Teaching stare decisis to first-year law students in higher education: a pedagogical blind alley? – The Law Teacher

Posted March 20th, 2024 in education, legal education, news, precedent, universities by sally

‘The doctrine of stare decisis is often explained in first-year law studies as synonymous with the doctrine of precedent and dichotomised into ratio decidendi and obiter dicta. This explanation of stare decisis is frequently supplemented by an exercise where the novice law student is provided with a case and directed to identify the ratio decidendi of the case, and to appreciate the distinction between ratio and obiter dicta in it, the latter being persuasive only. It is argued that this pedagogy is limited and unrealistic because stare decisis is a dynamic process whereby, applying the precepts of formal legal logic, legal principle evolves. This paper propounds that the fundamental precepts of formal legal logic should be harnessed as a dedicated pedagogy to teach students how principle evolves. The extant legal studies curriculum can readily be modified to accommodate these suggestions. Consistent with the proposition that stare decisis is ultimately a process, whether a statement in a case has the character of ratio decidendi or obiter dictum is itself determined as the outcome of that process.’

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The Law Teacher, 1st March 2024

Source: www.tandfonline.com