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In Law, What Is a Summary Order?

A summary order also known as summary disposition, summary opinion or abbreviated disposition is a legal decision issued by the court without issuing a legal opinion.

A summary order can be used in simple legal cases at various levels. Summary order is most commonly used in appeal courts, where there are instances that a load of cases are lined up to be heard. These are cases where the judge makes a brief statement when issuing a decision to make efficient use of judicial time by moving simple cases through quickly so that the court may focus on more difficult legal matters. A summary order usually happens when there is a unanimous decision between the judges or if there are no new legal issues in the case. This is not the same with summary judgment which means decision without a trial. Unlike in a summary judgment wherein one of the parties creates a motion that the case be decided before it goes to trial so the court may rule the case without the evidence being presented; a summary order allows the case to be heard and to review the evidences. The judge will then decide base on the legal information on hand.

A summary order may also be used in a higher level of court depending on the issues and circumstances. However, such orders may be challenged with a motion if either party feels that there are more legal issues to be considered. A higher court may oversee the decision in a summary order if there would be additional information to suggest that there are more problems regarding the trial so to make the order invalid.

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