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ratio decidendi


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[Latin: the reason for deciding]

The principle or principles of law on which the court reaches its decision. The ratio of the case has to be deduced from its facts, the reasons the court gave for reaching its decision, and the decision itself. It is said to be the statement of law applied to the material facts. Only the ratio of a case is binding on inferior courts, by reason of the doctrine of precedent.

Subjects: Law.


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