First Impression Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is First Impression?

(adj) First impression is the opinion or inference reached by a court, authority or person by applying the logic and reasoning on the circumstances prevailing in that case, when a similar precedence, decision, ruling etc are not existing to guide them.

History and Meaning of First Impression

In legal terms, a first impression is an initial decision made by a court on a legal matter that has not been previously decided by a higher or equal court. This means that in cases where there is no relevant legal precedent, the court or authority must rely solely on their reasoning and interpretation of the circumstance at hand to make their decision. As such, the first impression can set the precedent for all future cases involving similar legal issues.

Examples of First Impression

  1. In a case where a company sues an individual for infringing on their trademark, but the court has never before encountered a similar case. The court would need to use their own reasoning to make a decision, setting the precedent for future cases involving trademark infringement.
  2. In a case involving a new technology or innovation, the court may need to make a first impression ruling on whether or not the technology infringes on existing patents or intellectual property rights. This would set the precedent for all future cases involving similar technologies.
  3. An administrative agency may need to make a first impression ruling on a new law or regulation that has not yet been interpreted by the court. The ruling would then set a precedent for all similar cases that come before the agency.

Legal Terms Similar to First Impression

  1. Precedent - A legal decision that serves as a guide or authority for future cases involving similar legal issues.
  2. Stare Decisis - The legal principle that courts should follow the rulings of higher or equal courts in similar cases.
  3. Case Law - A collection of legal precedents created by past court decisions.