Law of the Case

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Law of the Case

The principle that if the highest appellate court has determined a legal question and returned the case to the court below for additional proceedings, the question will not be determined differently on a subsequent appeal in the same case where the facts remain the same.

The law of the case expresses the rule that the final judgment of the highest court is the final determination of the rights of the parties. The doctrine of "law of the case" is one of policy only, however, and will be disregarded when compelling circumstances require a redetermination of the point of law decided on the prior appeal. Such circumstances exist when an intervening or contemporaneous change in the law has transpired by the establishment of new precedent by a controlling authority or the overruling of former decisions.

Courts have ruled that instructions—directions given by the judge to the jury concerning the law applicable to the case—are the "law of the case" where the appealing defendant, the petitioner, accepted the instructions as correct at the time they were given.

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

law of the case

n. once a judge has decided a legal question during the conduct of a lawsuit, he/she is unlikely to change his/her views and will respond that ruling is the "law of the case."

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"Do you wish me to go into the law of the case?" he inquired.
As a lawyer, the law of the case has been concluded.)
erroneous application of the "law of the case" doctrine, a
The aim of this article is to inform the reader and update practitioners about the misapplication of the law of the case doctrine that raises procedural and substantive due process concerns when appellate courts determine entitlement to appellate attorneys' fees without the benefit of a trial court record.
The doctrine of the law of the case requires that questions of law actually decided on appeal must govern the case in the same court and the trial court, through all subsequent stages of the proceedings.
This is contrary to the trend of many courts that do allow "experts" to render opinions that are remotely supported by the facts and law of the case. (Sanchez v.
'[T]he issues and the causes of action raised in the complaints filed in the two cases are different, thus rendering both doctrines of res judicata and the 'law of the case' inapplicable,' it said.
'We do not find any merit either in petitioners' assertions that the instant case must be deemed barred by res judicata and the 'law of the case' principle in light of this court's earlier decision,' it added.
Both at the trial and appellate level, the related doctrines of the law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel enforce the finality of a court's work and discourage relitigation.
(13) To determine the extent to which a final judgment precludes subsequent litigation, one must look to the judicial doctrines of the law of the case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel.
The law of the case doctrine generally applies to preclude parties from relitigating any issue previously resolved by the appellate court.