Difference Between Order and Decree

Civil processes are governed by a collection of laws in the United States that establish basic rules for residents’ acts and behaviors, as well as the rules and regulations to be utilized in a court of law. In a civilian lawsuit, the judge has the authority to make decisions and issue a judgment based on an order or decree.

Although the two things may appear to be quite identical, there is a big variation: an ‘order’ is a ruling, a judgment based on objective factors, whereas a ‘decree’ is the final element of a judgment that deals with the rights of one (or both) of the parties to the litigation.

Order vs Decree

The main difference between an order and a decree is that an order is a judgment that is typically stated on procedural concerns, but a decree is a final determination that specifies the rights of the parties concerned. During a lawsuit, there could only be a single decree – which can be provisional or final – but there can be many orders, all of which are final.

Order vs Decree

An order can be described as the legal statement of the court’s judgment, that would not contain a ‘decree”, determining the legal ties between the claimant and defendant, of the court hearings, trial, or appeal.
In more technical words, an order is a directive made by a judge or court to a party to a lawsuit to execute a certain act, refrain from performing certain acts, or direct a public authority to conduct certain activities.

A decree on the other hand, according to section 2(2) of the Rules of Court, is a formal declaration of a jury’s judgment that establishes the interests of the complainant in all or some subjects of the dispute. It is drawn from the judgment, i.e., a decree exists at the time the judgment is declared, not at the time it is written and authorized.

A decree might be provisional or final, depending on whether more processes are necessary before the claim is dismissed. A provisional decree is issued when one or more of the suit’s issues are addressed, whereas a final decree is issued when all of the suit’s issues are addressed.

Comparison Table Between Order and Decree

Parameters of ComparisonOrderDecree
MeaningThe order, which is described in section 2(14) of the 1908 Rules Of Court, is the formal declaration of a judge’s judgement about the connection between the parties engaged in the framework of a lawsuit.A decree is the judge’s formal pronouncement of the decision, which explains the interests of the individuals involved in the case.
Passed When:It can be granted in a lawsuit brought about by the filing of a counterclaim, application, or plea.It is enacted in a court case that begins with the filing of a complaint.
Type of JudgementIt’s always the last sentence.It might be preliminary, final, or a combination of the two.
FormalityAn order, apart from a decree, is a formal description of the court or judging panel and cannot be challenged.A decree is a formal representation of the court, it must be presented in accordance with the proper procedure.
Number in a SuitA suit can contain a large number of orders.In a lawsuit, there is only one decree.

What is an Order?

An order is a statement of the high court’s (or panel’s) decision and does not provide a decree (the final judgment). To put it another way, an order is a directive from the judge to one of the parties in a lawsuit, ordering the plaintiff to perform (or not take) specified acts. Whereas the decree deals with substantive issues, the ruling is more concerned with legal technicalities.

Whereas the decree deals with substantive issues, the ruling is more focused on legal technicalities. According to Section 2(14) of the 1908 Rules of Court, an ordering is “the formal statement of any Civil Court judgment that is not a decree.” A decision may or not establish a right, so it’s always definitive and never preliminarily determined.

“Order” is the formal statement of any Federal Court judgment; it’s not a decree. As a result, the court’s decision, which is not a decree, is an order. As a basic guideline, a court order is based on objective factors, and as such, the judicial order must include a discussion of the problem at hand as well as the reasoning that the court used to create the order.

What is a Decree?

Section 2(2) of the 1908 Rules of Court provides the set of the decree. A decree is defined as “the public statement of a judgment that, so far as the Tribunal expressing it is concerned, decisively establishes the rights of the parties with respect to all or some of the facts in question in the complaint and could be either provisional or final.”

A judgment’s result (or last section) is called a decree. A preliminary decree may be subjected to further proceedings before the suit is concluded, but the ultimate decree, which is based on the initial decree, is issued once all of the litigation’s issues have been addressed.

There should be an assessment in order for a decree to be stated – in other words, all or indeed any portions of the matter must be decided, and the resolution of the defendants’ rights must be decisive (conclusive determination). To put it another way, once a judge has made his judgment, the court has no recourse to overturn it.

Order of a legal institution defining the rights of all parties to an action, as per equitable principles, in US legal use throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Since the Code Of Civil Procedure, which merged law and equity in federal judges in 1938, the word judgment (which has a common-law counterpart) has largely superseded decree. It’s now true throughout most state courts as well.

Main Differences Between Order and Decree

  1. An order is always the final and absolute judgment whereas a decree might be preliminary, final, or a combination of the two.
  2. A suit can contain a large number of orders (more than one) whereas in a court hearing there is only one decree.
  3. An order focuses on legislative and procedural matters, whereas the decree focuses on legal and ethical rights.
  4. In a court hearing, an order can never be appealed and challenged since it is directly passed on by the judge whereas a decree is usually appealable and can be challenged on the basis of structured processes.
  5. An order can emerge from a litigation initiated by the filing of a plaint or from a proceeding initiated by the filing of a plea or appeal, but a decree can only be issued in an action initiated by the filing of a plaint.


Despite their similarities, decision and decree are vastly different: the first one is a decision – usually on constitutional grounds – whereas the second is a definitive judgement that determines the parties’ rights.

A judge in a civilian lawsuit makes an order or a decree in the midst of a dispute between parties. The decree, as discussed in section 2(2) of the 1908 Civil Procedure Code, is a legal and official declaration of a court’s (or a judge’s) judgment that determines the claimant and defendant’s entitlements in all or any aspects of the dispute. 


  1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/decree
  2. https://lawtimesjournal.in/judgement-decree-order-cavet/#:~:text=Section%202(14)%20defines%20order,a%20decree%20is%20an%20order.
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