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A statement in a judicial opinion not necessary for the decision of the case. Dictum differs from the holding in that it does not establish a rule binding on the courts in subsequent cases.
EXAMPLE: Sandor claims that the issue of his liability for damage on his sidewalk resulting in injury to another was settled in a previous case. The judge reminds Sandor that the previous case concerned the city’s obligation to keep the sidewalks in good repair and the city’s liability for injury to a person. The part of the case addressed to a private citizen’s liability was not necessary to the decision and hence was only dictum and is not binding on this judge.
CONSIDERED DICTUM: refers to a discussion of a point of law that, although it is dictum, is nevertheless so well developed that it is later incorporated into an opinion of a court as though it were authority
DICTA: plural form of dictum.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; ©
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