Apr 17, 2020


GA Appeal Court

One of the unique aspects of decisions of the Georgia Court of Appeals has been the concept of “physical precedent.” With rare exceptions, the Georgia Court of Appeals relies on three-judge panels to decide cases. If one of the judges on a three-judge panel concurred in the judgment but not the panel’s reasoning or, in recent years, if one of the judges dissented, the decision of the court was deemed to be “physical precedent.” It was persuasive authority but not binding authority in subsequent cases. The existence of such decisions required appellate practitioners to pay attention to whether a case… Read more

Jul 25, 2013


In an earlier posting (When Is a Published Decision Not Binding Precedent, posted April 8, 2013), this blog looked at the phenomenon of published decisions of the Georgia Court of Appeals that are not binding precedent. If a case is decided by a three-judge panel of the Court and at least one judge concurs in whole or in part in the “judgment only,” that decision is not a binding precedent as to that part of the decision in which a judge has so concurred. A subsequent three-judge panel is free to reach a different outcome. The earlier blog posting noted… Read more

Apr 8, 2013

When Is a Published Decision Not Binding Precedent?

A practitioner might expect that a published decision appearing in the official reports of the Georgia Court of Appeals is binding precedent.  However, Georgia practice contains a wrinkle that affects the ability of a practitioner to cite a published decision as precedent.  It may be a wrinkle to which practitioners need to pay closer attention. The Georgia Court of Appeals has 12 judges, and an overwhelming majority of cases are decided by panels consisting of three judges.  Under Rule 33(a) of the Georgia Court of Appeals, a decision by a three-judge panel is “physical precedent only” with respect to any… Read more