A preliminary decree determines the rights of the parties involved in the dispute but the entire matter is not disposed off. Some possible scenarios where a preliminary decree is given are - suit for possession and men’s profits, in administration suits, in pre-emption suits, in suites for dissolution of , in partnership accounts between the principal and agent, in partition suits, in mortgage suits, in suits for foreclosure in redemption suits, in suits for sale, etc. The Court examines the facts and circumstances and decides the rights of the party but the case is still active. After deciding the rights of the parties, the Court will pass the final decree by which the decision will be implemented. For example in a partnership dispute, the Court decides that person X as a partner to the firm is entitled to a share in the income of the firm, which will be a preliminary decree. The Court will then examine the amount which needs to be paid to X as a partner. the determination of the amount and the order to pay the amount will be the final decree. The right of X as a partner was determined by the preliminary decree and the finalization of the amount was done in the final decree. The final decree simply reiterates the points made by the preliminary decree and indicates that the concerned Court has disposed off the matter.
For example, in a partition suit , the preliminary decree determines the share of the parties but the Final decree actually divides the property in metes and bounds as per the prelimiary decree. If there are three sons in a partition suit , the preliminary decree determines that each is eligible to inherit 1/3 of the properties and final decree does actual allocation of the properties by appointing the advocate commisoner.