dictum


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Related to dictum: obiter dictum

Dictum

[Latin, A remark.] A statement, comment, or opinion. An abbreviated version of obiter dictum, "a remark by the way," which is a collateral opinion stated by a judge in the decision of a case concerning legal matters that do not directly involve the facts or affect the outcome of the case, such as a legal principle that is introduced by way of illustration, argument, analogy, or suggestion.

Dictum has no binding authority and, therefore, cannot be cited as precedent in subsequent lawsuits. Dictum is the singular form of dicta.

dictum

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)." (See: dicta)

dictum

noun announcement, assertion, authoritative assertion, declaration, extrajudicial opinion, finding, gratuutous remark, illustrative statement, incidental opinion, judiiial assertion, judicial comment, judicial remark, opinion, pronouncement, recommendation, remark, statement, statement by way of illustration
Associated concepts: judicial dictum, obiter dictum
See also: declaration, observation, remark, statement

dictum

see OBITER DICTUM.

DICTUM, practice. Dicta are judicial opinions expressed by the judges on points that do not necessarily arise in the case.
     2. Dicta are regarded as of little authority, on account of the manner in which they are delivered; it frequently happening that they are given without much reflection, at the bar, without previous examination. "If," says Huston, J., in Frants v. Brown, 17 Serg. & Rawle, 292, "general dicta in cases turning on special circumstances are to be considered as establishing the law, nothing is yet settled, or can be long settled." "What I have said or written, out of the case trying," continues the learned judge, "or shall say or write, under such circumstances, maybe taken as my opinion at the time, without argument or full consideration; but I will never consider myself bound by it when the point is fairly trying and fully argued and considered. And I protest against any person considering such obiter dicta as my deliberate opinion." And it was considered by another learned judge. Mr. Baron Richards, to be a "great misfortune that dicta are taken down from judges, perhaps incorrectly, and then cited as absolute propositions." 1 Phillim. Rep. 1406; S. C. 1 Eng. Ecc. R. 129; Ram. on Judgm. ch. 5, p. 36; Willes' Rep. 666; 1 H. Bl. 53-63; 2 Bos. & P. 375; 7 T. R. 287; 3 B. & A. 341; 2 Bing. 90. The doctrine of the courts of France on this subject is stated in 11 Toull. 177, n. 133.
     3. In the French law, the report of a judgment made by one of the judges who has given it, is called the dictum. Poth. Proc. Civ. partie 1, c. 5, art. 2.

References in periodicals archive ?
The simple direction of the obiter dictum is that the senate confirms appointment for a substantive chairman.
Circuit said that dictum is "especially" authoritative if the Supreme Court "has reiterated the same teaching.
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The folly of the voice-of-the-people dictum is loud enough to be missed out.
The proper question is not whether a particular judicial statement is better described as holding or dictum.
Delaware judicial tradition of using dictum to serve important guidance,
Because dictum and holding are usually thought to be entitled to very different weight in the American legal system, as in other common law systems: "A court's holding defines the scope of its power; holdings must be obeyed.
This dictum aims to accelerate the nationalisation process, as it makes mandatory for small and medium businesses to hire one Saudi national out of every 10 migrant workers.
Now that Ramadan festivities are over, people who followed the festival's dictums should ponder on the purpose and spirit for which it was framed.
I wonder if Coun Todd subscribes to the famous dictum that a lie repeated often enough comes to be believed.
Let's not ruin this chance by arguing over whether we can afford a few buses or by cutting corners on building the stadiums and the other facilities we offer our guests--that would be, I would suggest to Mr Nevin, and if 1 may use another dictum, "ruining the ship for a pennyworth of tar".