Ratification Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Ratification?

(n) When some action or decision has taken without required authority or prior approval to do such acts, the decisions to regularize such actions by the persons authorized to do such acts are called ratification

History and Meaning of Ratification

Ratification is a term used in the legal world to describe the act of giving formal approval to a decision or agreement that was previously made. This term has its roots in Latin, with "ratificare" meaning "to confirm."

In the context of American politics, the ratification of the U.S. Constitution was a critical moment in the history of the country. After the Constitution was drafted, it needed to be approved by at least nine of the 13 states to go into effect. This process of ratification was contentious, with many people fearing a strong central government would infringe upon their rights. Eventually, the Constitution was ratified and became the supreme law of the land.

Examples of Ratification

  1. A city council makes a decision to build a new park without going through the proper channels. However, after the fact, the mayor ratifies the decision, thereby making it official.
  2. A company's board of directors approves a risky merger, but forgets to actually sign the paperwork. They later ratify the decision at a subsequent meeting.
  3. A union negotiates a contract with an employer, but some members are unhappy with the terms. Despite the dissent, the majority of union members vote to ratify the agreement.

Legal Terms Similar to Ratification

  • Approval: An official stamp of endorsement or authorization
  • Confirmation: A formal process of affirming that something is true or valid.
  • Validation: The act of verifying or confirming that something is legal or authentic.