Ruling – a determination made during the course of a trial, or the final decision in a case

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n. (16c)

1. The outcome of a court’s decision either on some point of law or on the case as a whole. — aka legal ruling.  Cf. JUDGMENT (2); OPINION (1). [1]

1. A determination made by the court during the course of a trial, for example, a determination of the admissibility of particular evidence. State v O’Brien, 18 Mont1, 43 P 1091.  In some connections, the final decision in a case. [2]

1. A determination made by a judge or a hearing officer during the course of a trial or hearing.  EXAMPLE:  a determination with respect to the admissibility of particular evidence.

2. The final decision in a case, whether by a court or an administrative agency  of a statute or regulation.  EXAMPLE: a determination letter. [3]

     Excerpt from Robert E. Keeton’s Judging (1990):

     “A distinction is sometimes made between rules and rulings.  Whether or not a formal distinction is declared, in common usage ‘legal ruling’ (or simply ‘ruling’) is a term ordinarily used to signify the outcome of applying a legal test when that outcome is one of relatively narrow impact.  The immediate effect is to decide an issue in a single case. This meaning contrasts, for example, with the usual meaning of ‘legal rule’ (or simply ‘rule’).  The term ‘rule’ ordinarily refers to a legal proposition of general application.  A ‘ruling’ may have force as precedent, but ordinarily it has that force because the conclusion it expresses (for example, ‘objection sustained’) explicitly depends upon and implicitly reiterates a ‘rule’ -a legal proposition of more general application . . . . [4]



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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: Robert E. Keeton, Judging 67-68 (1990).


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