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Provisional; interim; temporary; not final; that which intervenes between the beginning and the end of a lawsuit or proceeding to either decide a particular point or matter that is not the final issue of the entire controversy or prevent irreparable harm during the pendency of the lawsuit.

Interlocutory actions are taken by courts when a Question of Law must be answered by an appellate court before a trial may proceed or to prevent irreparable harm from occurring to a person or property during the pendency of a lawsuit or proceeding. Generally, courts are reluctant to make interlocutory orders unless the circumstances surrounding the case are serious and require timely action.

Interlocutory appeals are restricted by state and federal appellate courts because courts do not want piecemeal litigation. Appeals courts generally review only cases that have reached final judgment in the trial courts. When a court administrator enters final judgment, this certifies that the trial court has ended its review of the case and jurisdiction shifts to the appellate court.

Interlocutory appeals are typically permitted when the trial judge certifies to the appellate court in an interlocutory order that an important question of law is in doubt and that it will substantially affect the final result of the case. Judicial economy then dictates that the court resolve the issue rather than subject the parties to a trial that may be reversed on an appeal from a final judgment.

Appellate courts have the discretion to review interlocutory orders. The federal courts of appeal are governed by the Interlocutory Appeals Act (28 U.S.C.A. § 1292). This act grants discretion to the courts of appeal to review interlocutory orders in civil cases where the district judge states in the order that a controlling question of law is in doubt and that the immediate resolution of the issue will materially advance the ultimate termination of litigation. State appellate courts are governed by statutes and court rules of appellate procedure regarding the review of interlocutory orders.When an appellate court reviews an interlocutory order, its decision on the matters contained in the order is final. The court enters an interlocutory judgment, which makes that part of the case final. Therefore, if a case proceeds to trial after an interlocutory judgment is entered, and an appeal from the trial court judgment follows, the matters decided by the interlocutory judgment cannot be reviewed by the court again.

Interlocutory orders may be issued in a Divorce proceeding to prevent injury or irreparable harm during the pendency of the lawsuit. For example, an interlocutory order may require one spouse to pay the other spouse a designated weekly sum for support, pending a decision on Alimony and Child Support. This prevents the spouse and children from being without income during the action.

Courts may also issue interlocutory orders where property is about to be sold or forfeited and a lawsuit has been filed seeking to stop the action. In this type of case, a court will enter an interlocutory Injunction, preventing the transfer of property until it has made a final decision. To do otherwise would cause irreparable harm and would complicate legal title to the property if the person contesting the transfer ultimately prevailed.

Thus, though the courts value finality in most proceedings, interlocutory orders and appeals are available to protect important rights and to enhance judicial economy.


adj. provisional and not intended to by final. This usually refers to court orders which are temporary. (See: interlocutory decree)


adjective interim, intermedial, intervening, interventional, nonfinal, not final, provisional, provisory, temporary, tentative, transient, transitory
Associated concepts: interlocutory appeal, interlocutory costs, interlocutory decree, interlocutory injunction, interrocutory order, interlocutory rulings


not final, while the action is still proceeding.

INTERLOCUTORY. This word is applied to signify something which is done between the commencement and the end of a suit or action which decides some point or matter, which however is not a final decision of the matter in issue; as, interlocutory judgments, or decrees or orders. Vide Judgment, interlocutory.

References in periodicals archive ?
at 48 ("Congress' designation of the rulemaking process as the way to define or refine when a district court ruling is 'final' and when an interlocutory order is appealable warrants the Judiciary's full respect.
Applying the above reasoning from Burke to an interlocutory order in an Article 78 proceeding, an interlocutory order in an Article 78 proceeding may properly be deemed final if it "disposes of all of the causes of action between the parties in the .
In contrast to the Commission Scolaire Francophone case, the application judge in Zenon Park appears to have intended that the interlocutory order lead the parties to a settlement, stating that "it is to be hoped that compliance with the order will obviate the necessity for further proceedings.
In Kinney, the CAAF issued an interlocutory order on 28 September 2001, requiring the government to answer additional questions certified by the court regarding National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) checks.
2d at 679-80 ("This case illustrates how a basic right such as trial by jury can be litigated almost ancillary to the lesser problem of the appealability of an interlocutory order.
The opinion issued this morning reversed the interlocutory order issued May 23, 2007 by the Circuit Court of Buchanan County, Virginia and held that a lease between CNX and Pocahontas Mining Limited Liability Company ("PMC") did not grant CNX an exclusive right to transport gas across PMC's property.
It is only in exceptional cases, such as those where the lower court acts without or in excess of jurisdiction, or where the interlocutory order does not conform to the essential requirements of law and may reasonably cause material injury throughout the subsequent proceedings for which the remedy by appeal will be inadequate, that this court will exercise its discretionary power to issue the writ.
198, 210 (1999) ("Congress'[s] designation of the rulemaking process as the way to define or refine when a district court ruling is 'final' and when an interlocutory order is appealable warrants the Judiciary's full respect.
In addition, the petitioners seek an interlocutory order prohibiting the respondents from granting permits until the petition is heard.
These deadlines are the same whether the appeal is from a final judgment or an interlocutory order, or is an expedited appeal.
In overturning these portions of the lower court ruling, the Virginia Supreme Court noted that the Circuit Court's interlocutory order granted relief that CNX Gas Company, LLC ("CNX") had not requested, failed to consider the factors necessary for injunctive relief, failed to comply with Virginia requirements that the duration of a temporary injunction be fixed, and failed to comply with Virginia requirements regarding the posting of a bond.