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§ 302. “From all Judgments, Decrees, Orders, and Sentences.”

These four words, “judgments, decrees, orders, and sentences,” are taken from the Imperial Act, 7 and 8 Vic. c. 69, sec. 1 (which extends the right of appealing to the Privy Council), and from the Orders in Council made thereunder. They are all words which may be used in a general sense, to overlap one another, or in a more limited sense, in contrast to one another. Their cumulative use in this Constitution makes it unnecessary, as a matter of constitutional interpretation, to construe them distributively; but in order to ascertain the combined scope of the words it will be convenient to examine their individual meanings.

“Judgment,” in its widest sense, means any judicial determination, or decision of a court. Under the former practice of the English Superior Courts, the word was usually applied to decisions of the Common Law Courts, the word “decree” being generally used in the Courts of Chancery. As contrasted with an “order,” or direction on matters outside the record, a judgment is a decision pronounced on matters contained in the record. (Stroud, Judicial Dictionary, sub. tit. “Judgment” and “Order.”) In criminal proceedings, “judgment” means the sentence of the Court on the verdict, or on the prisoner's plea of guilty. Judgments may be either interlocutory—i.e., given upon some intermediate proceeding, and not finally determining or completing the suit or action; or final—i.e., putting an end to the suit or action by awarding or refusing to award redress.

“Decree” is the word generally used as equivalent to “judgment” in courts of equitable jurisdiction, and other jurisdictions where the procedure of courts of equity is adopted. A decree, like a judgment, may be either final or interlocutory.

“Order,” generally speaking, means, any direction or command of a court; but it is commonly used, in opposition to “judgment” or “decree,” to describe orders on interlocutory applications.

“Sentence,” in its widest sense, means any judicial determination, but is most commonly used in connection with criminal proceedings, to denote the judgment of the court in a criminal trial upon the verdict of the jury or upon the prisoner's plea of guilty. For further definitions of all these terms, see Wharton's Law Lexicon, Stroud's Judicial Dictionary, and Sweet's Law Dictionary.

The four words taken together are clearly wide enough to include every judicial decision, final or interlocutory, in every jurisdiction, civil or criminal.




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