A closed-form solution (CFS) satisfying both equilibrium of moments and forces for the stability analysis of earth slopes in 2D is proposed. The sliding surface is assumed circular and treated as a rigid body, allowing the internal state of stress to be ignored. The proposed solution can be applied to both homogenous and non-homogenous slopes of either simple or complex geometry, and can also deal with any kind of additional loading. The method is based on the fact that, all possible forces acting on the slope can be projected onto the failure surface where they are broken into driving and resisting ones. Comparison of the safety factors obtained by the proposed CFS and those obtained by traditional limit equilibrium methods, as applied to several test examples, indicates that the proposed method is more conservative, whereas moreover, it gives a more realistic point of view for the formation of tension crack in slopes. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.