Definition of trial de novo
In law, the expression trial de novo means a "new trial" by a different tribunal (de novo is a Latin expression meaning 'afresh', 'anew', 'beginning again,' hence the literal meaning "new trial"). A trial de novo is usually ordered by an appellate court when the original trial failed to make a determination in a manner dictated by law.
It is often used in the review of administrative proceedings or the judgements of a small claims court. If the determination made by a lower body is overturned, it may be renewed de novo in the review process (this is usually before it reaches the court system). Sometimes administrative decisions may be reviewed by the courts on a de novo basis.
In common law systems, one feature that distinguishes an appeal proceeding from a trial de novo is that new evidence may not ordinarily be presented in an appeal, though there are rare instances when it may be allowed--usually evidence that came to light only after the trial and could not, in all diligence, have been presented in the lower court. The general rule, however, is that an appeal must be based solely on "points of law", and not on "points of fact". Appeals are frequently based on a claim that the trial judge or jury did not allow or appreciate all the facts; if that claim is successful the appeal judges will often order a trial "de novo". In order to protect the individual's rights against double jeopardy ordering a trial "de novo" is often the exclusive right of an appeal judge.
In American Federal Civil (non-criminal) Law courts, new trial is governed by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 59. Motions for new trial are made after the fact-finder has returned a verdict. New trials are granted upon motion of a party to the suit, guided by the standards of "manifest miscarriage of justice" and "clear weight of the evidence". New trial is an alternative to the more strict judgment as a matter of law. A party will usually move for judgment as a matter of law and, in the alternative, new trial.
For example, a system may relegate a claim of a certain amount to a judge but preserve the right to a new trial before a jury.
In UK law, appeals to the Crown Court against convictions in the Magistrates Court are held de novo.
De novo ("anew," or "over again") review refers to the appellate court's authority to review the trial court's conclusions on questions of the application, interpretation, and construction of law. Generally, the proper standard of review for employee benefit decisions, such as the denial of benefit claims, is de novo. Also, where the appellate court undertakes judicial review of compulsory arbitration proceedings that were required by statute, the reviewing court must conduct a de novo review of the interpretation and application of the law by the arbitrators.
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.