Declaratory Judgement

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Declaratory Judgement




What is the dictionary definition of Declaratory Judgement?

Dictionary Definition


n. a judgment of a court which determines the rights of parties without ordering anything be done or awarding damages. While this borders on the prohibited “advisory opinion,” it is allowed to nip controversies in the bud. Examples: a party to a contract may seek the legal interpretation of a contract to determine the parties’ rights, or a corporation may ask a court to decide whether a new tax is truly applicable to that business before it pays it.


Full Definition of Declaratory Judgement


A court decision in a civil case that tells the parties what their rights and responsibilities are, without awarding damages or ordering them to do anything.

Unlike most court cases, where the plaintiff asks for damages or other court orders, the plaintiff in a declaratory judgment case simply wants the court to resolve an uncertainty so that it can avoid serious legal trouble in the future. Courts are usually reluctant to hear declaratory judgment cases, preferring to wait until there has been a measurable loss. But especially in cases involving important constitutional rights, courts will step in to clarify the legal landscape.

For example, many cities regulate the right to assemble by requiring permits to hold a parade. A disappointed applicant who thinks the decision-making process is unconstitutional might hold his parade anyway and challenge the ordinance after he’s cited; or he might ask a court beforehand to rule on the constitutionality of the law. By going to court, the applicant may avoid a messy confrontation with the city — and perhaps a citation, as well.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Declaratory Judgement are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 5 Views.