International Journal of Law
International Journal of Law
International Journal of Law
Vol. 5, Issue 6 (2019)

Doctrine of stare Decisis


Navjosh Singh Atwal

Stare decisis, (Latin: “let the decision stand), in Anglo-American law, principle that a question once considered by a court and answered must elicit the same response each time the same issue is brought before the courts. The principle is observed more strictly in England than in the United States. Since no court decision can have universal application, the courts, in practice, must often decide that a previous decision does not apply to a particular case even though the facts and issues appear to be closely similar. A strict application of stare decisis may lead to rigidity and to legal hair splitting, whereas too much flexibility may result in uncertainty as to the law. Case law, so called, or the decisions of the courts serve as a very important source of law, especially in countries following the common law system of adjudication. In countries that follow the common law system, the judgments of the higher courts are treated as binding on all subordinate courts. This concept of treating judgments of superior courts as binding is called the doctrine of precedent or stare decisis. Certainty and predictability are very important attributes of law, and indeed essential for its success. If law treats a person in particular way, it is only just that other persons in similar position are treated likewise. Only then will there be greater compliance with law. This first principle of law, so to say, should be applicable to the judiciary in order to ensure consistency in interpretation of various laws. The doctrine of precedent was, therefore, evolved in order to maintain consistency and uniformity in law. This apart, the doctrine of precedent has the advantages of equality, efficiency and avoiding arbitrariness. The doctrine of precedent is expressly incorporated in India by Article 141 of the Constitution of India, 1950. Article 141 provides that the decisions of the Supreme Court are binding on all courts within the territory of India. Although there is no express provision, but by convention the decisions of a High Court are binding on all lower courts within the territorial jurisdiction of that High Court. Similarly, a decision of a higher Bench, is binding on the lower Bench.
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How to cite this article:
Navjosh Singh Atwal. Doctrine of stare Decisis. International Journal of Law, Volume 5, Issue 6, 2019, Pages 76-79
International Journal of Law