Law and Philosophy 39 (6):577-616 (2020)

Katharina Stevens
University of Lethbridge
Some authors argue that the rule-of-law ideal gives judges a prima facie duty to provide a determinate formulation of the precedent’s general norm in all their precedent-opinions. I question that claim. I agree that judges have a duty to decide their cases based on reasons and that they should formulate these reasons in their opinions. I also agree that formulations of general norms should be the goal of common-law development and that judges have a duty to contribute to the realization of this goal. However, I argue that judges may sometimes do so better if they do not provide a determinate formulation of a general norm in their opinion. Often, judges may not feel confident that they are able to formulate a good general norm for their precedent decision, even if they believe that their decision is both correct and justifiable through argument. In this case, various reasons speak against providing a determinate formulation of a general norm, including rule-of-law reasons.
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DOI 10.1007/s10982-020-09383-6
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Do Precedents Create Rules?Grant Lamond - 2005 - Legal Theory 11 (1):1-26.

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