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The standardized heading of a legal instrument, such as a motion or a complaint, which sets forth the names of the parties in controversy, the name of the court, the docket number, and the name of the action.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. the first section of any written legal pleading (papers) to be filed, which contains the name, address, telephone number of the attorney, the person or persons the attorney represents, the court name, the title of the case, the number of the case, and the title of the documents (complaint, accusation, answer, motion, etc.). Each jurisdiction has its own rules as to the exact format of the caption. [note: there should be a sample]

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


1 seizure of a thing or a person.
2 the heading of a legal instrument.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CAPTION, practice. That part of a legal instrument, as a 'Commission, indictment, &c., which shows where, when, and by what authority it was taken, found or executed. As to the forms and requisites of captions, see 1 Murph. 281; 8 Yerg. 514; 4 Iredell, 113; 6 Miss,. 469; 1 Scam. 456; 5 How. Mis. 20; 6 Blackf. 299; 1 Hawks, 354; 1 Brev. 169.
     2. In the English practice, when an inferior court in obedience to the writ of certiorari, returns an indictment into the K. B., it is annexed to the caption, then called a schedule, and the caption concludes with stating, that "it is presented in manner and form as appears in a certain indictment thereto annexed," and the caption and indictment are returned on separate parchments. 1 Saund. 309, n. 2. Vide Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.
     3. Caption is another name for arrest. CAPTIVE. By this term is understood one who has been taken; it is usually applied to prisoners of war. (q.v.) Although he has lost his liberty, a captive does not by his captivity lose his civil rights.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
A dispute over the Maasai Mau Forest boundary has placed Mr Natembeya on the collision path with Rift Valley leaders, who accuse him of creating a new cutline in the ongoing evictions.
While leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi argue that the cutline should be the Nyayo Tea Zones, Mr Natembeya insists that the only legal boundary is the one established in 2009.Deputy President William Ruto, while announcing the evictions on June 24, said that the cutline will be the tea buffer zone.But Mr Natembeya said the tea zone cutline was only meant to separate Olpusimoru and Maasai Mau forests.
How you cut the pad to size along the marked cutline is a matter of choice as long as it is cut squarely, being sure the cut leaves sufficient material to form the toe.
However - and this is a big however - schools that fall below the cutline on that two-year number will face loss of scholarship for each 0-for-2 athlete that left the program during this current school year.
If that happens, Clever said, the Oregon football program could surpass the cutline, and not face contemporaneous scholarship penalties.
Will coaches at schools that are on the cutline or below it have second thoughts about dismissing athletes from a team for behavioral violations?
Cutline writers also are prone to making assumptions about a picture.
None of them tells readers what' s already obvious from the photograph, makes unwarranted assumptions about the folks pictured, resorts to cutline cliches or puzzles readers with loose ends.
As Hal Buell, the former Associated Press general manager for NewsPhotos, once said, "Cutlines are some of the worst journalism anywhere."
CUTLINE: (1) Top left, Megan O'Dell, 7, and other Brownies from Leominster Troop 30780 stuff clothing to make a scarecrow.
CUTLINE: (1) Above, Cindy Merrill of Woonsocket and her dog, Lucy, enjoy some time together at the Pug Social.