Test case (law)
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. 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. Test cases are sometimes used to challenge a law to have it possibly overturned. Government agencies sometimes bring test cases in order to confirm or expand their powers. The decision in a test case may be a landmark decision.
Examples of influential test cases include:
- Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
- Scopes v. Tennessee (1925)
- United States v. One Book Called Ulysses (1933)
- Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
- Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
- Oneida Indian Nation of N.Y. State v. Oneida County (1974)
- Adams v Cape Industries plc (1990)
- Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992)
- National Westminster Bank plc v Spectrum Plus Limited (2005)
- District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)
- "test case". The Free Dictionary/Farlex. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
- Stephen Wermiel (20 December 2012). "SCOTUS for law students (sponsored by Bloomberg Law): Test cases". SCOTUS for law students. Retrieved 23 March 2016.