Consent Decree Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Consent Decree?

It refers to an understanding and argreement between the parties of the lawsuit that leads to final judgement by the judge with reference to the agreement between the parties. Such thing happens when both parties want to come out of legal impacts and loops and would want to settle the matter by an agreement in presence of the judge. Such sentence given by the court cannot be appealed against unless there is a breach of contract or agreement between the parties.

History and Meaning of Consent Decree

A consent decree is a legal agreement between two parties that has been approved by a judge. The agreement is made without any admission of guilt by either party and is often used to settle disputes before they go to trial. Consent decrees are typically used in cases involving civil rights, antitrust violations, and environmental issues. Consent decrees are designed to avoid lengthy litigation and to ensure that the parties involved comply with the terms of the agreement.

In some cases, the consent decree may require the party that has violated the law to pay fines or undertake specific actions to remedy the situation. In other cases, the agreement may require the party to stop certain activities or behavior. Consent decrees can be appealed, but only if there is a breach of the agreement.

Examples of Consent Decree

  1. In 1997, Microsoft Corporation signed a consent decree with the US Department of Justice to settle an antitrust lawsuit. The decree required Microsoft to share its application programming interfaces (APIs) with third-party software developers and to include competing web browsers with its Windows operating system.

  2. In 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice entered into a consent decree with BP to settle claims related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The decree required BP to pay over $20 billion in damages to affected parties and to take specific steps to prevent future spills.

  3. In 2013, the New York City Police Department agreed to a consent decree with the New York Civil Liberties Union to limit its use of stop-and-frisk searches. The decree required the NYPD to collect data on all stops and to make the data available to the public.

Legal Terms Similar to Consent Decree

  1. Settlement Agreement - a legal agreement to resolve a dispute between two parties, often reached before trial.

  2. Stipulated Judgment - a court order that reflects an agreement between two parties and that is approved by the court.

  3. Injunction - a court order that requires a party to stop engaging in a certain activity or behavior.