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The refusal by a judge to sustain an objection set forth by an attorney during a trial, such as an objection to a particular question posed to a witness. To make void, annul, supersede, or reject through a subsequent decision or action.

A judicial decision is overruled when a later decision, made by the same tribunal or a higher court in the same system, hands down a decision concerning the identical Question of Law, which is in direct opposition to the earlier decision. The earlier decision is thereby overruled and deprived of its authority as precedent.


v. 1) to reject an attorney's objection to a question of a witness or admission of evidence. By overruling the objection, the trial judge allows the question or evidence in court. If the judge agrees with the objection he/she "sustains" the objection and does not allow the question or evidence. 2) to decide (by a court of appeals) that a prior appeals decision on a legal issue was not correct, and is therefore no longer a valid precedent on that legal question. (See: objection, sustain)


verb abrogate, annul, cancel, decide against, gubernare, invalidate, make null, make void, nullify, obviate, override, overturn, refuse to sustain, reject, reject by subsequent action, reject by subbequent decision, renounce, repeal, repudiate, rescind, reverse, revoke, rule against, rule out, set aside, undo, upset, vincere, void
Associated concepts: overrule a decision, overrule a motion, overrule an objection
See also: abolish, abrogate, annul, cancel, command, disaffirm, disown, dominate, invalidate, negate, nullify, override, predominate, prevent, quash, reject, repeal, repudiate, rescind, subjugate, supersede, vacate, void, withdraw


to set aside the rule of a lower court. When achieved by a superior court in the Anglo-American system, the effect is retrospective. The term can be used of a statute that changes the legal effect of a decision. This is done from the date the statute comes into force.

Parliament can, of course, make the statute come into effect retrospectively, but this is something that is generally thought to be a dangerous form of legislation that may go against the rule of law.

TO OVERRULE. To annul, to make void. This word is frequently used to signify that a case has been decided directly opposite to a former case; when this takes place, the first decided case is said to be overruled as a precedent, and cannot any longer be considered as of binding authority.
     2. Mr. Greenleaf has made a very valuable collection of overruled cases, of great service to the practitioner.
     3. The term overrule also signifies that a majority of the judges have decided against the opinion of the minority, in which case the latter are said to be overruled.

References in periodicals archive ?
Justice Taylor's first rationale asserts that where a previous court's decision rested on false presumptions, or failed to take into account practical considerations, the current court should reexamine such a case, and, upon finding it erroneous, overrule it.
Would the Supreme Court overrule First Security Bank if it heard the case?
As the campaign gathered steam, Dean Seligman had a change of heart and concluded that the LSPL should indeed be recognized, though he reiterated that he would not directly intervene to overrule the student government.
Karlton refused June 5 to overrule school officials who would not allow two graduating seniors in Oroville to read speeches studded with Christian content.
Section 162(k) was enacted to overrule the decision in Five Star Manufacturing Co.
Justice White opined that Bacchus should be applied retroactively even if it was wrongly decided on that issue, but disagreed with Justice Souter's disclaimer of the propriety of pure prospectivity (discussed below), presumably because he was not inclined to overrule the Court's prior holdings recognizing that principle.
This month, in a victory for environmentalists, a Federal judge upheld the EPA's right to overrule such permits on environmental grounds.
The line judge correctly signalled the ball was in only for Portuguese umpire Mariana Alves, sitting the other side of the court, to overrule.
Supreme Court upholds the North Dakota Supreme Court's 1990 decision, it will overrule its precedent established in National Bellas Hess v.