Declaratory relief is essentially a remedy for a determination of justiciable controversy. This occurs when the plaintiff is in doubt regarding their legal rights. However, Declaratory relief is an equitable remedy in that it may not be always be offered if the situation does not warrant it.
Declaratory relief refers to a court’s judgment stating the rights of parties without ordering any specific action or listing awards for damages. When a party is requesting a declaratory judgment, the party is seeking an official declaration regarding the status of the controversy in issue. Moreover, the point is that the resolution of the declared rights of all parties involved will hopefully prevent further escalation of the conflict or even further litigation. An example of this in a case involving contracts would be a party seeking an interpretation of the contract to determine their rights. Another example would be an insured individual seeking a specific determination of their rights and surrounding circumstances regarding insurance coverage under a specific policy.
[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]