Stare Decisis

Definition of 'Stare Decisis'


A Latin term meaning "to stand by that which is decided". Stare decisis is a legal principle which dictates that courts cannot disregard the standard. The court must uphold prior decisions. In essence, this legal principle dictates that once a law has been determined by the appellate court (which hears and determines appeals from the decisions of the trial courts) to be relevant to the facts of the case, future cases will follow the same principle of law if they involve considerably identical facts.

Investopedia explains 'Stare Decisis'


Stare decisis is a doctrine or policy of following rules or principles laid down in previous judicial decisions. It is the principal that maintains that previous decisions are to be followed by the courts. This policy dictates that the court must abide or adhere to decided cases. When a point has been settled by a decision in court, this forms a precedent that must not be departed from. However, this doctrine has been overruled by courts in some cases. International trade laws have not always followed prevous decisions and thus might produce inconsistent decisions.



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