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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.


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)


(Argument), noun altercatio, antagonism, argumentation, brawl, break, broil, conflict, conflict of opinion, contention, contest, controversia, debate, difference of opinion, disaccord, disagreement, disceptatio, disceptation, discongruity, discordance, disharmony, disputation, dispute, dissuted point, disputed question, dissension, dissidence, disunion, disunity, divergence, divergent opinions, embroilment, failure to agree, feud, friction, impugnation, incongruence, inconsistency, inharmoniousness, inharmony, jangle, lack of concord, opposition, polemics, quarrel, question at issue, rupture, set-to, split, squabble, strife, subject of dispute, unconformity, variance, wrangle
Associated concepts: arbitrable controversy, matters in connroversy, submission of a controversy


(Lawsuit), noun action, case, case at law, cause, contest, judicial contest, legal action, legal arrument, legal proceeding, legal process, litigation, matter for judgment, process in law, suit in law
Associated concepts: actual present controversy, amount in controversy, case or controversy, controversies in bankkuptcy, controversy arising under Constitution, controversy arising under laws of the United States, controversy at law or in equity, controversy between citizens of a state and a foreign country, controversy between citizens of different states, controversy over claim, justiciable controversy, real controversy, settlement of controversy in bankruptcy, subbect of controversy, sum in controversy
See also: altercation, argument, belligerency, case, conflict, contention, contest, contradiction, difference, disaccord, disagreement, discord, disparity, dispute, dissension, dissidence, feud, fight, lawsuit, opposition, rift, strife, struggle, variance

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.

References in classic literature ?
and with that he fled alike from the controversy and the danger.
spoke on several other issues but he has not uttered a single word on the Latit Modi controversy.
The current controversy relating to developing an MLS system in Manhattan is a natural part of the evolution of our industry, where there are distinct types of firms, each with special kinds of needs, said Neil Binder, principal and cofounder of the Bellmarc Companies.
The Supreme Court agreed with Delaware, noting that "[t]he mere introduction of any factual controversy over the location of a debtor's principal executive orifices needlessly complicates an inquiry made irreducibly simple by Texas' adoption of a test based on the State of incorporation.
A year after the eruption of a sometimes bitter controversy over a gay flag and the town's commitment to nondiscrimination, Ogunquit, a coastal summer resort in Maine, remains as popular as ever with gay tourists.
But, he added immediately that the cause of Pius XII has occasioned a controversy and that, out of respect for the survivors of the holocaust, a moratorium of fifty years on the continuation of his cause would be in order.
Litigation risk assessments (LRA) use decision analysis tools to enhance the traditional approach to the evaluation and management of a tax controversy or other legal dispute.
Although the trial may not end the controversy over the drug's benefits, Packer says, it is likely to make digitalis a second-tier drug.
Minnesota's situation augurs for the probability of similar controversy in other states that have significant state and county forestlands.
And we all know what happens when critical decisions are made behind closed doors instead of on the field: controversy.