Doctrine of Preclusion of Inconsistent Positions Law and Legal Definition

Doctrine of Preclusion of Inconsistent Positions refers to a principle whereby a party is prevented from contradicting previous declarations made during the same or an earlier proceeding if the change in position would adversely affect the proceeding or constitute a fraud on the court. It is patently wrong to allow a person to abuse the judicial process by first advocating one position, and later, if it becomes beneficial, to assert the opposite.

The doctrine of preclusion of inconsistent positions is invoked to prevent a party from changing its position over the course of judicial proceedings when such positional changes have an adverse impact on the judicial process. The policies underlying preclusion of inconsistent positions are 'general consideration of the orderly administration of justice and regard for the dignity of judicial proceedings. It is intended to protect against a litigant playing 'fast and loose with the courts. [Jackson v. County of Los Angeles, 60 Cal. App. 4th 171, 181 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 1997)

This is also known as judicial estoppel.