Definition of DECLARATORY JUDGMENT in Black's Law Dictionary 4th Edition – Legal dictionary – Glossary of legal terms.


One which simply declares the rights of the parties or expresses the opinion of the court on a question of law, without ordering anything to be done. Its distinctive characteristics are that no executory process follows as of course, nor is it necessary that an actual wrong, giving rise to action for damages, should have been done, or be immediately threatened. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. v. Huffman, La., 319 U.S. 293, 63 S.Ct. 1070, 87 L.Ed. 1407; Petition of Kariher, 284 Pa. 455, 131 A. 265, 268; Village of Bay v. Gelvick, 58 Ohio App. 51, 15 N.E. 2d 786, 791. It must deal with real dispute of real fact. Rauh v. Fletcher Savings & Trust Co., 207 Ind. 638, 194 N.E. 334, 335. It is distinguished from other actions in that it does not seek execution or performance from the defendant or opposing party. Brindley v. Meara, Ind., 209 Ind. 144, 198 N.E. 301, 101 A.L.R. 682; Gutensohn v. Kansas City Southern Ry. Co., C.C.A.Mo., 140 F. 2d 950.

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