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previously decided case recognized as authority for the disposition of future cases. In common law, precedents were regarded as the major source of law. A precedent may involve a novel question of common law or it may involve an interpretation of a statute. To the extent that future cases rely upon the precedent or distinguish it from themselves without disapproving of it, the case will serve as a precedent for future cases under the doctrine of stare decisis. Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016

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