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What is Decision Reserved?

April 23, 2015 Legal Terminology

When a judge says decision reserved, it means that now he has heard oral arguments from the two attorneys or sides on the different issues involved in the matter and rather than reach for an immediate decision, the judge reserves giving the decision at a later date.


Presiding judges can reserve the decisions in case of ambiguity or complications.

The judge does this because he is going to take time to do the research, to evaluate the issues, to learn what the positions are, and then come to an educated decision about which side is correct and which side is incorrect.

Why does Judge Reserve Decision?

The judge will have an assistant who is known as a law clerk or law secretary, who will help the judge fabricate a decision that establishes what the issues are, that discusses what the pertinent law is, and then offer a rational explanation about why one side is right and one side is wrong.

Additionally, there is one more reason for the judge to flip the switch for a decision reserved. If the judge had given an immediate decision, without knowing all the other information there will be problems during the oral arguments. In such an instance, the judge will be siding with one party and the other party is going to be irate and have a reason to be irate.

There will be lot of arguing, bitterness, and the losing party will want an explanation from the judge on different points and will also want the judge to reconsider his decision. The judge will want to avoid circumstances where he has to argue with the losing party and would want to give a reasonable educational response about the matter that justifies why he took the route that he chose.

What happens after the Judge has Made a Decision?

When the judge says decision reserved, and then makes a decision after his research, the copy of the decision is mailed to both attorneys who have time to evaluate the decision and talk to their clients about it. Hence, anytime in your personal injury case that you hear the judge say decision reserved, it means he needs time to come to a decision after conducting research and evaluating various aspects of the matter. The judge will come to a decision based upon the law, their opinion, and the arguments that were made by both sides.

Therefore, decision reserved is used by judges when they need to study the different arguments by both lawyers in detail, research the legalities about the matter, consider the different options that are possible, and ultimately make a decision that is the most appropriate based on this case and this case’s implications.

The judge will usually reserve the decision for complex issues which will require gathering more information on the situation so he or she can make an informed decision. Sometimes there may be many factors involved, and the judge might need time to consider all these factors relating to the case. Secondly, once the judge has said decision reserved, both the attorneys know that the matter is going to be considered in detail and therefore the ultimate decision made by the judge will not be made that day.