CASE LAW – JUDICIAL PRECEDENT/STARE DECISIS – What the doctrine of stare decisis entails


“This appeal illustrates the fundamental importance of the principle of stare decisis in our jurisprudence. “Stare decisis” is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th Edition, at Page 1443 thus: “to stand by things decided. The doctrine of precedent under which it is necessary for a Court to follow earlier judicial decisions when the same points arise again in litigation. ….. “The rule of adherence to judicial precedent finds its expression in the doctrine of stare decisis. The doctrine is simply that, when a point or principle of law has been once officially decided or settled by the ruling of a competent Court in a case in which it is directly and necessarily involved, it will no longer be considered as open to examination or to a new ruling by the same tribunal, or by those which are bound to follow its adjudication, unless it be for urgent reasons and in exceptional cases…..” It is settled law that for the doctrine to apply, the facts of the two cases must be the same or similar. The adherence to precedent provides for certainty of the law. See: Adegoke Motors Ltd. Vs Adesanya (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt. 109) 250; Mailantarki Vs Tongo (2017) 5 – 6 SC (Pt. II) 132; University of Lagos Vs Olaniyan (1985) LFELR – 3419 (SC) @ 26 C – F.” Per KUDIRAT MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN, JSC in STATE v. YANGA (2021-LCER-40500-SC) (Pp 15 – 16; Paras D – C)

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