first instance

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First Instance

The initial trial court where an action is brought.

A court of first instance is distinguishable from an appellate court, which is a court of last instance. In the federal court system, a federal district court is a court of first instance, whereas the Supreme Court is the court of last instance.

first instance

first court hearing. Courts may be described as being courts of first instance if they hear or try cases as opposed to hearing appeals. See APPEAL; see also COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE.
References in classic literature ?
I shouldn't have put myself in this painful position, I assure you, but that the lad himself desired to be brought here in the first instance, and I yielded to his prayers.
Micawber may have concealed his difficulties from me in the first instance, but his sanguine temper may have led him to expect that he would overcome them.
As for you, son of Atreus, treat people more righteously in future; it is no disgrace even to a king that he should make amends if he was wrong in the first instance.
I got up again from the sofa, strong in a daring resolution which the Scotch Verdict had suddenly kindled in me--a resolution at once too sacred and too desperate to be confided, in the first instance, to any other than my husband's ear.
The fables were in the first instance only narrated by Aesop, and for a long time were handed down by the uncertain channel of oral tradition.
Indeed, if he had been distracted in the first instance by questionings and orders, it would have taken him at the least a fortnight to have noted what is here set down; but it happened that the gentleman, being struck with the old house, or with the plump pigeons which were skimming and curtseying about it, or with the tall maypole, on the top of which a weathercock, which had been out of order for fifteen years, performed a perpetual walk to the music of its own creaking, sat for some little time looking round in silence.
I say they came to this determination in the first instance.
To her they were variously shaped and colored petals, poised, at different seasons of the year, upon very similar green stalks; but to him they were, in the first instance, bulbs or seeds, and later, living things endowed with sex, and pores, and susceptibilities which adapted themselves by all manner of ingenious devices to live and beget life, and could be fashioned squat or tapering, flame-colored or pale, pure or spotted, by processes which might reveal the secrets of human existence.
Such a lodge was in the first instance constructed in a day or two at most, and taken down and put up in a few hours; and every family owned one, or its apartment in one.
Monsieur," said I, "I addressed myself to you in the first instance, as in duty bound.
I had my pick of the spoil in the first instance, and much more was allotted to me later on.
If it had been given to me in the first instance," said Fanny, "I should not have thought of returning it; but being her brother's present, is not it fair to suppose that she would rather not part with it, when it is not wanted?

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