ratio decidendi


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Ratio Decidendi

[Latin, The ground or reason of decision.] The legal principle upon which the decision in a specific case is founded.

The ratio decidendi is also known as the rationale for a decision.

See: authority, documentation

ratio decidendi

‘the rule in a decision’. This is a crucial part of the understanding of the way in which the common law works. Once a system has been adopted of binding PRECEDENT, it has to be discovered what it is in the previous decision that binds the court later in time. While it is sometimes possible to peruse the opinion of the judge to find the rule, this is not by any means a reliable way of discovering the rule in the case. The soundest general method is to discover the material facts of the case, determine what the decision was and then to draw the proposition that most closely marries the material facts to the actual decision. It is difficult enough to do this with a single opinion but very much harder with multiple opinions such as come from the Court of Appeal, the Inner House and the House of Lords. Sometimes it is said to be impossible to form a ratio of general application. Anything that is said that is not part of the ratio is said to be an OBITER DICTUM.
References in periodicals archive ?
It has been said that the decision is wrong, that it was driven by political motives and that the comments about the rights of the user are obiter dicta (not a legally binding precedent) rather than the decision's ratio decidendi (the case's core legal principle).
In view of the acceptance of the above judgment, it is directed that the ratio decidendi ( or the reasoning) of the judgment must be adhered to by the field officers in all cases here this issue is involved," the letter states using a Latin phrase denoting the rationale behind the ruling.
In view of the acceptance of the above judgement, it is directed that the ratio decidendi of the judgement must be adhered to by the field officers in all cases here this issue is involved," said the letter from the finance ministry, using a Latin phrase denoting the rationale behind the ruling.
There is, to be sure, a formalist version of the doctrine that is rooted in the idea of the ratio decidendi (94): the holding of a case is the rule that is logically implied by the stated reasons necessary to the resolution of the case on the facts before the appellate court and the legal arguments presented by the parties.
If holdings are limited to the ratio decidendi, then the self-identified "holding" quoted above would be mere dicta--it was not necessary to the resolution of the congressional power issue.
We are going to begin with the formalist version--the narrowest grounds rule as it would be formulated within the general approach of the ratio decidendi theory of precedent.
One might argue that even given the ratio decidendi theory of the doctrine of vertical stare decisis, the Commerce Clause reasoning is in fact necessary to the validation of congressional power to enact the penalty provisions of the ACA.
There is not a single 'hereunder', 'pursuant to' or ratio decidendi for the reader to contend with.
We see that MacCormick's claim is not that the extraction of the ratio decidendi from case A is a matter of deductive reasoning, but that the application of the ratio decidendi (thus extracted from case A) to the facts of case B is a matter of deductive reasoning.
Supreme Court cases should yield an `exact principle of decision'--technically, a Ratio Decidendi.
However, since the principle of stare decisis is not accepted in Japan, judges tend to make no sharp distinction between ratio decidendi and obiter dicta.
Since the precedents are not binding, there is no urgent legal necessity to distinguish ratio decidendi from obiter dicta.