overturn | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

The term overturn is used to describe the overruling or setting aside the decision of a lower court by a higher court.

Also referred to as overrule

The term overturn is a legal term that describes the process of setting aside or overruling the decision of a lower court by a higher court. In the legal system, the decision of a lower court can be challenged or appealed by a party who believes that the decision was incorrect or unjust.

Overturning a lower court’s decision is a critical aspect of the legal system that ensures that justice is served and that the law is applied correctly. When a decision is overturned, it means that the higher court has determined that, the lower court made an error of law or fact that impacted the outcome of the case.

Overturning a decision can occur at various stages of the legal process. For example, an appellate court may overturn a trial court’s decision, or a higher court may overturn a decision made by an intermediate court. In some cases, the decision may be overturned by the same court that issued the original decision but with a different panel of judges.

The grounds for overturning a decision can vary depending on the case and the applicable law. Generally, a decision can be overturned if it is found to be based on incorrect or incomplete information, if there was a procedural error, or if the decision is contrary to the law.

Overturning a decision can have significant implications for the parties involved in a case. For example, if a criminal conviction is overturned, the defendant may be released from custody or have their sentence reduced. In a civil case, overturning a decision can impact the outcome of the case and may result in damages or other remedies for the party affected by the decision.

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Last Modified: 07/11/2023

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