Collateral Attack Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Collateral Attack?

A new legal proceeding initiated to challenge judgement given in a former case in the form of a new case because of dissatisfaction of the judgment given.It is different from appeal where challenge is given to the decision made in the same case.

History and Meaning of Collateral Attack

A collateral attack happens when a party files a new legal proceeding to challenge a former case's decision instead of appealing it within the same case. It is a legal strategy that challenges a court's jurisdiction over an issue in question. A collateral attack can be used when a party contests the validity of a judicial ruling, such as a judgment or decree, or the court's authority to make decisions.

Collateral attacks are different from appeals because they challenge the original ruling's fairness and legality, rather than the court's interpretation of the law. The strategy is based on the notion that a court's decision, even if obtained through proper legal procedures, is not always correct or just, and it requires an independent review.

Examples of Collateral Attack

  1. The Supreme Court's decision to overturn the landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade, could face a collateral attack from abortion rights advocates. They could file a new lawsuit arguing that the ruling violates their constitutional rights.

  2. A defendant who was convicted of a crime based on evidence obtained through an illegal search and seizure could file a collateral attack seeking to overturned the original ruling.

  3. A property owner who was subject to an eminent domain proceeding could file a collateral attack after the city sells the property for a different use.

Legal Terms Similar to Collateral Attack

  1. Appeal: an application to a higher court for a reversal of the decision of a lower court.
  2. Habeas Corpus: a legal action by which a person can seek relief from arbitrary detention.
  3. Res Judicata: a legal doctrine that prohibits a party from relitigating a claim or issue that has already been determined in a previous suit.