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What's the difference between ratio decidendi and obiter dictum?

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    Explain please.
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    Ratio decidendi = essentially the main point of the arguement, the deciding factor; literally "the rationale for the decision"
    Obiter dictum = other things which support the main point, additional information; literally "said by the way"
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    (Original post by DiZZeeKiD)
    Ratio decidendi = essentially the main point of the arguement, the deciding factor; literally "the rationale for the decision"
    Obiter dictum = other things which support the main point, additional information; literally "said by the way"
    They could both mean that the points for the case are null and void, depending on the situation?
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    (Original post by *mMmMm*)
    They could both mean that the points for the case are null and void, depending on the situation?
    Yup, essentially you could use these phrases arguing for or against, just like you'd use novus actus interveniens, etc.
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    Thanks For any part of law and not just negligence though?
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    (Original post by *mMmMm*)
    Thanks For any part of law and not just negligence though?
    I believe so, yeah. Feel free to blame me if I'm wrong lol
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    (Original post by *mMmMm*)
    They could both mean that the points for the case are null and void, depending on the situation?
    Er, not quite. The ratio is the basis of decision of a case, and is law. If a case is not in point, it means that its facts are different, so it can be distinguished from the case/situation you're considering. The ratio is still law, it's just not relevant to the case under consideration.

    Obiter dicta are statements made which don't go to the conclusion of the case, and are not law--they're persuasive authority for a proposition. Dicta can, however, be applied in subsequent cases, in which case they become law. An example would be Lord Reid's dicta in White v Carter and McGregor, where he outlined exceptions to the principle that an innocent party to a contract which had suffered repudiatory breach could perform its obligations and demand payment. These exceptions were then applied in the Puerto Buitrago and in the Alaskan Trader.

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Updated: March 18, 2011
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