Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What is Declaratory Relief?

I'm not a lawyer, although my father was for many years.  This column is not to be construed as legal advice.  However, I have "passing" familiarity with legal terms.  One term that cropped up recently, and is new to me, is Declaratory Relief or a Declaratory Judgement.

Basically, someone can seek a Declaratory Judgement if they need clarification of a legal issue that is likely to end up in court.  According to NoLo.com, courts tend only to hear Declaratory requests when there is an important constitutional issue.  (See their definition here)

In our Cross-Complaint against BCS, the District is seeking Declaratory Relief.  We are asking the courts to tell us in advance what our responsibilities are under Prop 39 if the allegations against BCS are true.  We aren't asking them to order BCS to do anything specific- just asking for clarification of what we need to do under Prop 39.  I've heard accusations that we're trying to shut down BCS, but that simply isn't true.  We just want to understand our obligations.