Question of law

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In jurisprudence, a question of law (also known as a point of law) is a question which must be answered by applying relevant legal principles, by an interpretation of the law.[1] Such a question is distinct from a question of fact, which must be answered by reference to facts and evidence, and inferences arising from those facts. Answers to questions of law are generally expressed in terms of broad legal principles, and are capable of being applied to many situations, rather than being dependent on particular circumstances or factual situations. An answer to a question of law as applied to the particular facts of a case is often referred to as a "conclusion of law".

To illustrate the difference:

  • Question of fact: Did Mr. and Mrs. Jones leave their 10 year-old child home alone with their baby for 4 days?
  • Question of law: Does leaving a baby with a 10-year old child for 4 days fit the legal definition of child neglect?

While questions of fact are resolved by a trier of fact, which in the common law system is often a jury, questions of law are always resolved by a judge, or an equivalent. Whereas findings of fact in a common law legal system will rarely be overturned by an appellate court, conclusions of law will be more readily reconsidered.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Treatise on Trial by Jury: Including Question of Law and Fact By John Proffatt Published 1986 Wm. S. Hein Publishing Jury 608 pages ISBN 0837725062