Definition - What does Headnote mean?

A headnote is an abstract of the case that precedes the text of a full legal opinion. A headnote is useful because it provides a synopsis of the holding in the case.

The legal reporters and editors responsible for compiling all the texts of a jurisdiction’s official opinions typically write headnotes.

Justipedia explains Headnote

A headnote is helpful for lawyers researching case law. When appellate courts make decisions in a case, they write an opinion that describes their reasoning and the authority they relied on to make the decision. These opinions then become authority that lawyers must cite when making arguments.

A headnote gives a quick introduction to a published legal opinion that a researcher can use to decide if the case is relevant to their research.

Share this:

Connect with us

Find a Lawyer