court deems an outdated rule to be fundamentally flawed, they have the authority to declare, "We will no longer adhere to this rule." This is akin to modifying the rules of a game that were deemed nonsensical.
- Ensuring Fairness: Maintaining fairness and predictability within the legal system is crucial, and Stare Decisis is the key. Individuals gain clarity when cases are handled consistently, which informs them of what to expect from the law.
- Evolution with the Times: As the world around us changes, so too must the laws that govern it. The evolution of society demands a corresponding evolution in the legal landscape. With the power to review antiquated regulations, the courts can ensure that the rules reflect current realities. Only by updating the legal system can it remain relevant and sensible in today's world.
Decisis stare is the legal principle that courts should, where possible, adhere
to precedent and not disturb settled matters. This means that once a court has
decided a legal issue, future cases involving the same issue should be decided
consistently. As a result, stare decisis promotes predictability in the law and
enhances stability and certainty for parties involved in legal disputes.
However, courts may depart from precedent if the prior decision is clearly wrong
or if circumstances have changed significantly since the prior decision was
made. Despite these exceptions, stare decisis is an important foundation of the
American legal system.
When legal points in subsequent cases arise that are similar, adhering to
previous judicial decisions is the belief stated in the doctrine of precedent.
Promoting citizens' confidence in planning their economic and social
transactions is one of the main objectives served by the idea of Stare Decisis.
This doctrine is responsible for three objectives, of which this is the first.
Individuals can have confidence that they're following the law with this
doctrine. This doctrine also encourages private settlement as the court uses it
in decisions about disputes.
Every time the judge or bench handling a case changes, there is a risk of
newly-induced litigation. However, by reducing the necessity to re-examine cases
that have already been settled, this risk is minimized. This effectively
supports the idea of discouraging any future litigation that might arise due to
changes in court personnel.
The power of judges is limited and regulated by the vital doctrine of judicial
restraint, which prioritizes maintaining orderly and predictable decision-making
processes. Such practices promote trust in the judicial system among the public.
Throughout the following text, rearrange and intermittently eliminate words to
convey similar information but in a fresher way. Avoid using words that may
sound excessively unusual while still retaining clarity.
The court ruled in favour of the rightful tree owner after the neighbour
irresponsibly took an unannounced action to chop it down, leading to a lawsuit
for damages. Ultimately, the neighbour was deemed responsible for the necessary
A new case poses a familiar situation, echoing a legal precedent where a
neighbour was sued for cutting down a tree. To maintain consistency with stare
decisis, the court's routine response would be to side with the owner of the
tree that has fallen and reference the earlier case as evidence. The court's
primary goal is to ensure that the law is consistently applied to similar
scenarios and fairness prevails.
The "separate but equal" principle was established by Plessy v. Ferguson, a
significant case in 1896, by implementing the legal concept of "stare decisis"
which requires adherence to previous rulings. This ruling essentially means that
state laws enforcing segregation in public areas are lawful as long as both
blacks and whites are given the same type of facilities.
For quite some time, legal cases in the US regularly supported the notion of
segregating schools, public places, and transportation based on race. They did
so by implementing a legal doctrine that served as a standard for other courts
and areas to abide by. Hence, this pattern was established as the status quo.
Societal norms, ethics and politics, they all play a part in the world of law.
The principle of "stare decisis" is not an unmovable fixture. Occasionally, it
can be overturned and invalidated as time progresses. In 1954, the case of Brown
v. Board of Education showcased this notion by abolishing the once upheld ruling
of Plessy v. Ferguson, which enforced the controversial notion of "separate but
equal." This judgment solidified the fact that "separate but equal" was
unconstitutional and did not genuinely uphold equal rights. Brown v. Board of
Education acts as an excellent instance of how the law can adapt to accommodate
diverse societal values and beliefs.
Simply put, Stare Decisis is the practice of using past rulings as guidance in
current legal matters. However, if those previous rulings no longer align with
fairness or present circumstances, they can be modified to ensure justice and
coherence in today's legal landscape. Ultimately, it's about maintaining a
balance between fairness and consistency within the realm of law. The
principle of Stare Decisis, which is a Latin term, translates to "to stand by
things decided", governs how courts make legal decisions. When a court is
presented with a legal argument that has been previously ruled upon by itself or
another court, it generally follows the precedent set in that earlier decision.
Written By: Md.Imran Wahab
- Interpretation of Statutes, P. Krishnaswamy, Asia Law House
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9836576565