Decree Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Decree?

n. Synonymous with the term judgment. In some legal areas such as probates of estates, divorce, admiralty law and in court rulings ordering or prohibiting certain acts, the term decrees is more commonly used or preferred. Therefore, judgments may refer to final or interlocutory decrees.

History and Meaning of Decree

The term "Decree" is a legal term that is synonymous with the term "judgment." Decrees are used in certain legal areas such as probate, divorce, admiralty law, and in court rulings that order or prohibit certain acts. The term "decree" is often preferred in these legal areas to refer to the final or interlocutory judgment.

Decrees have been used in legal systems for centuries to establish formal rulings on legal disputes. They allow judges to make formal, legally binding decisions that set the legal terms of disputes. Decrees can have a significant impact on the parties involved in the legal dispute, and their enforcement is typically supported by the power of the legal system.

Examples of Decree

Here are some examples that help to illustrate the use of the term "decree":

  • The probate judge handed down a decree that the will was valid and the estate would be divided according to the terms of the will.
  • The divorce decree stipulated that custody of the children would be shared equally between the parents.
  • The court issued a decree prohibiting the construction company from building within 500 feet of the protected wetland area.
  • The Admiralty judge issued a decree ordering the cargo ship to pay damages to the fishermen whose boat it damaged.

Legal Terms Similar to Decree

Here are some related legal terms to "decree":

  • Judgment: a formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit or trial.
  • Injunction: a court order that requires a person or entity to stop doing a specific action.
  • Writ: a written court order requiring a person or entity to take or stop taking a specific action.