Difference Between Reference and Review

This system is designed to serve people with equal justice. For this reason, it is designed in such a way that any human error can be rectified and the triumph of truth always reflects through the judgment.

Reference and review are two judicial procedures that bring fairness to the justice system. With the implementation of these two civil procedures every case can be treated fairly.

The procedure for reference and review is completely different, and the implementation of these procedures depends on different circumstances.

Reference vs Review

The main difference between Reference and Review is that the reference is a judicial procedure by which the subordinate court seeks clarification from the high court when validity question ascends on the provision of any act, while through the review petition the aggrieved party seeks reexamination of the case.

Reference vs Review


Comparison Table Between Reference and Review (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonReferenceReview
Who can applyOnly a Subordinate court can apply for the reference.The aggrieved party who got affected by the decree can apply for the case review.
Where to be proceedTo the high court.To the same court where the decree has been passed.
GroundsWhen validity question ascends on the provision of any act, ordinance, or regulation.For error on the face of the record, finding new evidence, or any other satisfactory reason.
ProvisionThe provision for reference is section 113 and order 46 of the civil procedure code.The provision for review is section 114 and order 47 of the civil procedure code.
When to be madeReference to be made during the case pendency.After the judgment or decree has been passed.


What is Reference?

Reference is a legal procedure in which the subordinate court asks clarification from the High court involving a question of law.

For this reason, there is a unified resolution is not possible for every case. Often in a few court cases, some legal question arises that requires further clarification from the high court.

The objectivity of the reference is to get clarification from the high court before passing out any judgment on the court case. It helps the court avoiding errors in the judgment.

However, the subordinate court con not refers to every case to the high court. The case must fulfill some requirements before it goes for reference.

Only the civil judicature can refer to a case. It can be done on the appeal of a party or the court can also do this under the “suo motu” process. However, a persona designate or a tribunal does not hold the right of reference.


What is Review?

The review is a judicial process by which the court re-examine the case. Normally it is the process done in the same court, where the same judge re-evaluates new evidence and legal errors.

According to the law, justice should be above all. Therefore, the court always tries to prevent misjudgments. The review is a process that allows the re-correction of human error so that an innocent person shouldn’t become a victim of it.

The review process can only be made after the judgment or decree has been passed. After receiving the copy of judgment the aggrieved party is allowed to appeal for the review process with sufficient reasons.

To begin the review process the attorney must use the provision of Section 114 and Order 47 of the Civil Procedure Code.


Main Differences Between Reference and Review

  1. The request for reference can only be made under the provision of section 113 and order 46. But, the request for review can be done under the provision of section 114 and order 47.
  2. The proceeding for the reference can start during the case pendency. According to the law it has to be done before passing any judgment or decree.



The reference and review are very important procedures for the judicial system. Both of these tools bring fairness to the case and make it error-free.

However, it is important to differentiate these two procedures and apply them according to their intended purposes. The procedure for reference only arises when a legitimacy question arises on the terms of any act, ordinance, or regulation.

Correctly implementing these two procedures gives the case its fairness and builds trust among common citizens for the judicial system.


  1. https://www.legalaid.wa.gov.au/find-legal-answers/crime/going-court-criminal-charge/references-court#:~:text=A%20character%20reference%20written%20by,deciding%20what%20penalty%20to%20give.
  2. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2169967#:~:text=Any%20party%20aggrieved%20by%20an,grounds%20for%20review%20are%20limited.
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