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A judgment or decision of a court, normally recorded in a law report, used as an authority for reaching the same decision in subsequent cases. In English law, judgments and decisions can represent authoritative precedent (which is generally binding and must be followed) or persuasive precedent (which need not be followed). It is that part of the judgment that represents the legal reasoning (or * ratio decidendi) of a case that is binding, but only if the legal reasoning is from a superior court and, in general, from the same court in an earlier case. Accordingly, ratio decidendis of the House of Lords are binding upon the Court of Appeal and all lower courts and are normally followed by the House of Lords itself. The ratio decidendis of the Court of Appeal are binding on all lower courts and, subject to some exceptions, on the Court of Appeal itself. Ratio decidendis of the High Court are binding on inferior courts, but not on itself. The ratio decidendis of inferior courts do not create any binding precedent.

Subjects: Law.

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