The situation I'm thinking of is where someone is refused entry in to a country. There are existing rules for each class of entrant, but agents can also make a case-by-case judgment after applying the rules.

Is there a word that describes the first case as distinct from the second? I would like to use the word "categorically", but that word already exists with a different meaning.

Here is the sentence I would use it in:

Such people can be denied case-by-case, but not _______.

Edit: The phrase "as a matter of rule" is exactly what I want to say, and I will just use that, but suggestions for single words are still welcome.

  • 1
    Are you saying some people can be denied entry, even though the rules say they should be allowed in?
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 31, 2017 at 0:54
  • In US law, the executive is granted two types of authority -- discretionary and ministerial. The first type may be exercised or not according to the judgment of executive officer. For instance, prosecutors have the authority to bring criminal charges against law breakers, but they may choose to indict some and not others even when circumstances are similar. For the second, the officer must perform the duty imposed. [con't]->
    – deadrat
    Jan 31, 2017 at 0:56
  • <-[con't] For instance a Secretary of State may be tasked with delivering a certificate of election to winning candidates upon the determination of the Board of Elections. Generally, the Secretary of State may not question the Board and must deliver the certificate as directed. I fear this is too technical a term for your purposes.
    – deadrat
    Jan 31, 2017 at 0:57
  • @AndrewLeach No, he's saying that the rules may allow for independent judgment of the one directed to apply them. For instance, a green card holder might be allowed re-entry to the US if he's deemed not dangerous. In that case the application of the rule for re-entry is subject to judgment of the officials of Customs and Border Enforcement.
    – deadrat
    Jan 31, 2017 at 0:59
  • @AndrewLeach Yes, the agent can make a final judgment that overrides what the rules say he should do. Jan 31, 2017 at 1:06

2 Answers 2


Though it's not a single word and it doesn't have the meaning of "on the basis of rules," out of hand best fits your frame sentence, implying from the context that applicants from a particular group/class are being denied entry across the board as opposed to "case by case."

Slightly paraphrased definition from the Cambridge Dictionary online:

out of hand - refusing something completely without thinking about or discussing it

And a good usage example in a legal context from a piece on ex parte:

The truth is, when an ex parte motion is received by the clerk’s office, a staff member slides it in front of a judge, who is usually busy doing something else, such as reviewing cases, eating lunch, or getting ready to go home. While the courts are happy to issue temporary orders in truly emergent situations, the fact that such motions, often filed when there is no true need for emergency relief, are a huge inconvenience is the most likely reason so many are denied out of hand.1

So, plugging it into your frame sentence:

Such people can be denied case-by-case, but not out of hand.

In other words, the people may be denied entry, but not without their individual application being considered first.

Note for non-native speakers: The phrase out of hand has a second meaning of "wild" or "out of control." The intended use of the phrase is normally clear from context.


Jurisprudence ? 1. The philosophy or science of law. 2. A division, type, or particular body of law: modern jurisprudence; federal jurisprudence; bankruptcy jurisprudence.

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