Plenary Power – Defined

Plenary Power Plenary Power – Defined – When a trial court has complete and absolute power to take action or render a judgment on a particular issue without limitations, that court is said to have Plenary Power.

Think of Plenary Power along the same lines as jurisdiction, which we have learned about extensively in previous blog posts. The thing to remember here, though, is that a trial court’s over-arching power comes with a time limit.

For example, Plenary Power typically lasts 30 days from the date a judgment is signed by the trial court, unless an extension for plenary power is filed. Even then, the court can only act for so long before it officially loses its power. So, if a trial court needs to change its judgment for any reason, it will need to do so while it still has Plenary Power.

Generally, a trial court cannot change its judgment once it loses Plenary Power, unless:
  • There is a need to correct clerical errors
  • The court needs to correct errors in the clerk’s tabulation of costs

Note: Even though a trial court’s Plenary Power expires, it still maintains its ability as the presiding court to enforce its original orders. Enforcement orders cannot be inconsistent with the original judgment and cannot change the original judgment.

It is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your situation. Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any further questions regarding this – or any other – issue. Our staff is always available.

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