Authorities Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Authorities, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Authorities?

(n) Authorities are the prevailing legal guidance, previous decisions or rulings of the court etc that are used as a stand or supporting instance on a situation, or position under consideration.

History and Meaning of Authorities

Authorities refer to the set of laws, regulations, legal principles, previous court cases, and other legal guidance used as a reference while deciding on legal matters. These can come in various formats such as written laws or judicial decisions, and are used to form a precedent in a particular field of law. The term authorities is often used in the legal world to ensure consistency and accuracy of legal decision-making across multiple cases.

Examples of Authorities

  1. In a criminal trial, the prosecutor cited the case of State v. Smith as an authority for presenting the evidence in a particular way.
  2. A judge may rely on the legal authorities to reach a decision on a case of intellectual property theft.
  3. Using legal authorities, the immigration officer determined whether an individual was eligible for asylum.

Legal Terms Similar to Authorities

Here are some similar legal terms to authorities:

  1. Precedent - A previously established legal principle or decision that shapes the outcome of a current case.
  2. Stare decisis - A legal doctrine that requires courts to follow prior decisions made by courts in similar cases.
  3. Binding authority - Legal authority that a court is required to follow when making a decision.
  4. Persuasive authority - A legal authority that can be used to support a case but is not binding.
  5. Case law - The collection of legal decisions written by judges in various courts over time, which can be used as a guide in future cases.