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 ?
Before going on to that next passage, but already chastened in anticipation, we must assert at least a provisional meaning to this short dictum.
I find it interesting that Michael Ingham, a bishop who goes out of his way to preach tolerance and plurality, imposes on his dioceses a monochromatic mantle, albeit thinly veiled with a pastiche of care for those who are uncomfortable with his dictum.
I couldn't explain that but, remembering DM legend Ed Mayer's dictum that "direct mail isn't a why business, it's a what business," I stopped doing it.
DICTUM, ridden by Waldemar Hickst, was a poignant winner of the Flughafen Frankfurt Trophy yesterday, writes David Conolly-Smith.
Music is my life, not my profession" was the dictum of Viktor Andrievich Fedotov, the renowned Russian conductor who died in Moscow on December 3, 2001.
Somewhere in their college years, journalism students inevitably hear the dictum, "follow the money.
Possibly mindful of the old folk dictum "If you didn't understand that story, I'll have to tell it again," Awkward tells his story again, this time with a depth of feeling and attention to craft that was no doubt impossible during a stint at a podium.
Indeed, I began my efforts with precisely this objective [9] and did so because I took seriously the dictum of Irving Greenberg, among many others, that no theological statement can be made after the Shoah unless it can be made in the presence of the burning children.
Forty years ago the means of disciplining your children was your business as long as you didn't do any physical harm; today it's an orthodox dictum that spanking is abuse.
The elevation of personal preference into absolutist dictum, in Frank's case, has everything to do with gender, race, and class: He was a rich, powerful, macho white guy, so naturally he's the greatest ever, blah, blah, blah.
If possible, Ellis is understating things when he notes that the dictum "everything is 'in the last analysis' political" has become a bedrock assumption in literary criticism.
The dictum that best expresses this enjoins us to hate the sin but love the sinner.