Standard of Review Law and Legal Definition

Standard of review is the amount of deference given by one court in reviewing a decision of a lower court or tribunal. United States courts apply three standards of review namely, de novo review, arbitrary and capricious standard and clearly erroneous standard. In the case of De novo standard of review, the appeals court looks at the case anew, as if the earlier trial had never occurred and the case is effectively re-tried in the appellate forum. The “arbitrary and capricious” or ‘abuse of discretion” standard is applied when reviewing the decision of an administrative agency and the appellate court will only overturn an agency decision if it was arbitrary and capricious, or if it exceeds the agency's lawful authority. When an appellate court applies the “clearly erroneous standard,” it will only overturn the lower decision if it contains plain errors of fact or law.