"dispositive" redirects here. For the concept used by the philosopher Michel Foucault, see dispositif.
In law, a dispositive motion is a motion seeking a trial court order entirely disposing of one or more claims in favor of the moving party without need for further trial court proceedings. "To dispose" of a claim means to decide the claim in favor of one or another party. As a lawsuit may comprise numerous claims made by and against numerous parties, not every dispositive motion seeks to dispose of the entire lawsuit. The most common type of dispositive motions are those for summary judgment. In many cases, a decision on a dispositive motion is a prerequisite for appellate review. See, e.g., Wash. Rules of Appellate Procedure 2.2.
The two principal types of dispositive motion in contemporary American legal practice are the motion to dismiss and the motion for summary judgment. A dispositive motion may also be used to request that an indictment be dismissed or quashed, or for judgment on pleadings. At least in some jurisdictions, a corporation's motion to terminate a shareholder's derivative suit is treated as a dispositive motion. See, e.g., Dreiling v. Jain, 151 Wn.2d 900, 93 P.3d 861 (2004).