Per Curiam Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Per Curiam?

adj. Latin for “by the court” where the court gives an order or decision on the whole operating as a single body without any particular judge being the author.

History and Meaning of Per Curiam

The term "per curiam" derives from Latin and means "by the court." It is a legal ruling or decision issued by a court that is not attributable to any individual judge or justice on the court. Instead, it represents the collective decision of the court as a whole. Per curiam rulings are often used by appellate courts when the decision is unanimous among the judges or when a particular case does not warrant a written explanation.

Examples of Per Curiam

  1. The Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion in a case involving the interpretation of federal immigration law that was appealed from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

  2. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a per curiam opinion in a criminal case in which the defendant claimed ineffective assistance of counsel.

  3. The Supreme Court issued a per curiam order remanding a case to the lower court for further proceedings.

Legal Terms Similar to Per Curiam

  1. "En banc" refers to a decision made by an appellate court that is heard by all the judges on the court rather than just a panel of judges.

  2. "Stare decisis" is a doctrine under which courts are obligated to follow the precedent established by previous court decisions.

  3. "Obiter dictum" refers to a statement made by a judge in a legal opinion that is not directly relevant to the case at hand and therefore is not binding precedent.