Ratio Decidendi Case Analysis

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In the article entitled ‘Determining the Ratio Decidendi of the Case’ by Arthur L. Goodhart, I underwent a roller coaster-like journey on exploring the science behind the nature of a precedent in English law. Goodhart started with the attempt to explain the full meaning of ratio decidendi in the simplest terms. He referred to Sir John Salmond’s definition in which I have interpreted ratio decidendi as the principle of law that is found in a court decision and possesses the authority to be binding. Ratio decidendi should be distinguished from a judicial decision, as the latter is a wider concept and contains the ratio decidendi, whereas the former is a principle that carries the force of law. In another reference, Professor John Chipman Gray explains that an opinion of the court that carries precedent must have two things; the opinion must come from a judge and secondly, due to said opinion, a particular decision was arrived at and becomes a binding precedent. This opinion, of course, is not merely statement of thought but rather is vital for the forming of the ratio decidendi. Thus, one cannot mistakenly label this as obiter dictum.…show more content…
The author stresses that no specific guidelines or instructions have been laid out when it comes to determining the ratio decidendi. The first issue tackled by the author is dealing with the phrase ratio decidendi itself. This phrase confuses most people because the ratio or the reason behind a decision is not necessarily the binding part of the precedent. It is clear that the actual judgement is the important precedent, not the mechanisms behind arriving to the decision such as the arguments, opinions, analysis and so on. Most cases show that although some reasoning for the decision is utterly wrong or even to the extent of being illogical, the case becomes a binding precedent regardless. So, I did not understand; why is it called ratio
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