Concept of Stare Decisis

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Discuss the usefulness of adhering to the concept stare decisis, or the Doctrine of Precedent?

Stare decisis is the Latin term for using precedent setting cases as a reference when deciding future cases; also known as the Doctrine of Precedent. Its concept is that judges have a history of judicial decisions to look to and see how similar cases were judged in the past, and apply similar thinking when judging current and future cases. In a country where the rule of law is what keeps order, and judges' decisions are the final arbiters of what stands as the laws that are upheld as constitutional, stare decisis helps to discern legislative intent. Without the concept of stare decisis, or the Doctrine of Precedent governing our legal decision making, or at least much of it, we would not have any real degree of certainty or predictability in our laws. Stare decisis does not carry the same weight as a statute or the Constitution, but nevertheless serves a role in society as a very important social policy. Citizens must be able to look at the judicial system and see some level of consistency. A precedent can be overridden. However, knowing the courts do give respect, and oftentimes deference, to previous decisions handed down of a similar nature provides a sense of fairness and stability to the judicial process. In conclusion, when an appellate court decides on a case, and has established a precedent, it has laid forth a procedural rule for future similar cases to be decided. This not only creates a framework for other judges to adhere to, it also provides continuity within the law so citizens can know what to expect from similar type…...

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