Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select
FindLaw Legal Dictionary

The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.



case n

[Latin casus accident, event, set of circumstances, literally, act of falling]
1 a : a civil or criminal suit or action [the judicial power shall extend to all s, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution "U.S. Constitution art. III"] see also controversy

case at bar
: a case being considered by the court [the facts of the case at bar]

case of first im·pres·sion
: a case that presents an issue or question never before decided or considered by the court

com·pan·ion case
: a case that is heard with another case because it involves similar or related questions of law

test case
1 : a representative case whose outcome will serve as precedent for future cases and esp. for pending cases involving similar or related issues or circumstances and often some of the same parties NOTE: A test case is selected from a number of cases in order to avoid a flood of litigation. All of the parties to the cases must agree to accept the outcome of the test case as binding.
2 : a proceeding usually in the form of a suit for injunction brought to obtain a decision as to the constitutionality of a statute
b : the reported facts, procedural history, and esp. decision in an action

land·mark case
: a case that marks a significant turning point on a particular issue

lead·ing case
: a case so well reasoned and important in the rules of law determined and in the principles declared that it becomes well-known and is frequently cited by courts and lawyers as settling the points of law ruled upon and as useful in resolving new questions of law
c : the evidence and arguments presented by a party in court see also case stated

case in chief
: the main part of a party's case including arguments for which the party bears the burden of proof but not including rebuttal

prima facie case
: a case established by evidence that is sufficient to raise a presumption of fact or establish the fact in question unless rebutted
2 : trespass on the case at trespass
vt cased
: to inspect or study with intent to rob [casing a store]

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options