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A remedy utilized by the courts to correct a written instrument so that it conforms to the Original Intent of the parties to such an instrument.

Legal documents, such as contracts, deeds, mortgages, and trusts, are all proper subjects for reformation. Since the original intent of the parties must control, however, a totally new agreement cannot be created through reformation.

The court, in the exercise of its Equity powers to do justice, will reform a document only in the event that Fraud or mutual mistake occurred in its execution.

Reformation is a remedy that is granted at the discretion of the court only where the facts and circumstances of a particular case warrant it. It will not be granted where an entirely new agreement would result between the parties or where unwarranted hardships would be imposed upon them. Only an individual who has acted in Good Faith can apply to the court to have an instrument reformed.

Reformation is not available as a remedy to correct every minor error, such as typographical errors; rather, it is granted where there has been a mutual mistake that substantially affects the parties' rights and obligations. The mistake must have been in existence at the time the instrument was drawn up. A mistake in the description of land and its boundaries ordinarily justifies reformation of an agreement where the purchaser and seller intended that all the seller's property be sold to the purchaser. In addition, a Mistake of Law by which both parties to the instrument have incorrectly comprehended the legal effect of the facts and the document might also result in reformation.

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


n. the correction or change of an existing document by court order upon petition of one of the parties to the document. Reformation will be ordered if there is proof that the parties did not intend the language as written or there was an omission due to mistake or misunderstanding. Quite often a party petitions for reformation when one or both parties realize the effect of the document as written is different from what was expected but it has already been recorded or filed with a governmental agency. Examples: a paragraph is omitted from a trust which results in the transfer to the trust being a present gift subject to gift tax, so it needs to be corrected to keep the state taxing authority from demanding payment. The attorney writing the final draft of a limited partnership agreement writes in a calculation which would triple the profit to a limit partner above the amount discussed by the parties, and when the limited partner refuses to change the document, the general partner sues for reformation.

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

REFORMATION, criminal law. The act of bringing back a criminal to such a sense of justice, so that he may live in society without any detriment to it.
     2. The object of the criminal law ought to be to reform the criminal, while it protects society by his punishment. One of the best attempts at reformation is the plan of solitary confinement in a penitentiary. While the convict has time to reflect he cannot be injured by evil example or corrupt communication.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
On the eve of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church presided over the spiritual life of Western Europe.
The politics of the Swabian League, Three Cities' League, and Schmalkaldic League established a pattern of communication and cooperation between the urban centers, and these networks carried over into the religious changes brought by the Protestant Reformation. For example, civic leaders in Augsburg sent the preacher Wolfgang Musculus to Donauworth to strengthen reforms in that city.
The organisers have selected key aspects of Cranach's work in the context of his time, the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation, and added pictures by other artists contemporary to Cranach.
John Calvin, a French theologian of the Protestant Reformation, publishes his groundbreaking Institutes of the Christian Religion, in Basel, Switzerland, in which he expounds the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, justification by faith alone and the supremacy of God in selecting individuals for salvation.
Los Angeles, Sep 28(ANI): A new survey, which measured Americans' knowledge of religion, has found that atheists and agnostics knew more than followers of most major faiths.ccording to the survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a majority of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation.
e actor has been hired by the Cathol ic Church to play the leader of Scotland's Protestant Reformation in a pageant of the country's historical gures.
The Protestant Reformation in 16th century England saw the buns banned as they were deemed a symbol of Catholicism.
His message here is peace and moderation, also concord and tolerance--the latter two reconciled through the liberal adoption of adiaphora; and finally a via media between Protestant Reformation and Catholic tradition.
Larissa Taylor writes, "As long as Boccaccean stories or humanist critiques framed the portrayal, it was no surprise that a Protestant Reformation was needed" (31).
The social unit has changed--the Protestant Reformation configuration of the nuclear family is not dominant now We've gone from hierarchy to globalized networking, from the growth of the middle class to the diminishment of the middle class.
With the bloody Protestant Reformation racing across Europe, he is more determined than ever to divorce Queen Katherine and marry Anne Boleyn.

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