En Banc Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of En Banc, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is En Banc?
(on bonk) French for “in the bench,” it signifies a decision by the full court of all the appeals judges in jurisdictions where there is more than one three- or four-judge panel. The larger number sit in judgment when the court feels there is a particularly significant issue at stake or when requested by one or both parties to the case and agreed to by the court.
History and Meaning of En Banc
En Banc is a term used in the legal system to describe a decision by the full court of all appeals judges when there is more than one three or four-judge panel. The term comes from French, meaning "in the bench." This is a special session called for important or controversial cases or when requested by one or both parties to the case and agreed to by the court. The larger number of judges sits in judgment, with the goal of coming to a consensus decision.
Examples of En Banc
- In the 2019 case of Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held an en banc session to hear the case, which dealt with transgender students and their ability to use the bathroom of their choice.
- In 2018, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued an en banc decision in Garza v. Hargan, which dealt with the reproductive rights of undocumented minors in U.S. custody.
- In 2014, the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held an en banc session in Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board, which was a case about presidential appointments and recess appointments.
Legal Terms Similar to En Banc
- Panel Decision - A decision made by a smaller group of judges, usually three or four, who hear and decide a case.
- Petition for Rehearing En Banc - A request made to the court to rehear a case en banc.
- Appellate Court - A court that handles appeals from lower courts; usually, they do not conduct trials, but they review the previous court's decision.