Interlocutory Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Interlocutory?

It is refered to a temporary/provisional, normally the order, sentence or decree passed in the court during the course of litigation.

History and Meaning of Interlocutory

An interlocutory order/judgment is a temporary or preliminary judgment that determines some aspect of the main case but does not fully dispose of the controversy. It is issued by the court during the proceedings that is intended to temporarily decide some particular point or matter at issue during the pendency of the suit and has no effect on the ultimate merits of the suit.

Interlocutory applications can be made at any time before the conclusion of the trial. Typically, such an application is brought when a party seeks guidance or a ruling of the court on a preliminary or procedural issue. Courts have discretion to grant or refuse an interlocutory application depending upon the circumstances of the case.

Examples of Interlocutory

  1. In a divorce proceeding, the court may issue an interlocutory order awarding temporary custody of the children until a final decision is made.
  2. In a criminal case, the court may give an interlocutory judgment requiring the prosecution to disclose information to the defense.
  3. During a contract dispute lawsuit, the court issues an interlocutory injunction requiring one party to refrain from certain actions until the case is fully decided.

Legal Terms Similar to Interlocutory

  1. Final Order: A final order is the conclusion of litigation, where the court has made a final determination and disposes of the entire controversy.
  2. Preliminary Injunction: It is an order from the court that requires a party to do or refrain from doing something until a final decision is made.
  3. Temporary Restraining Order: This is a short-term order that can be issued even without hearing the other party’s arguments, and it requires a party to refrain from taking certain actions until a final decision is made.