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The person defending or denying; the party against whom relief or recovery is sought in an action or suit, or the accused in a criminal case.

In every legal action, whether civil or criminal, there are two sides. The person suing is the plaintiff and the person against whom the suit is brought is the defendant. In some instances, there may be more than one plaintiff or defendant.

If an individual is being sued by his or her neighbor for Trespass, then he or she is the defendant in a civil suit. The person being accused of murder by the state in a Homicide case is the defendant in a criminal action.


n. 1) the party sued in a civil lawsuit or the party charged with a crime in a criminal prosecution. In some types of cases (such as divorce) a defendant may be called a respondent. (See: plaintiff)


noun the accused, accused litigant, accused party, charged party, party against whom a commlaint is lodged, party against whom charges are pending, party who is sued, respondent
Associated concepts: codefendant, defendant's rights, indissensable party defendant, necessary party defendant, nommnal defendant, party defendant, principal defendant, proper party defendant, third party defendants
Foreign phrases: Favorabiliores rei potius quam actores habentur.The condition of the defendant is to be favored rather than that of the plaintiff. Reus excipiendo fit actor. The defendant by his pleading may make himself a plaintiff. Melior est conditio possidentis, et rei quam actoris. The condition of the possessor and that of the defendant is better than that of the plaintiff. Habemus optimum testem, confitentem reum. We have the best witness, a confessing defendant. Melior est conditio defendentis. The position of the defendant is the better one.
See also: convict, litigant, party, respondent

DEFENDANT. A party who is sued in a personal action. Vide Demandant; Parties to Actions; Pursuer; and Com. Dig. Abatement, F; Action upon the case upon assumpsit, E, b; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.
     2. At common law a defendant cannot have judgment to recover a sum of money of the plaintiff. But this rule is, in some cases, altered by the act of assembly in Pennsylvania, as by the. Act of 1705, for defalcation, by which he may sue out a sci. fac. on the record of a verdict for a sum found in his favor. 6 Binn. Rep. 175. See Account 6.

References in periodicals archive ?
On or about March 24, 2016, defendant PAPADOPOULOS met with the Professor in London.
The Commission charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act, the Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act, and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act.
Defendant Bershadsky testified that he worked as a "consultant" for Tompkins Bagels.
Ever since the claim was brought by the First and Second Defendants against the First Joined Defendant in June 1996, the First Joined Defendant argued that the claim against it should not be heard and should be dismissed on the basis that the claim was time-barred under Article 883 of the UAE Civil Code.
In 1948, Congress amended the removal statute and created Section 1441(b), which limited the prohibition of the forum defendant rule to instances in which the forum defendant(s) were "properly joined and served." (5) The historical reason for the amended language is unclear.
Agboko alleged that the defendant told Ekedo that he would have to test run the car before bargaining the price with the complainant.
The bank found a notebook in the defendant's office with signatures of the victim, proof that the defendant attempted to copy the victim's signature.
The plaintiff avers that it requested its lawyers to write to the defendant to furnish it with all relevant documentations regarding the opening of the named account, as it was not aware of the named transaction.
Ahmed Al Hammadi, said the Fourth High Criminal Court today issued several rulings against 17 defendants charged with the use of weapon, inciting to use them, possession of explosive devices, firearms and ammunition without a permit for a terrorist purpose, concealing convicts, illegally entering and exiting the Kingdom of Bahrain.
" Here, contrary to the Commonwealth's argument, the defendant did not open the door to a line of inquiry on redirect examination concerning his wife's alleged assault and battery of a store employee.
Macktaz also noted that, despite the judge finding the state more responsible than the defendant for the delay, she nevertheless denied the defendant's dismissal motion based on a four-factor Supreme Court test.
After approving their documents, a cash loan of Dh250,000 was deposited into the first defendant's bank account.