Mindel Scott

Obiter Dictum Legal Terms

When reading a court decision, obiter dicta can be recognized by words such as “introduced by analogy” or “by way of illustration”. Obiter dicta can be as short as a brief remark or hypothetical example, or as long as a thorough discussion of the relevant law. In both cases, the additional information is provided to provide context for the court opinion. In other cases, the obiter dicta may propose an interpretation of the law which has no bearing on the present case, but which could be useful in future cases. [2] The most notable example of such an event is the story of the famous footnote 4 of United States v. Carolene Products Co. (1938), which, while opposing the use of the due process clause to block most laws, suggested that the clause could be used to remove laws dealing with “fundamental rights” issues. It is generally believed that this obiter dictum led to the doctrine of rigorous examination (and subsequently intermediate examination) in cases of racial, religious and sexual discrimination, first enunciated in Korematsu v. the United States (1944).

Korematsu v. The United States itself was condemned by the same court in obiter dictum in Trump v. Hawaii (2018). When a written opinion of the court is issued, it contains two elements: (1) ratio decidendi and (2) obiter dicta. Ratio decidendi is the Latin term meaning “the reason for the decision” and refers to statements about critical facts and the law of the case. These are crucial to the decision of the court itself. Obiter dicta are additional observations, remarks and opinions on other matters of the judge. These often explain the reasons for the court`s decision and, while they may provide guidance in similar cases in the future, they are not binding. Similar to obiter is the concept of semble (French Norman for “it seems”).

In Simpkins v Pays (1955),[18][19] a grandmother, granddaughter and tenant participated in weekly contests in the Sunday Empire News. Each week, the three women made a prognosis together and contributed to the cost of admission; But it was the grandmother`s name that was on the right one. The grandmother received £750 in prizes and refused to share it with the other two. The subtenant successfully sued for one-third of the price; but Judge Sellers added that the granddaughter was also to receive £250, although she was not involved in the action. Obiter dictum (usually used in the plural obiter dicta) is a Latin expression meaning “other things said”,[1] that is, a remark in a legal opinion “casually said” by a judge or arbitrator. This is a concept derived from English common law, according to which a judgment consists of only two elements: ratio decidendi and obiter dicta. For the purposes of the case-law, the ratio decidendi is binding, while obiter dicta are only convincing. [2] [3] The arguments and reasoning of a dissenting judgment (as used in the United Kingdom[14] and Australia[15]) or a dissenting opinion (the term used by courts in the United States) are also obiter dicta. However, these could also be invoked if a court finds that its earlier decision was erroneous, as when the U.S. Supreme Court cited the dissent of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in Hammer v.

Dagenhart, when he overthrew Hammer in United States v. Darby Lumber Co. A comment, suggestion or remark by a judge in an opinion that is not necessary for the resolution of the case and as such is not legally binding on other courts, but can always be cited as a persuasive authority in future litigation. Also known as dictum, dicta and dicta judiciaire. A dissenting opinion is generally considered an obiter dictum. American jurist John Chipman Gray explained: “So that an opinion can have the weight of a precedent. it must be an expert opinion whose training is necessary to decide a particular case; In other words, it should not be obiter dictum. Dicta often take the form of unnecessarily broad statements. When a young man deliberately murdered his grandfather to prevent him from revoking a will, the court found that the beneficiary was not entitled to the bequest the will had provided him, stating that the law will not allow someone to “profit from his own wrongs or make a claim for his own injustice. or to acquire property by their own crime.” In a subsequent case involving a legatee who had negligently caused the death of the testator in a car accident, the same result would not necessarily follow. The court is free to distinguish cases according to their facts and to limit the general dictum of the previous case. In rendering decisions, courts sometimes cite obiter dicta passages found in the texts of expert opinions of previous cases, with or without recognition of the status of obiter dicta of the quoted passage.

A quoted passage from obiter dicta may be part of the decision in a later case, depending on what the latter court actually ruled and how that court dealt with the principle set out in the quoted passage. [4] : (Oh-bitter dick-tah) n. Remarks by a judge that are not necessary for a decision, but are made in the form of comments, illustrations or thoughts. In general, obiter dicta is simply dicta. Acme denied its request, stating that it had not responded with a message indicating that it had accepted the company`s terms and conditions for warranty services and was therefore not eligible. Julia filed a civil lawsuit to hold the company accountable for compliance with the warranty.