Moot Controversy Law and Legal Definition

A moot controversy is one which once existed, but which, because of the happening of an event, has ceased to exist and no longer presents an actual controversy between the parties. A case is moot if the controversy between the parties ceased to exist either because the issues were no longer live or the effects of the alleged violation had been eradicated, and there was no reasonable expectation that the alleged violations would recur.

Federal courts lack jurisdiction to review moot cases because Article III of the U.S. Constitution requires the existence of a case or controversy. The doctrine of mootness requires that an actual controversy must be extant at all stages of review, not merely at the time the complaint is filed.

A case may be moot in either of the following situations:

a. the alleged violation has ceased and there is no reasonable expectation that it will recur, and

b. interim relief or events have completely and irrevocably eradicated the effects of the alleged violation. [Bordo v. United States, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18341 (E.D. Pa. 1996)].