per curiam

Per curiam decision

In law, a per curiam decision (or opinion or per curiam) is a ruling issued by an appellate court with multiple judges in which the decision rendered was made by the court acting as a whole. In contrast to regular opinions, the decision does not list the individual judge responsible for authoring the decision. However, per curiam decisions are not the only type of decision that can reflect the opinion of the court; other types of decisions such as unanimous decisions can also reflect the opinion of the court as a whole, even if not issued in per curiam form. The Latin term per curiam translates as "by the court as a whole".

United States

The decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court are usually not per curiam. Their decisions more commonly take the form of one or more opinions signed by individual justices which are then joined in by other justices. Unanimous and signed opinions are not considered per curiam decisions, as only the court can officially designate opinions as per curiam. Per curiam decisions tend to be brief in length, and usually deal with relatively non-controversial issues. The designation is stated at the beginning of the opinion.


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