The role of judicial precedent in the court practice of Lithuania

Dangutė Ambrasiene, Solveiga Paleviciene

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Abstract

The article analyzes the importance of judicial precedents and interpretation and application of law in the practice of Lithuanian courts. It discusses what kind of model of judicial precedent, as a source of law, is currently institutionalized in the legal system of Lithuania, and what changes should occur as a result of the principle of horizontal and vertical judicial precedent, introduced by Article 33 of the Law on Courts after the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania of 28 March 2006. The article argues that it is necessary to maintain a distinction between bindingness of court decisions in the countries of common law and the importance of uniform court practice formation in the countries of civil law. Therefore, though judicial precedent de jure is considered as a source of law in Lithuania, under current circumstances the establishment of horizontal and vertical model of precedent cannot be regarded as corresponding to Lithuanian legal traditions. In view of the authors, the establishment of this model needs a careful consideration, based on comprehensible and detailed methodology of identification of a judicial precedent as well as its application in later cases, and a thorough analysis of the changing role of a judge in a democratic society in order to maintain a proper balance between legal stability and the development of law and the principles of court independence and confidence in law as well as to ensure that legitimate expectations of the parties are not violated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-78
JournalJurisprudencija: mokslo darbai
Issue number2 (116)
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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Keywords

  • Stare decisis doctrine
  • Jurisprudence constante doctrine
  • Judicial precedent
  • Source of law

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