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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 squabble that carries the misnomer 'Sir Creek dispute' is arguably the most solvable of the contentious issues on the bilateral table.
New Delhi [India], Oct 24 ( ANI ): The internal squabble in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is shocking and unprecedented in the history of the country's premier investigation agency, former officials of the probe agency said.
After the leadership row, the squabble shifted to the minority leader position, with three factions claiming to be the minority bloc.
Murang'a Woman Representative Sabina Chege said she will organise seminars to train men on how to deal with domestic squabbles.
"These, among others, include the maligning of my reputation in the recent name-dropping incident in the Bureau of Customs smuggling case and the very public squabble with my daughter," Vice Mayor Duterte said.
An Indian high court has intervened in the long-drawn-out squabble between promoters of Yes Bank (YESBANK.NS).
Meanwhile, some squabbles are continuing between policemen and protesters around the Silivri courthouse where neighboring with the courthouse.
COMIC Frank Skinner is to star in a new BBC radio comedy - made up of a couple's bitter squabbles.
The premise has the distinct whiff of a Jeremy Kyle-style airing of dirty laundry, but O'Leary says it's "a light-hearted studio-based entertainment show but with couples discussing the squabbles within their relationship.
Upon Youssef Issa's release from hospital and arrival to said Camp, the squabble reignited between other members of Amer and Issa families leading to another shooting between Amer's brother Naji, who used a pistol to shoot Rawad Issa twice in the foot.
Summary: Riyadh, Jumada Al-Awwal 08, 1432 / April 12, 2011, SPA -- A border squabble between Border guard at Dhahran Al-Janoub and a group of infiltrators at the Southern border early today led to the injury and arrest of one infiltrator and killing of one Border Guard soldier, it was reported.
NINEWA / Aswat al-Iraq: A man and his wife were shot dead by his father after a squabble in northwestern Mosul city on Friday, according to a local police source in Ninewa province.