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A brief summary of a legal rule or a significant fact in a case that, among other headnotes that apply to the case, precedes the full text opinion printed in the reports or reporters. A syllabus to a reported case that summarizes the points decided in the case and is placed before the text of the opinion.

Each jurisdiction usually determines whether headnotes are part of the law or only an editorial device to facilitate research. Most headnotes are included by private publishers and do not constitute a part of an opinion. The most notable publisher that employs headnotes is the West Group in the National Reporter System, which publishes cases from practically every jurisdiction. Use of headnotes in the National Reporter System is generally consistent, regardless of the jurisdiction. The Reporter of Decisions for the United States Supreme Court also prepares a syllabus for Supreme Court decisions, when feasible, at the time an opinion is issued. The syllabus summarizes the points of law addressed in each case, but does not constitute a part of the opinion and does not constitute binding authority.

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


n. the summary of the key legal points determined by an appeals court, which appears just above each decision in published reports of cases. Headnotes are useful for a quick scan of the judgment, but they are the editor's remarks and not the court's. (See: reports)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Milton's version originally appears, complete with both English and Latin headnote, as follows:
Davis elaborated, "The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Since then, the Supreme Court has continually referred to Chief Justice Waite's remarks in Davis' headnote as precedence for corporate personhood.
His headnote survives four decades of Norton revisions, until the seventh edition (2000) deletes it for good.
The Sarabande of Sara's Band begins with a short headnote to the first chapter, "At the very least about a perfect morning, imperfect marriages, former classmates, and a family crypt." A normal-enough beginning, although the mention of a family crypt may give the reader pause.
For example, the longtime editor of the Yiddish Daily Forward newspaper, Abraham Cahan, who is probably best known outside the Yiddish world for his fiction in English (such as the novel The Rise of David Levinsky) is presented only as "Ab Kahan"--and his headnote makes no mention of his accomplishments in English.
This selection's naked colonialism may surprise some readers (even if they've seen Disney's 2012 film adaptation John Carter), an aspect that Grossman's headnote to "Early Science Fiction" underplays.
Although dissatisfaction with Gale Huntington's Songs the Whalemen Sang (1964) may have prompted Frank's effort (see headnote on p.
CONTENTS I Introduction II The Addis Ratio III Legal Effects of the Headnote Rules A The Direct Effect: Restricted Damages for Wrongful Dismissal B The Indirect Effect: Restricted Contractual Causes of Action C Statutory Exclusion: An Explanation for Restricted Causes of Action?
Wakefield's headnote to this letter explains, "Matthew J.
For example, the court pointed out, it had become customary "for the Judges in preparing their opinions, to incorporate therein a statement of facts." Remove both the preparation of that statement and headnote preparation from the Reporter and, wrote the court, "there ...
The headnote to Florida Ethics Opinion 78-3 states as follows: An attorney may not write a letter to the editor of a newspaper commenting on the merits of pending civil litigation in which he is involved and on his own credibility.
(Mozambique does not feature, and will hopefully be included in the east African region edition.) Each of the 120 texts is accompanied by a headnote written either by the editors themselves or younger researchers.