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NISI Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

Lat. Unless. The word is often affixed, as a kind of elliptical expression, to the words “rule,” “order,” “decree,” “judgment.” or “confirmation,” to indicate that the adjudication spoken of is one which is to stand as valid and operative unless the party affected by it shall appear and show cause against it. or take some other appropriate step to avoid it or procure its revocation. Thus a “decree nisi” is one which will definitely conclude the defendant’s rights unless, within the prescribed time, he shows cause to set it aside or successfully appeals. The word, in this sense, is opposed to “absolute.” And when a rule nisi is finally confirmed, for the defendant’s failure to show cause against it, it is said to be “made absolute.”


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