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What is a Minute Order?

Lucy Oppenheimer
Lucy Oppenheimer

A minute order is a legal document. It's a court's answer to a party's request. In legal terms, this request is called a motion. A minute order is a court's answer to, or ruling on, a motion. Parties may move for several things during a trial. A party may move to dismiss a piece of evidence or it may move to compel disclosure by the opposing party.

In a given case, a court may make multiple rulings. Rulings, in this sense, should be noted as different than a verdict, which is the outcome of the case (e.g., the defendant is guilty of robbery). So, the minute order will cover the court's ruling or rulings on a particular issue or issues (e.g., a motion to dismiss a particular piece of evidence).

A minute order is a legal document that is a court's answer to a party's request.
A minute order is a legal document that is a court's answer to a party's request.

Most typically, the court's clerk actually types up the minute order. Because the court creates the document, it generally isn't signed and file stamped, as other externally created documents or evidence is. Rather than having the court clerk write up the minute order, some jurisdictions will have one of the attorneys produce a written order summarizing the court's ruling or rulings for approval by the other attorney and judge.

The format of a minute order can vary between jurisdictions but they generally include the names of the parties to the lawsuit, the case number, the name of the court, the presiding judge's name, the court clerk's name, the date, the nature of the proceedings, and the ruling or rulings made by the court.

The length of a minute order can be a single piece of paper, or it can be several pages long. The reason for the varying lengths of these orders primarily lie in whether reasoning, detail, and supporting law is included in the document. An order that concerns complex or important issues, for example, are often longer. Short minute orders generally list the motion or motions, and a concise description of the ruling, such as affirmed or denied.

Discussion Comments


If court finds judgment for Plaintiff in the amount of 2,650.00 and says that notice to be given by court, what does that mean?


@goldensky - I don’t think it’s a requirement for organizations to conduct their meetings the same way the judicial system does. But there are certain rules and procedures that should be followed to keep them running smooth and efficient.

Have you ever heard of Robert’s rules of order for meeting minutes? I think even the United Nations follows its guidelines, but of course your meetings don’t have to be that formal.

The important thing here is that all rulings, orders and motions get heard so it can be documented in the minutes. One person speaks at a time and for only a certain amount of time, and only to the chairperson.


I’ve attended small group meetings before where the minutes weren’t being documented. There were no rules being followed whatsoever. Everyone was talking at the same time, yelling at each other, and some people even walked out. Nothing was accomplished.

Aren’t there some guidelines or something that all organizations should follow to keep order at their meetings like the court system does?


Minute orders are sometimes referred to as a minute entry. When the judge gives an oral order it goes down in the minutes. The minutes are kept by the court clerk of the entire court session. They don’t necessarily need a court reporter present to record the order.

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    • A minute order is a legal document that is a court's answer to a party's request.
      By: uwimages
      A minute order is a legal document that is a court's answer to a party's request.