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A doctrine is a single important rule, a set of rules, a theory, or a principle that is widely followed in a field of law. It is formed via the continuous application of legal precedents. Calling something a doctrine usually means at least one of two things: that it is very important to a field of law, or that it provides a comprehensive way to resolve a certain type of legal dispute.

[Last updated in September of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]