Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(810 words)

A precedent (from the Latin praecedens, “going before”) is an existing ruling on a legal case (Judgment) that becomes relevant in a different legal dispute.

1. Anglo-American law

In English, much Commonwealth, and American law, a precedent is fundamentally legally binding in the sphere of case law. This means that every court is bound to follow the judgment of a higher court until a still higher court or a law overrules it. Historically speaking, this form of preced…

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Czeguhn, Ignacio, “Precedent”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 30 May 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_025786>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20210107

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