Test case (law)

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In case law, a test case is a legal action whose purpose is to set a precedent. An example of a test case might be a person who files a lawsuit in order to see if the court considers a certain law or a certain legal precedent applies in certain circumstances.[1] This is useful, for example, in order to later file similar lawsuits in similar circumstances. Sometimes, lawyers delay filing a lawsuit to wait and see how a test case is decided.[1] Test cases are sometimes used to challenge a law to have it possibly overturned.[2] Government agencies sometimes bring test cases in order to confirm or expand their powers.

Examples[change | change source]

Examples of influential test cases include:

  1. Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
  2. Scopes v. Tennessee (1925)
  3. United States v. One Book Called Ulysses (1933)
  4. Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
  5. Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
  6. Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y. State v. Oneida County (1974)
  7. Adams v Cape Industries plc (1990)
  8. Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992)
  9. National Westminster Bank plc v Spectrum Plus Limited (2005)
  10. District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)

Notes[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "test case". The Free Dictionary/Farlex. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  2. Stephen Wermiel (20 December 2012). "SCOTUS for law students (sponsored by Bloomberg Law): Test cases". SCOTUS for law students. Retrieved 23 March 2016.