Malyshev Borys

Yearly journal of scientific articles Pravova derzhava Volume 30 (2019),
43-52  p.

DOI: 10.33663/0869-2491-2019-30-43-52

Malyshev Borys. Theoretical and legal aspects of the precedent-setting legal norm

The precedent-setting legal norm can be considered as the original crystals of the case law regulating social relations. Judicial precedent and precedent-setting legal norm are related both as a form and content by analogy, just as a legal rule is the substantial reflection of a certain legal act.

The functioning of the precedent-setting legal norm is clearly limited to the material circumstances and facts of the case, since its legal force extends only to similar cases. Case law is inherently casual in nature, thus it is extremely difficult to talk about the uncertainty of the number of cases covered by the scope of specific precedent. Precedent-setting legal norm is vested with detailed hypotheses and casualties of the whole norm, as it is a tangible decision resulted from a particular case, this representing an incident.

The precedent-setting legal norm and the statutory provision differ in the subject of law-making, who it establishes; in the way in which they occur; according to the method of content formalization. In turn, these differences determine: a) the peculiarities of the application of the precedent-setting legal norm; b) the distinctive features of the geographical and temporal scope of the precedent-setting legal norm, which can be expressed in the following. First, it is impossible to ascertain the exact date of precedent-setting legal norm commencement, since, as we have noted, the process of its formation may constitute a series of precedents and take an indefinite period of time. Therefore, its disposition, without having a clear textual consolidation, is able, over time, to be easily filled with a quite new content, thus reflecting other social conditions. Secondly, the norms of case law are retrospective in nature, that is, they are characterized by retroactive force.

For the precedent-setting legal norm following features are typical: the lack of clarity of the disposition textual expression, as well as its ability to constantly improve and detail its content; nuanced hypotheses; retrospective action and imperative nature.

Formal certainty is inherent in the case law norms in a peculiar form: the lack of textual  clarity in the disposition of the case law norm is compensated by detailed content of the hypothesis, as well as the operative part of the decision, which contains the result of applying the rule to specific circumstances of the dispute. It is these factors in combination with the mechanism of the precedent doctrine that causes an extremely high level of normativity of case law as the main qualitative feature of any form of positive law.

Key words: ratio decidendi, judicial precedent, legal system.

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