Can you explain what a dictum is and effect of a dictum on the courts? 22 Answers as of October 06, 2012

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Law Office of Mark Bruce
Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
Dictim is the term used by lawyers for statements made in published, written decisions which are not part of the actual ruling of the court. Sometimes, when there are no published rulings on a particular point of law but an appellate court has mentioned the issue in dicta, a court will cite this to give it guidance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2012
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
I assume that you are referring to the extraneous non-binding but informative language that a judge in the minority would write in an appellate opinion.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 10/5/2012
Larry K. Dunn & Associates | Larry K. Dunn
Every appellate case has a "Holding" which is binding authority on a particular legal point. Dictum or Dicta (Plural) occurs when the court pronounces legal points that are not necessary to deciding the case and are not considered binding legal authority.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/5/2012
Thommes Law Office | Adrienne Sue Thommes
Dictum is a line of legal reasoning that deviates a bit from the reasoning that supports the actual holding, but is highly relevant. Dictum is not binding, but is viewed as strongly suggestive and is often used as the reasoning in future holdings that are binding.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/4/2012
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
Dictum is the statements by the court beyond the primary holding. It is non binding on other courts.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 10/4/2012
    Wilson & Cain, P.A.
    Wilson & Cain, P.A. | Gary M. Wilson
    Dictum is language or ideas stated in a court's opinion that is not central to the holding (or decision) of the court in that case. Basically just extra stuff that a judge/justice throws in to flesh out their ideas, but dicta/dictum is not germane to the outcome, and is not of any value as precedent (binding on later courts). It is often used as a springboard for counter-arguments in other court proceedings, though.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    In general, dictum is not precedent from the Court's and therefore it is not binding on the Courts when applying the law to a case. Dictum is usually considered comments that a Judge makes in a decision in how the Judge reached the decision or their own opinions but is not the holding in the case.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Dictum is just something in a appellate opinion that does not have binding effect on other cases.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD | Mace Yampolsky
    Dictum is additional language in the holding of a case, but other courts do not need to (but they can) rely on it a precedent.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    A bit too involved for this forum. Do a Google search, scholar, legal, treatises and articles.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I believe dictum is something the court stated in the decision but that is not a precedent that can be used for other cases but only applies to the current case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    Dictum is commonly described as something in a written opinion from the court which was not determinative, surplus verbiage.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    Dicta or dictum is a statement in Court's decision that does go to the heart of matter decided.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Dictum is the fluff in a court opinion that one might call an aside. It is not essential to the holding of the court and is generally viewed as inconsequential and not of precidential value.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    A dictum is a statement of opinion or belief made by an appellate or supreme court considered authoritative though not binding. Dicta often appears in opinions and cannot be used as authority in making arguments to a lower court.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    A dictum, or dicta in the plural, is a statement by a court that does not pertain directly to the facts of the case before it, but implies what might happen if different facts were before the court. For example, a court might say something like "we understand that there are times when..." and go on to give a defendant an additional defense or give the prosecution an additional grounds for a charge. The same is true with civil cases. The court never does say this result would be different if the prosecution had called a certain witness, or if the defendant had raised a specific defense or if the plaintiff had alleged a specific cause of action. It just sets up a confusing scenario for courts to try to figure out what the result would have been, and generally results in a bunch of divided opinions from lower courts.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Dictum is extra words or statements of an appellate court that may inform future opinions but is not a holding of the case - it is not case law or the ruling of the court - no court has to follow dictum.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    It is the ruling outside of the court's order. It may impact later decisions.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The word is "dicta" and it means language in a Court of appeals or supreme court Order that does not address the precise issue being addressed by the order. It has no persuasive impact on subsequent lower court rulings but it does provide information as to the thought processes of the higher court and how they may rule on an issue in the future.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Dictum is the court talking and explaining outside of the area. It has no bearing on the courts.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Attorney at Law | Michael P. Vollandt
    Dictum is not binding on other courts rulings.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/3/2012
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