Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary
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- A court's written explanation of a judgment, usually including a summary of the facts, an explanation of the law on the issue, and the court's analysis for applying the law to those facts and coming to a conclusion. The opinions of appellate courts (courts that review the decisions of trial courts, the highest appellate court being the Supreme Court) are frequently published and create rules for future litigants to follow. Appellate judges who disagree with a majority opinion may file dissenting opinions.