What Came Before

Today's nugget of knowledge comes via my night working at the law library. Thus it's completely different that yesterday's post and probably of no interest at all to anyone but me (as a potential law librarian, I'm supposed to be able to tell which one the client wants). PRECEDENT - 1) Legal principle, created by a court decision, which provides an example or authority for judges deciding similar issues later. Generally, decisions of higher courts (within a particular system of courts) are mandatory precedent on lower courts within that system--that is, the principle announced by a higher court must be followed in later cases. 2) That which is to be followed or imitated as a model; a pattern or copy, such as a completed court form to be used as an example for one who is filling out such form. The first may be obtained from case reports (free, go to the library or check online). The second is only available if you pay a lawyer. How stupid. Precedent forms are not published in books or online, but closely guarded by law firms, not to be shared with rival firms or for free to the public. One day I'm going to write a book full of precedent forms which will help the general public deal with the complexities of the law and the court system. I'm all about sharing the love.