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Look up headnote in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
A headnote is a brief summary of a particular point of law that is added to the text of a court decision to aid readers in locating discussion of a legal issue in an opinion. As the term implies, headnotes appear at the beginning of the published opinion.
Frequently, headnotes are "value-added" components appended to decisions by the publisher who compiles the decisions of a court for resale. As handed down by the court, a decision or written opinion does not contain headnotes. These are added later by an editor not connected to the court, but who instead works for a legal publishing house.