Obiter dicta

Statements made by a judge in the course of giving his reasons for a decision in a particular case that are not necessary elements of the reasons for decision. That is, the judge could have reached the decision without making the statements. Under the common law, obiter dicta are not binding on courts in subsequent cases.

[Latin for “things said by the way.”] In an appellate court judgment, the ratio decidendi (the reason for the decision) is binding on lower courts, but the judicial comments that are obiter dicta, which are not necessary for the judgment, are only “persuasive” for future cases.