Discretion Law and Legal Definition

Discretion is the power of a judge, public official or a private party (under authority given by contract, trust or will) to make decisions on various matters based on his/her opinion within general legal guidelines. It is a public official’s power to act in certain circumstances according to personal judgment. Judicial discretion is the exercise of judgment by a judge or court based on his/her personal judgment and guided by the principles of law. Prosecutorial discretion refers to the varying options available to a prosecutor when prosecuting a criminal case. In criminal law and tort law, discretion is the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong, sufficient to render one responsible for one’s own actions.