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The part of a judicial opinion which is merely a judge's editorializing and does not directly address the specifics of the case at bar; extraneous material which is merely informative or explanatory.
Dicta are judicial opinions expressed by the judges on points that do not necessarily arise in the case.
Dicta are regarded as of little authority, on account of the manner in which they are delivered; it frequently happening that they are given without much reflection, at the bar, without previous examination.
As one judge said, 'If general dicta in cases turning on special circumstances are to be considered as establishing the law, nothing is yet settled, or can be long settled. What I have said or written, out of the case trying, or shall say or write, under such circumstances, maybe taken as my opinion at the time, without argument or full consideration; but I will never consider myself bound by it when the point is fairly trying and fully argued and considered. And I protest against any person considering such obiter dicta as my deliberate opinion.' And another said it is 'great misfortune that dicta are taken down from judges, perhaps incorrectly, and then cited as absolute propositions.'
In the French law, the report of a judgment made by one of the judges who has given it, is called the dictum.