Definition of consent decree
- (law): A decree of a court giving effect to an agreement between the litigating parties.
A consent decree (also referred to as a consent order) is a judicial decree expressing a voluntary agreement between parties to a suit, especially an agreement by a defendant to cease activities alleged by the government to be illegal in return for an end to the charges. Consent decrees are used most commonly in criminal law and family law, and sometimes in United States antitrust law.
A consent decree can be either interlocutory or final. The former is given on some plea or issue arising in the cause which does not decide the main question; the latter settles the matter in dispute, and a final decree has the same effect as a judgment at law.
Once entered, a consent decree is binding on the consenting parties and cannot be reviewed except on a showing that the consent was obtained by fraud or that the decree was based on mutual error or a failure of consent.
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