Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
The refusal by a judge to sustain an objection set forth by an attorney during a trial, such as an objection to a particular question posed to a witness. To make void, annul, supersede, or reject through a subsequent decision or action.
A judicial decision is overruled when a later decision, made by the same tribunal or a higher court in the same system, hands down a decision concerning the identical Question of Law, which is in direct opposition to the earlier decision. The earlier decision is thereby overruled and deprived of its authority as precedent.
v. 1) to reject an attorney's objection to a question of a witness or admission of evidence. By overruling the objection, the trial judge allows the question or evidence in court. If the judge agrees with the objection he/she "sustains" the objection and does not allow the question or evidence. 2) to decide (by a court of appeals) that a prior appeals decision on a legal issue was not correct, and is therefore no longer a valid precedent on that legal question. (See: objection, sustain)
overruleverb abrogate, annul, cancel, decide against, gubernare, invalidate, make null, make void, nullify, obviate, override, overturn, refuse to sustain, reject, reject by subsequent action, reject by subbequent decision, renounce, repeal, repudiate, rescind, reverse, revoke, rule against, rule out, set aside, undo, upset, vincere, void
Associated concepts: overrule a decision, overrule a motion, overrule an objection
See also: abolish, abrogate, annul, cancel, command, disaffirm, disown, dominate, invalidate, negate, nullify, override, predominate, prevent, quash, reject, repeal, repudiate, rescind, subjugate, supersede, vacate, void, withdraw
overruleto set aside the rule of a lower court. When achieved by a superior court in the Anglo-American system, the effect is retrospective. The term can be used of a statute that changes the legal effect of a decision. This is done from the date the statute comes into force.
Parliament can, of course, make the statute come into effect retrospectively, but this is something that is generally thought to be a dangerous form of legislation that may go against the rule of law.
TO OVERRULE. To annul, to make void. This word is frequently used to signify
that a case has been decided directly opposite to a former case; when this
takes place, the first decided case is said to be overruled as a precedent,
and cannot any longer be considered as of binding authority.
2. Mr. Greenleaf has made a very valuable collection of overruled cases, of great service to the practitioner.
3. The term overrule also signifies that a majority of the judges have decided against the opinion of the minority, in which case the latter are said to be overruled.