stare decisis

sta·re de·ci·sis

noun \ˌster-ē-di-ˈsī-səs, ˌstär-\

Definition of STARE DECISIS

:  a doctrine or policy of following rules or principles laid down in previous judicial decisions unless they contravene the ordinary principles of justice


Latin, to stand by decided matters
First Known Use: 1782

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi

stare decisis

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In common law, the doctrine under which courts adhere to precedent on questions of law in order to ensure certainty, consistency, and stability in the administration of justice. Since no court decision can have universal application, the courts, in practice, must often decide that a previous decision does not apply to a particular case even though the facts and issues appear to be closely similar. A strict application of stare decisis may lead to rigidity and to legal hairsplitting, whereas too much flexibility may result in uncertainty.


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