Also found in: Dictionary.
Anything (e.g., a document or legislation) that is effective immediately without the need of intervening court action, ancillary legislation, or other type of implementing action.
A constitutional provision is self-executing when it can be given effect without the aid of legislation, and there is nothing to indicate that legislation is intended to make it operative. For example, a constitutional provision that any municipality by vote of four-sevenths of its qualified electors may issue and sell revenue bonds in order to pay for the cost of purchasing a municipally owned public utility is self-executing and effective without a legislative enactment.
Constitutional provisions are not self-executing if they merely set forth a line of policy or principles without supplying the means by which they are to be effectuated, or if the language of the constitution is directed to the legislature. As a result, a constitutional provision that the legislature shall direct by law in what manner and in what court suits may be brought against the state is not self-executing.
Just as with constitutional provisions, statutes and court judgments can be self-executing.
adj. immediately effective without further action, legislation or legal steps. Some statutes are self-executing, as are some legal rights (such as when a person holds property as security, title may pass automatically when payments are not made). Most judgments in lawsuits are not self-executing and are only documents giving the winning party the right to try to collect.