Declaratory Judgment

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Declaratory Judgment

Statutory remedy for the determination of a Justiciable controversy where the plaintiff is in doubt as to his or her legal rights. A binding adjudication of the rights and status of litigants even though no consequential relief is awarded.

Individuals may seek a declaratory judgment after a legal controversy has arisen but before any damages have occurred or any laws have been violated. A declaratory judgment differs from other judicial rulings in that it does not require that any action be taken. Instead, the judge, after analyzing the controversy, simply issues an opinion declaring the rights of each of the parties involved. A declaratory judgment may only be granted in justiciable controversies—that is, in actual, rather than hypothetical, controversies that fall within a court's jurisdiction.

A declaratory judgment, sometimes called declaratory relief, is conclusive and legally binding as to the present and future rights of the parties involved. The parties involved in a declaratory judgment may not later seek another court resolution of the same legal issue unless they appeal the judgment.

Declaratory judgments are often sought in situations involving contracts, deeds, leases, and wills. An insurance company, for example, might seek a declaratory judgment as to whether a policy applies to a certain person or event. Declaratory judgments also commonly involve individuals or parties who seek to determine their rights under specific regulatory or criminal laws.

Declaratory judgments are considered a type of preventive justice because, by informing parties of their rights, they help them to avoid violating specific laws or the terms of a contract. In 1934 Congress enacted the Declaratory Judgment Act (28 U.S.C.A. § 2201 et seq.), which allows for declaratory judgments concerning issues of federal law. At the state level, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws passed the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act (12 U.L.A. 109) in 1922. Between 1922 and 1993, this act was adopted in forty-one states, the Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Most other states have varying laws that provide for declaratory judgments. Most declaratory judgment laws grant judges discretion to decide whether or not to issue a declaratory judgment.

Further readings

Howard, Davis J. 1994. "Declaratory Judgment Coverage Actions." Ohio Northern University Law Review 13.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

declaratory judgment

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. (See: declaratory relief)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Tenant waives its right to bring a declaratory judgment action with respect to any provision of this Lease or with respect to any notice sent pursuant to the provisions of this Lease...
Davis told Sampson the case was a perfect set of circumstances for a declaratory judgment because a controversy exists between the parties now, not just once there is a judgment against one of the officers.
Box 1688, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72702-1688, have filed a Petition lor Declaratory Judgment to Declare Manufactured Home Abandoned and for Issuance of a New Certificate of Title herein against you alleging that a manulactured home that you previously resided in and owned and have since abandoned remains abandoned on the premises owned by the petition, and seeks to have the Court declare and order the Arkansas Department ot Finance and Administration to issue a new Certificate of Title to the manulactured home created in the name ol the petilioners.
In other words, he might have squarely rejected the idea that the Declaratory Judgment Act would allow a mirror-image case into federal court.
The Federal Circuit explained that if the biosimilar applicant fails to provide its abbreviated biologic license application to the RPS, the RPS may bring a declaratory judgment action for a declaration of infringement, validity or enforceability of any patent that claims the biological product or a use of the biological product under 42 U.S.C.
The brokers brought the action in Supreme Court, New York County, seeking a declaratory judgment on their rights, asserting that their resignations and termination of their relationship was based on their disagreement with the November, 1987, decision of a majority of the board to suspend writing new and renewal insurance and reinsurance.
Pharmaceutical company IGI Laboratories (NYSE MKT: IG) on Thursday reported an agreement to settle a declaratory judgment action concerning its filing of an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking approval to market a generic version of PENNSAID (diclofenac sodium topical solution) 1.5% w/w.
Broad River Quarries LLC, represented by Conyers attorneys John Nix and Michael Waldrop, is seeking declaratory judgment, an injunction against operations, damages and attorney fees in its lawsuit filed May 21.
When plaintiffs want prospective relief, they usually request an injunction, a declaratory judgment, or both.
The board filed the lawsuit for declaratory judgment in circuit court against the paper's parent company, Consolidated Publishing Co.
What Catalyst is requesting is a declaratory judgment by the court that it is not infringing on any of Doe's patents.