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PRECEDENT

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; ©
"Among these are the desirability that the law furnish a clear guide for the conduct of individuals, to enable them to plan their affairs with assurance against untoward surprise; the importance of furthering fair and expeditious adjudication by eliminating the need to relitigate every relevant proposition in every case; and the necessity of maintaining public faith in the judiciary as a source of impersonal and reasoned judgments.""
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