Final Judgment Rule Law and Legal Definition

The federal courts of appeals exercise appellate jurisdiction only over final judgments of the district courts. The Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction over cases coming from the state courts also is limited to final judgments of those courts. The final judgment rule, aims at avoiding piecemeal appellate review. However the rule has so many judge-made exceptions such as a collateral order, unrelated to the merits of the case, may be reviewed if it presents an issue that might never be decided if the final judgment rule were strictly applied.