Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary
A formal pronouncement from an authoritative source.
n. Latin for “remark,” a comment by a judge in a decision or ruling which is not required to reach the decision, but may state a related legal principle as the judge understands it. While it may be cited in legal argument, it does not have the full force of a precedent (previous court decisions or interpretations) since the comment was not part of the legal basis for judgment. The standard counter-argument is: “it is only dictum (or dicta).
A remark, statement or observation of a judge that is not a necessary part of the legal reasoning needed to reach the decision in a case. Although dictum may be cited in a legal argument, it is not binding as legal precedent, meaning that other courts are not required to accept it. For example, if a defendant ran a stop sign and caused a collision, the judge’s comments about the mechanical reliability of the particular make of the defendant’s car would not be necessary to reach a decision in the case, and would be considered dictum. In future cases, lower court judges are free to ignore the comments when reaching their decisions. Dictum is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase “obiter dictum,” which means a remark by the way, or an aside.
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This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 7 Views.