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Statutory and Common Law Interpretation$
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Kent Greenawalt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756148.001.0001

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Other Bases for Decision

Other Bases for Decision

Principles and Consequential Considerations

(p.245) Chapter 10 Other Bases for Decision
Statutory and Common Law Interpretation

Kent Greenawalt

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores further what judges do in common law cases when they decide in the absence of a controlling precedent or ask themselves whether to overrule or avoid a precedent that does appear to apply. After looking at considerations that are relevant in common law adjudication, it provides a summary analysis of three accounts of the overall task of judges who are resolving common law issues. It then examines questions about how judges should regard precedents that apparently apply, and what it should take to distinguish them or undertake full or partial overruling. The chapter focuses on appellate courts; these are not bound by the legal rulings of the courts below them.

Keywords:   judges, common law cases, legal decision making, precedent, common law adjudication, appellate courts

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