Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Law of the case Doctrine Definition:

When a court decides upon a rule of law, that decision should continue to govern the same issues in subsequent stages in the same case.

Related Terms: Stare Decisis, Mandate Rule

US flagIn Re Scrivner, Justice Tacha of the US Court of Appeals used these words:

"The doctrine of the law of the case posits that when a court decides upon a rule of law, that decision should continue to govern the same issues in subsequent stages in the same case.

"In addition, the doctrine requires every court to follow the decisions of courts that are higher in the judicial hierarchy."

Similarly, in Long v Burton:

"The law of the case is a rule of appellate procedure whereby, once an appellate court has answered a question of law in a given case, the issue is settled for all future proceedings."

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