Question of Law Law and Legal Definition
A question of law is when the rule of law is disputed, and left to be determined by a judge, rather than a jury. The jury's job is determine questions of fact, not law. Questions of law are sometimes submitted to a state's attorney general for guidance.
In some state cases, the supreme court of the state, on the motion of a party to pending litigation or its own motion, may certify a question of law to the highest court of another state or of a tribe, or of Canada, a Canadian province or territory, Mexico, or a Mexican state if:
- the pending litigation involves a question to be decided under the law of the other jurisdiction;
- the answer to the question may be determinative of an issue in the pending litigation; and
- the question is one for which an answer is not provided by a controlling appellate decision, constitutional provision, or statute of the other jurisdiction.
For example, in a traffic case, the question of whether the defendant was speeding would be a question of fact. Whether the speeding regulation applied to the parking lot in which the citation was issued would be a question of law. In a further example, if an employee claims discrimination based on termination for alcoholism, the reason for termination would be a question of fact. Whether alcoholism is covered as a disablilty protected by laws preventing employer discrimination based on disabilities would be a question of law.