Test Case Law and Legal Definition

A test case is a lawsuit that is brought to test the legality of a law or legal principle. It is usually chosen as representative of a similar factual situation that exists in other pending cases involving the same issues. Test cases are limited by the case or controversy doctrine which prohibits parties from bringing collusive suits before the court.

The purpose of a test case is to set legal precedent. Under the legal practice of following precedent, the outcome of the case will be a model for determining other cases that apply the law or legal principle at issue to a similar set of facts.