Doctrines, Principles, Latin Terms & Case Law

A table with lots of case and tort law with latin terms, definitions and explanations of key terms

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Doctrine/Principle Explanation Case examples Case effects on law?
Stare decisis (et non quieta movere) Stand by what has been decided. The London Street Tramways (1898) Certainty in the law was more
basic maxim on which judicial important than the possibility of
precedent is based. individual hardship being caused
through having to follow a past
Obiter dicta Other things said. The remainder of a -Candler v. Crane Christmas co. - Dissenting judgement followed in
judgement after ratio decidendi, (1951) Hedley Byrne v. Heller.
could be hypothetical situations or Hedley Byrne v Heller
dissenting judgements etc, and -Hypothetical situation in which
constitutes persuasive precedent. -R v. Howe (1987) Lords said duress would also not be
R v. Gotts (1992) available with attempted murder
was followed in R v. Gotts.
Ultra vires Goes beyond the powers originally R v. Home Secretary, ex parte
granted by Parliament in the enabling Fire Brigades Union (1995)
Act, with reference to delegated
Habeas corpus Unlawful detainment.
Ratio decidendi Reason for deciding. Forms binding Donoghue v. Stevenson New law was developed from the
precedent and are what the Judge ratio regarding the tort of
cites as direct reasons for their negligence.
judgement. Ratio must be followed in
cases with similar details.
Per incuriam In error.
Mans rea The physical, guilty, action of a crime.
E.g., the mans rea of an assault would
be the application of undue force.
Ejusdem generis General words which follow in a list Powell v. Kempton Park (1899) There must be at least two specific
are limited to the same kind. words in a list for this rule to apply.

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Expressio unius (exclusio alterius) The mention of one thing excludes Tempest v. Kilner (1846) If there is a list of words not
another. followed by more general ones,
then the Act in question applies only
to the ones in the list.
Noscitur a sociis A word is known by the company it IRC v. Frere (1965) Words must be looked at in their
keeps. context and interpreted accordingly.
Original precedent If a new point of law comes to court, Donoghue v.…read more


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