Gimme 5: What Every Lawyer Should Know about Stare Decisis


One of the first concepts taught in law school is the doctrine of stare decisis. This doctrine comes from the Latin phrase stare decisis et non quieta movere, meaning to adhere to precedent and not unsettle what is established. In re Osborne, 76 F. 3d 306, 309 (9th Cir. 1996). The core of the doctrine is often simply stated that the decisions of higher courts are binding precedent on lower courts. For law school purposes, this understanding typically suffices. But lawyers in practice? especially those in California?must understand much more. Here are five key points highlighting and contrasting stare decisis under California and federal law.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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