(redirected from overruling)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


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.

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


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)

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


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.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
We can also see if the Justices' views on stare decisis and overruling have changed over time.
CONTENTS I Introduction A Background B The Aim of Our Article II Approaches to Overruling in the Scholarly Literature A The Approach of J W Harris B The Approach of B V Harris C Comparing the Approaches III Approaches to Overruling in Imbrue A The Case B The Approach of the Plurality 1 The First Consideration 2 The Second Consideration 3 The Third Consideration 4 The Fourth Consideration 5 The Fifth Consideration (a) Proximity (b) Knowledge of Inexperience C The Approach of Kirby J D The Approach of Heydon J IV Imbree in Context A Summary B Esso 1 Improvement to the Law 2 The 'No New Reasons' Constraint C Brodie 1 Improvement to the Law 2 The 'No New Reasons' Constraint V Conclusion I INTRODUCTION
I believe Justice Kennedy starts from the premise that abortion ought to be legally discouraged, but I suspect he is deeply worried about the political backlash that the Court might trigger by precipitously overruling Roe.
The Fourteenth Amendment's first sentence provides that all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside, overruling Dred Scott's equally insidious citizenship holding.
Overruling the district court's certification granted in May 2003, Texas' 3rd Court of Appeals decreed the attorney general and insurance department should have received input from representatives of policyholders who held outstanding complaints against the insurer before crafting the final settlement.
"It is cited in every property textbook in the country" By overruling Poletown, she says, "The court literally rewrote the book."
They completely undercut CEO Don Daft by overruling him in his quest to purchase Quaker Oats, among other decisions.
Why are we paying our taxes if we cannot make our own laws without unelected European bureaucrats overruling us ?
(43) Overruling only one decision from the time of his election to the court in 1991 until 1997, Justice Moore was not immediately insulated by the 1996 amendment, as he was preparing for his 1998 re-election.
As an atypical application of the general act of ruling, the act of overruling requires its own set of conditions before it can achieve legal force.
Its goal is to present one million signatures to Congress in January 2004 to show support for overruling Ten Commandments decisions.
Winter's overruling of his linesman's flag helped Liverpool regain the lead and they went on to wrap up the points with a late third goal.