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Essence; the material or necessary component of something.

A matter of substance, as distinguished from a matter of form, with respect to pleadings, affidavits, indictments, and other legal instruments, entails the essential sufficiency, validity, or merits of the instrument, as opposed to its method or style.

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

SUBSTANCE, evidence. That which is essential; it is used in opposition to form.
     2. It is a general rule, that on any issue it is sufficient to prove the substance of the issue. For example, in a case where the defendant pleaded payment of the principal sum and all interest due, and it appeared in evidence that a gross sum was paid, not amounting to the full interest, but accepted by the plaintiff as full payment, the proof was held to be sufficient. 2 Str. 690; 1 Phil. Ev. 161.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
This appears to make the notion of an ethically responsible decision meaningless in principle, forever gravitating between the "moral absolutism" of demanding the impossible (the maintenance of undecidability) and the "substanceless cant" of lamenting the obvious (the ungrounded grounding at work in every decision).
every day and ask God As He Understood Him to remove the agonizing desire, and to hit the old knees again at night before sack and thank this God-ish figure for the Substanceless day just ended, if he got through it.
In this regard, the substanceless lawyer is the ur-scrivener of the office and of the text itself, a pale copyist of the "original sources" (13) that comprise the unknowable mystery of Bartleby, if not the inscrutability of the narrator himself, whose name and history remain as obscure as Bartleby's own.
"Ontology" is a slippery word here: does it not imply substance, incompatible with substanceless disappearing experiences?
One is tautau, which can mean variously a shadow, a photograph, a 'face' or countenance, the abstracted or substanceless form of a person; I have glossed it here as 'image' to try to encompass all these things.
It also ties in--perhaps most pointedly in Backbiter's case--to the Augustinian anxiety over the susceptibility of rhetoric to evil use and the ambivalent characterization of evil as a substanceless activity.
For many reasons, but especially in light of the computer-driven imaging revolution sweeping across every facet of culture, we can no longer afford to see images as the substanceless, yet ironically dangerous, enemy.
But freedom is a substanceless end until it is filled by concrete objects of aspiration.
For Pope, hair is not trivial or substanceless, but is several degrees more substantial than certain other (quite important) elements.