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Difference between Precedence and Precedents

Difference between Precedence and Precedents

Precedence and precedents are two words that are often confused with each other. They sound alike and they both have something to do with past events, but they mean different things. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between these two terms.

What is Precedence?

Precedence legal is a legal principle that says that the first in time should be the first in line. Precedence legal is often used in contract law, property law, and bankruptcy law. The principle of precedence legal has its roots in English common law.

  • The doctrine of precedence holds that the first in time should have priority over those that come after. This doctrine is based on the idea that fairness dictates that those who act first should not be disadvantaged by those who come later.
  • In contract law, the principle of precedence means that the terms of the first contract are binding on the parties to subsequent contracts. In property law, precedence dictates that the first owner of the property has a better claim to the property than those who come after.
  • And in bankruptcy law, precedence dictates that debtors who file for bankruptcy first have a better chance of getting their debts discharged than those who file for bankruptcy later. Precedence legal is a fundamental principle of law that helps to ensure fairness and order in our legal system.

What is a Precedent?

Precedent is a legal principle that stands for the proposition that cases should be decided alike. The doctrine of precedent or stare decisis is a cornerstone of the modern common law judicial system and is of particular importance in countries, like the United States, whose legal systems are based on that system. A precedent ensures that similar cases are decided in the same way so that there is fairness and predictability in the law. It also provides stability and continuity in the law, which is essential in any legal system. Precedent also allows judges to build upon the decisions of their predecessors, which enhances the efficiency of the judicial system. Finally, precedent ensures that the law is constantly evolving and adapting to changing social conditions.

Difference between Precedence and Precedents

Precedence is a legal principle that gives certain types of cases priority over others. Precedents are earlier decisions made by courts that are binding on future cases.

  • In other words, precedence is the order in which cases are heard, while precedents are the actual decisions made in those cases. Precedence is determined by a number of factors, including the severity of the crime, the urgency of the case, and the jurisdiction of the court.
  • Precedents, on the other hand, are typically set by higher courts and are meant to be followed by lower courts. When it comes to precedent, stare decisis is a legal doctrine that holds that courts should follow precedents set by higher courts.
  • This doctrine helps to ensure that there is consistency in the law and that similar cases are treated similarly. Precedence and precedent may seem like similar concepts, but they are actually quite different.

Precedence is a principle that governs the order in which cases are heard, while precedent is a binding decision made in an earlier case. Stare decisis is a legal doctrine that requires lower courts to follow precedents set by higher courts. Understanding the distinction between these three concepts is essential for anyone interested in the law.


In order to understand the difference between precedence and precedents, it is important to first understand what these words mean. Precedence refers to something that takes place before or in advance of something else; precedents are things that have been done before. The distinction between these two terms becomes relevant when discussing court cases. When a judge makes a ruling, they are looking at both precedence (the facts of the current case) and precedents (previous rulings on similar cases). This allows them to make an informed decision by considering both the specific situation and how similar situations have been handled in the past.

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