What Is A Minute Order?

This legal document would seem to have some urgency, since it contains the word “minute.” There is some truth to this, but it is basically an answer from the judge/court in response to a request from one of the parties in a case. For example, if one of the parties moves to dismiss a certain item of evidence, the court will give an answer.

minuter-orderBut there is more to the minute order than a simple answer of a few words or phrases. The court clerk prepares the order in detail, using the court’s or judges language. Thus a minute order is usually not in the briefest form so that it can be read “in a minute.”

A minute order or response as described here is not the same as a judgment. This specific order deals with a particular issue or perhaps two or more related issues within the entire case. As to the length of such an order, this can vary from a short form on one single sheet to several pages with excruciating detail – so that the court’s response is understood.

Though this particular court document can vary in form, it usually includes the names of those involved in the suit, along with the case number and court, the judge’s name and the clerk’s name. In addition, the minute order describes or summarizes the case and may include any rulings by the judge or panel of judges.

One factor that makes a minute order so important is that appeals are sometimes based on the response a party receives in the order. Numerous new appeal proceedings have started from the specific issue addressed in a minute order. Some legal analysts see this type of order as setting an immovable deadline for the parties involved.

Attorneys must pay particular attention to the entire text, including any so-called “small print” and court observations/notes. A minute order may have little significance in the overall picture of a case or it may be one of the most important actions taken by the court.

The factor that makes these orders longer is the decision by the judge to include every detail of the verbal and printed record pertaining to the issue at hand. These orders are not necessarily signed and file-stamped by the court process. This fact is very important in the appeal system, according to most legal minds.

What may occur to create an appeal-process problem is that, without a date stamp etc. the time for filing an appeal starts with the creation of the minute order. This is a small but crucial detail. Some attorneys simply don’t see the minute order as having the same effect as other written orders from the court, many of which are signed and date-stamped. Yet the minute order has the same force as other orders.

According to the detailed legal guidelines, the court clerk “may” mail a notice of judgment to all parties. Thus, a minute order lies in the gray-area of legal proceedings because there are some questionable directions for its issue.

Category: History, Government & Society

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