Legal Dictionary


Definition of adjudication


  • IPA: /ˌęd.dʒu.dɪˈkeɪ.ʃən/
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃǝn


adjudication (plural adjudications)

  1. The act of adjudicating, of reaching a judgement.
  2. A judgment or sentence.

    * 2007, Houston Chronicle (6/17/2007)
    [Mr. C.] says he confessed to avoid a lengthier sentence after his original attorney told him that the prosecutor claimed DNA evidence conclusively identified him as the attacker. [Mr. C.] had an earlier deferred adjudication for indecency with a minor.

Related terms

Further reading

Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbiter or judge reviews evidence and argumentation including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants to come to a decision which determines rights and obligations between the parties involved. Three types of disputes are resolved through adjudication:

  1. Disputes between private parties, such as individuals or corporations.
  2. Disputes between private parties and public officials.
  3. Disputes between public officials or public bodies.

Other meanings

Adjudication can also be the process (at dance competitions, in television game shows and at other competitive forums) by which competitors are evaluated and ranked and a winner is found.

In construction - ADR

Adjudication is a legal process provided for by statute for the resolution of disputes in the construction industry. The process is by the presentation of case supported by evidence, together with counter argument to an adjudicator who performs an inquisitorial role in reaching a binding, enforceable decision on the Parties to the dispute. The "Decision" if not complied with is enforceable by the winning Party in the Courts.

The relevant legislation in the UK is the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, (1996 Chapter 53).[1]

In healthcare

Claims adjudication in health insurance refers to the determination of a the insurer's payment, or financial responsibility, after the member's insurance benefits are applied to a medical claim. The process of claims adjudication, in this context, is also referred to as medical bill advocacy.

Pertaining to security clearances

Adjudication is the process directly following a background investigation where the investigation results are reviewed to determine if a candidate should be awarded a security clearance.

From the United States Department of the Navy Central Adjudication Facility: "Adjudication is the review and consideration of all available information to ensure an individual's loyalty, reliability, and trustworthiness are such, that entrusting an individual with national security information or assigning an individual to sensitive duties is clearly in the best interest of national security."

Referring to a minor

Referring to a minor, the term adjudicated refers to children that are under a court's jurisdiction usually as a result of having engaged in delinquent behavior and not having a legal guardian that could be entrusted with being responsible for him or her.

Different states have different processes for declaring a child as adjudicated.

  • The Arizona State Legislature' has this definition:

    "'Dually adjudicated child' means a child who is found to be dependent or temporarily subject to court jurisdiction pending an adjudication of a dependency petition and who is alleged or found to have committed a delinquent or incorrigible act."[2]
  • The 'Illinois General Assembly' has this definition:

    "Adjudicated' means that the Juvenile Court has entered an order declaring that a child is neglected, abused, dependent, a minor requiring authoritative intervention, a delinquent minor or an addicted minor."[3]


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


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