|prev word||definitions home||next word|
the reason given for a court's judgment, finding or conclusion, as opposed to the decision, which is the judgment itself. When the court is composed of more than one judge or justice, and more than one opinion has been written in a given case, the opinion that expresses the view of the majority of the judges presiding, and thus announces the decision of the court, is referred to as the
CONCURRING OPINION: a view basically in accord with the majority opinion, but written to express a somewhat different perception of the issues, to illuminate a particular judge's reasoning or to expound a principle that he or she holds in high esteem. An opinion that concurs "in the result only" is one that rejects the reasoning and conclusions concerning the law or the facts on the basis of which the majority reached its decision, and that expresses a different view that has coincidentally led the judge or justice to recommend the same
disposition as was agreed upon by the majority.
DISSENTING OPINION: a view that disagrees with the disposition made of the case by the court, with the facts or law on the basis of which the court arrived at its decision, or the principles of law announced by the court in deciding the case. Opinions may also be written that express a dissent "in part".
EXPERT OPINION: see expert witness.
LAY OPINION: see lay witness.
MAJORITY OPINION: one that is joined by a majority of the court. Generally known as "the opinion".
PER CURIAM OPINION: an opinion "by the court", which expresses its decision in the case without identifying the author.
PLURALITY OPINION: one agreed to by less than a majority of the court but the result of which is agreed to by the majority. A plurality opinion carries less weight under stare decisis than does a MAJORITY OPINION (above).
Opinion also refers to the conclusions reached by a witness that are drawn from his or her observations of the facts.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016