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Modification; changing a thing without obliterating it.

An alteration is a variation made in the language or terms of a legal document that affects the rights and obligations of the parties to it. When this occurs, the alteration is material and the party who did not consent to the change can be released from his or her duties under the document by a court.

When an essential part of a writing has been cut, torn, burned, or erased, the alteration is also known as a mutilation.

The alteration of a document by someone other than a party to it is called a spoliation.


a change that, when made in a legal document, may affect its validity. See ALTERATION OF ARTICLES, ALTERATION OF BILL OF EXCHANGE, ALTERATION OF CAPITAL.

ALTERATION. An act done upon an instrument in writing by a party entitled under it, without the consent of the other party, by which its meaning or language is changed; it imports some fraud or design on the part of him who made it. This differs from spoliation, which is the mutilation of the instrument by the act of a stranger.
     2. When an alteration has a tendency to mislead, by so changing the character of the instrument, it renders it void; but if the change has not such tendency, it will not be considered an alteration. 1 Greenl. Ev. 566.
     3. A spoliation, on the contrary, will not affect the legal character of the instrument, so long as the original writing remains legible; and, if it be a deed, any trace of the seal remains. 1 Greenl. Ev. Sec. 566. See Spoliation.

References in periodicals archive ?
As for following the French example of getting rid of the royals, what does he suggest as an alterative? An elected president?
Venison offers consumers a healthy alterative to red meat.
"Satisfaction among some health plan members may be low enough that an alterative, direct retail model could become more attractive than traditional wholesale purchasing by employers," he said in a statement.
The new application approval allows surgeons to use the device as a minimally invasive and potentially safer alterative to open chest surgery for the treatment of thoracic aortic transection and other lesions.
The terse statement from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not disclose details of the talks between Beijing's Ambassador in Qatar, Zhang Zhiliang, and Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the Chairman of the Council that is trying to offer itself as a credible temporary alterative to embattled Gaddafi.
He said: " What I don't recommend is any sort of knee jerk reaction that we have seen in the past because there is no alterative to dialogue with Pakistan.
Mohammed Sharaf, the firm's CEO told Al Arabiya news channel: "We have $3 billion worth of liquidity ready, but that does not mean that we don't study for after 2012," suggesting that it can fund expansion until at least the end of next year, before it has to consider alterative financing.
"I will keep an open mind about the two alterative proposals and will consider any planning application in the context of the London Plan and local planning policies."
We will form an alterative government only after ensuring the stability factor," state Congress president Pradeep Balmuchu said in the state capital Ranchi after meeting Farook.
Faisal, 23, a singer/guitarist from Segaiya, near Zinj, will be performing an self- composed song with an alterative rock and bluesy beat.
The people here have separated off some different areas in the water source for alterative uses such as swimming, praying and drinking," she says.
ISLAMABAD, April 20, 2009 (Frontier Star) -- On the directives of Federal Government, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has found an alterative place to construct Jamia Hafsa that was demolished after military operation in Lal Masjid.