We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Determine a Ratio Decidendi?

By Staci A. Terry
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
MyLawQuestions is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At MyLawQuestions, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Ratio decidendi is a phrase derived from Latin, which means the reason or rationale for the decision. Primarily used in legal terminology, ratio decidendi refers to the rationale that a judge or court uses to support a decision or judgment in a court case. There may be legal, social, ethical, or moral principles underlying a court decision, and it is these principles that collectively form the ratio decidendi. For various reasons, it may be difficult to determine the ratio decidendi of a particular case, but the best way to do so is to read the court opinion carefully to discern the reasons for the ruling on the case.

Some helpful techniques for determining ratio decidendi include isolating the facts that are material, relevant to the court ruling, and identifying legal precedent that the court relied on in reaching its decision. Under common law principles, the applicable laws, as applied to the facts of a specific case, directly determine the correct outcome or holding of a case. Material facts and previous decisions of the courts often make up the rationale behind a ruling on a certain case. Like these previous decisions, the legal grounds for the court judgment generally are binding on courts when they make decisions in the future.

Identifying the holding of a case is important because it forms the basis for other court rulings. Being able to recognize the stated rationale of a court that supports a judgment is an essential legal skill taught almost universally to law students who are training to become lawyers. In the practice of law, lawyers can use the ratio decidendi of a case ruling to make arguments in similar cases in the future. Since courts typically must follow precedent or the rationales of previous case rulings, ratio decidendi of one case can be determinative of other cases with like facts or circumstances. Therefore, despite difficulties in doing so, discovering the holding of a court case is necessary.

Further complicating the analysis of a case ruling for its ratio decidendi is that the majority of court opinions contain extraneous information that may cloud the true rationale of the case. The court ruling may include facts that are not always pertinent to the main issues in the case and statements on the law that are not directly relevant to the main point of the ruling. This additional information can distract the reader from the main point of the court ruling and may confuse the point of law that the court is trying to make. Legal scholars call these additional fact orbiter dicta.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.