Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Incidentally; in passing.
  • n. An obiter dictum; a statement from the bench commenting on a point of law which is not necessary for the judgment at hand and therefore has no judicial weight, as opposed to ratio decidendi.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. In passing; incidentally; by the way.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In passing; by the way; by the by; incidentally.

Etymologies

From Latin obiter. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • First, the Board has stated, in obiter dicta, on several occasions that the Private Copying regime legalizes copying for the private use of the person making the copy, regardless of whether the source is non-infringing or not.

    Boing Boing

  • When the case was appealed on the issue of costs, Justice Aldous noted in obiter that it would have been desirable to require the third party to give the anonymous defendant notice of the application and then allow the anonymous defendant to make written submissions through the third party in order to better inform the court’s decision:

    Protecting internet anonymity: the case for providing notice to anonymous defendants in defamation cases : Law is Cool

  • I was curious about the habit of calling obiter dicta simply “dicta”.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Not Dictum:

  • But, as a motion as opposed to a bill, it is what lawyers might call obiter dicta -- a non-binding statement of opinion, not a change in the law.

    Ezra Levant: May 2008 Archives

  • Incidental statements, called obiter dicta, are also examples of non-definitive utterances.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 4: Clandestinity-Diocesan Chancery

  • These anecdotes are, perhaps, what judges would call obiter dicta, yet the coroner's court has more than once been utilized as a field in the actual preparation of a criminal case.

    Courts and Criminals

  • This branch, under ordinary precedent, simply threw the case out of court; but in addition, the decision, proceeding with what lawyers call obiter dictum, went on to declare that under the Constitution of the United States neither Congress nor a territorial legislature possessed power to prohibit slavery in Federal Territories.

    A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln

  • In such instances, it is referred to as obiter dictum (dictum for short, dicta being the plural) - meaning it is not binding as precedent, as it is a merely personal view of the justice.

    Lone Star Times

  • I wonder that Taylor should have introduced so very strong an argument merely 'obiter'.

    The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Hints 'obiter' are: -- not to permit delicacy and exquisiteness to seduce into effeminacy.

    Literary Remains, Volume 2

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