gravamen

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Gravamen

The basis or essence of a grievance; the issue upon which a particular controversy turns.

The gravamen of a criminal charge or complaint is the material part of the charge.

In English ecclesiastical law, the term gravamen referred to a grievance of which the clergy complained before the bishops in convocation.

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

gravamen

n. the basic gist of every claim (cause of action) or charge in a complaint, particularly the failure to perform. Example: in an accident case, the gravamen may be the negligence of the defendant, and in a contract case, it may be the breach of the defendant. (See: complaint, cause of action, charge)

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

gravamen

that part of an accusation weighing most heavily against an accused, the substance or material grounds of a complaint.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

GRAVAMEN. The grievance complained of; the substantial cause, of the action. See Greenl. Ev. Sec. 66.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.