Starting with law: An overview of the law
Starting with law: An overview of the law

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Y166 Glossary

Glossary for Y166 Starting with law

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Ratio decidendi

This is a Latin phrase meaning ‘the reason for the decision’. It is used to refer to the legal grounds upon which a court’s decision was based.


The definition of this term depends on the context in which it is used. In this course book the term is used in the context of the European Union (EU).

Regulations are a form of law created by the EU. They have direct effect in all member states of the EU. This means that in England, for example, if the EU passes a regulation, there is no need for the UK Parliament to pass a new law to implement the regulation. The regulation has direct effect (i.e. it immediately comes into force).


This describes an outcome sought by means of court proceedings. The term is usually used in civil cases; for example, in contract law the remedy sought for breach of contract may be damages. In tort this may take the form of an injunction, which is an order stopping the defendant from doing something, e.g. from contacting someone.


In a legal context, this is when a jury leaves the courtroom to consider its verdict.

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