Seriatim Opinions Law and Legal Definition

Seriatim Opinion refers to a series of opinions written individually by each judge on the bench, as opposed to a single opinion speaking for the court as a whole. When appellate court judges render seriatim opinions, each one presents a separate judgment on a case. No one writes an opinion for the court as a whole.

In U.S, consistent with its legal ancestry, the Supreme Court followed the practice of writing seriatim opinions. However Chief Justice John Marshall ended the practice reasoning that for the Court to grow in stature, it must speak with one voice rather than many. At present one justice writes a majority opinion for each case decided by the Court.

England still follows the practice of issuing separate or “seriatim” opinions.