Binding Precedent

Binding precedent describes law set forth in written appellate court decisions that set the legal standards for lower courts in the same jurisdiction. Precedent is the basis of case law. For example, if lawyer Bob argues that the judge has to dismiss the case against his client because the case of Smith v Jones (an appellate court case in that jurisdiction which had the same fact pattern, dealt with the same legal issues, and found dismissal appropriate); he is arguing that the rule stated in Smith v Jones is binding precedent.

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