Full Faith and Credit Clause Definition

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How Is the Full Faith and Credit Clause Defined?

The Full Faith and Credit Clause is a constitutional provision that regulates how courts deal with rulings from other courts and jurisdictions. In particular, the clause states that all courts must honor the rulings, legislative actions, and records from other courts, including out of state courts. That is, the courts are to give "full faith and credit" to previous rulings handed out in another area.

What’s the Purpose of the Full Faith and Credit Clause?

The purpose of this is to provide a harmonious interaction between the several different court systems that operate in the United States. It also helps to reduce judicial waste and unnecessary re-litigation of matters that have already been decided.

For instance, if a person’s case was settled in one state, then they move to another state, the clause ensures that the previous ruling will simply carry over into the other state. Rather than having to re-try the issue at hand, the court can review the issue and rely on the determinations from the other out of state court.

How Does the Clause Affect Protection Orders?

Previously, it was difficult to enforce protection orders in different states. For instance, if the victim of domestic abuse was fleeing to another state, they often had a difficult time having a restraining or protection order being enforced once they left state boundaries.

Now however, protection orders are enforceable anywhere the person goes in the U.S. In addition, computerized services have made it easier to enforce protection orders as a person travels from place to place. Thus, courts must give "full faith and credit" to protection orders, regardless if they were issued by that court or were issued elsewhere. The clause can be found in Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with the Full Faith and Credit Clause?

Understanding constitutional laws can often be difficult at times. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need help with laws such as the full faith and credit clause. Your attorney can explain how the clause may apply to your situation, and what you should do if you suspect a violation. Also, your lawyer will be able to provide you with representation if you need to file a lawsuit or if you need to attend official court hearings.

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Last Modified: 12-02-2013 03:50 PM PST

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