When a court renders a decision of another court invalid, that verdict or decision is set aside; see also annul or vacate. The phrase is often used in the context of appeals, when an appellate court invalidates the judgment of a lower court. For example, in Eckenrode v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a federal appellate court’s setting aside of a verdict, summarizing the procedural history by stating “the judgment was vacated, the verdict set aside, and judgment entered in favor of respondent.” The phrase is also often used in the context of trial courts invalidating certain types of judgments. For example, the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rules, which govern civil procedure in the federal district courts, allow district courts to set aside orders and judgments in certain circumstances. Rule 55(c) provides that “[t]he court may set aside an entry of default for good cause.” Rule 60 provides relief from judgments or orders and stipulates that the rule “does not limit a court’s power to: . . . set aside a judgment for fraud on the court.”
Set aside also means to reserve funds for a future use. For example, individuals or firms may set aside funds in an escrow account.
[Last updated in April of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]