Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Subfile Order Definition:

A declaration of rights as regards waterways for the interim regulation of those rights pending a final determination of those rights either by contract or judicially.

A legal term used in some jurisdictions; a form of an interim order as regards waterways.

In State v Parker Townsend, Justice Ransom wrote:

"Subfile orders are a declaration of water rights upon which persons rely in the use and transfer of such rights for decades before a final resolution of the universal questions at issue inter se."

In a case commentary published a year later:

"Subfile orders in adjudications are final orders as between the state and the applicant insofar as they resolve all claims for relief between those parties, which can be reopened only under ... if the subfile order reserves for future determination one or more issues contested by the state and the applicant, the trial court would be required to determine expressly that there is no just reason for delay to make the subfile order final and appealable.

"If the subfile order resolves all issues between the state and the applicant, the trial court could render that order interlocutory only by expressly labeling it as such."1


  • Committee Reports, Resources Group, 1995 Nat. Resources Energy & Envtl. L. Year Rev., page 355 [NOTE 1]
  • State v Parker Townsend Ranch, 887 P. 2d 1247 (Supreme Court of New Mexico, 1994)

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