Definitions for obiter dictumˈɒb ɪ tər ˈdɪk təm; ˈdɪk tə
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word obiter dictum
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
ob•i•ter dic•tumˈɒb ɪ tər ˈdɪk təm; ˈdɪk tə(n.)(pl.)obiter dic•ta
an incidental remark or opinion.
Category: Foreign Term
a judicial opinion in a matter related but not essential to a case.
Origin of obiter dictum:
1805–15; < L: (a) saying by the way
obiter dictum, passing comment(noun)
an incidental remark
obiter dictum, dictum(noun)
an opinion voiced by a judge on a point of law not directly bearing on the case in question and therefore not binding
a statement or remark in a court's judgment that is not essential to the disposition of the case.
Origin: “a saying by the way”
Obiter dictum is Latin for a statement "said in passing". An obiter dictum is a remark or observation made by a judge that, although included in the body of the court's opinion, does not form a necessary part of the court's decision. In a court opinion, obiter dicta include, but are not limited to, words "introduced by way of illustration, or analogy or argument." Unlike the rationes decidendi, obiter dicta are not the subject of the judicial decision, even if they happen to be correct statements of law. Under the doctrine of stare decisis, statements constituting obiter dicta are therefore not binding, although in some jurisdictions, such as England and Wales, they can be strongly persuasive. An example of an instance where a court opinion may include obiter dicta is where a court rules that it lacks jurisdiction to hear a case or dismisses the case on a technicality. If the court in such a case offers opinions on the merits of the case, such opinions may constitute obiter dicta. Less clear-cut instances of obiter dicta occur where a judge makes a side comment in an opinion to provide context for other parts of the opinion, or makes a thorough exploration of a relevant area of law. Another example would be where the judge, in explaining his or her ruling, provides a hypothetical set of facts and explains how he or she believes the law would apply to those facts.
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