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Stare decisis

Stare decisis is a legal principle that means “to stand by things decided.” It is the doctrine of precedent, which dictates that courts are generally required to follow the precedents established by prior decisions. This principle provides stability and predictability to the legal system, as it ensures consistency in the interpretation and application of the law over time.

Under stare decisis, decisions made by higher courts serve as binding authority on lower courts within the same jurisdiction. This means that when a court is faced with a case that is similar to one that has already been decided, it will generally follow the reasoning and outcome of the previous case.

However, stare decisis is not an absolute rule, and courts can depart from precedent in certain circumstances. For instance, this may happen when a previous decision was clearly erroneous, when societal or technological changes warrant a different approach, or when there are conflicting precedents that need to be reconciled.

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