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An actual dispute between individuals who seek judicial resolution of their grievances that have arisen from a conflict of their alleged legal rights.

A controversy describes only civil litigation, which is intended to protect and enforce private rights. In contrast, the term case applies to both a civil action and a criminal prosecution, designed to enforce and safeguard the rights of the general public.

The judicial power of a court to provide redress of wrongs exists only when issues arise in a given situation that can be categorized as a case or controversy.

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


n. 1) disagreement, argument, or quarrel. 2) a dispute, which must be an actual contested issue between parties in order to be heard by a court. The United States Supreme Court particularly requires an "actual controversy" and avoids giving "what if" advisory opinions. (See: advisory opinion, collusion)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

CONTROVERSY. A dispute arising between two or more persons. It differs from case, which includes all suits criminal as well as civil; whereas controversy is a civil and not a criminal proceeding. 2 Dall. R. 419, 431, 432; 1 Tuck. Bl. Com. App. 420, 421; Story, Const. Sec. 1668.
     2. By the constitution of the United States the judicial power shall extend to controversies to which the United States shall be a party. Art. 2, 1. The meaning to be attached to the word controversy in the constitution, is that above given.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The military has largely been enigmatic in its reaction to the many controversies surrounding the President.
More than 40 leading experts will present their views and stimulate conversation on these controversies and other emerging areas.
Further slamming the Prime Minister for being silent on Lalitgate and other controversies, Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh alleged that he was helping the former IPL chief in getting him bailed out of Enforcement Directorate ( ED) cases against him.
"I really don't know if the controversies were following me or they were being put on me.
Noting the famed positivist challenge to metaphysics and the presence of widespread disagreement amongst intellectual peers, Senderwicz sets out to "clarify the nature of metaphysical controversies and their significance to the rational nature of the metaphysics of mind" by approaching controversies as instances of a Kantian antinomy.
He has a plan to move forward and he has handled the team well despite the situation arising out of the spot-fixing controversies surrounding our players and other issues," the Daily Times quoted Butt, as telling reporters.
At the outset, the controversies over aquaculture appear to be a labyrinth.
While President All-Pakistan Local Government Workers federation Punjab Ghulam Muhammad Naz forwarded a letter to Chief Minister Punjab regarding maltreatment of WAPDA officials and to suggest to allow DCO to address all such controversies in future.
Michael Kammen's Visual Shock (Knopf) recounts America's major art controversies since the 1830s.
Again this year, much time and effort were expended by the participants in an effort to provide you with information, via this supplement, that covers the diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment of the discharging ear and the controversies that are inherent in its management.
Early Renaissance Invective and the Controversies of Antonia da Rho David Rutherford Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies Arizona State University, PO Box 874402, Tempe, AZ 85287-4402 0866983457 $48.00
America's Controversies: The Death Penalty, Clinton's Presidency, And Export Of Democracy To Nicaragua by journalist researcher and writer Ksenija Arsic is an intriguing collection of independent essays and original research papers covering various aspects of modern America's political activities both national and international.