What Is a Case Disposition?

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The term “case disposition” is used within the legal system to describe the resolution or the outcome of any case. A disposition may occur at any time during a court proceeding, though it is subject to the law and also to the rules of civil or criminal procedure. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts provides a glossary of legal terms pertaining to case dispositions and civil and criminal procedures on the UScourts.gov website.

Case disposition is a general legal term. To “dispose” of a case means to clear the case from the court’s docket by reaching a resolution. According to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, a court case is disposed of in a number of ways. Parties to a case may engage in negotiations to arrive at an agreement without going to trial. Once the parties arrive at an agreement, the judge must determine if the proposed case disposition is lawful and just. If the case disposition is accepted by the court, the judge rules on the disposition on record, making the agreement recognizable in the eyes of the law.

In a jury trial, a jury is selected to hear the evidence in a trial and render a verdict based on evidence presented by the opposing parties. In a court trial, the judge hears the evidence in question and renders the verdict. The result of both trials is also referred to as the case disposition. The federal rules of practice and procedure regulate the trial process to help ensure fairness and justice in all trials. Court trials and jury trials are conducted and disposed of on record, notes the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

A case that is dismissed is also considered to be legally resolved. The dismissal reflects the official disposition of the case. Cases are dismissed on the record by the judge. The court may also hold special hearings in other types of cases. In general, the outcome of a special hearing is also referred to as the case disposition, especially if the court modified any existing orders, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.