Irregularity

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Irregularity

A defect, failure, or mistake in a legal proceeding or lawsuit; a departure from a prescribed rule or regulation.

An irregularity is not an unlawful act, however, in certain instances, it is sufficiently serious to render a lawsuit invalid. For example, a number of states have statutes that require the appointment of a guardian to represent the interests of a child who is being sued. The failure to do so is an irregularity that can be used as a ground for invalidating and setting aside a judgment entered against the child.

In other cases, however, the flaw might be a simple Harmless Error that can be easily rectified, and, therefore, does not render the proceeding invalid.

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

IRREGULARITY, practice. The doing or not doing that in the conduct of a suit at law, which, conformably with the practice of the court, ought or ought not to be done.
     2. A party entitled to complain of irregularity, should except to it previously to taking any step by him in the cause; Lofft. 323, 333; because the taking of any such step is a waiver of any irregularity. 1 Bos. k Phil. 342; 2 Smith's R. 391; 1 Taunt. R. 58; 2 Taunt. R. 243; 3 East, R. 547; 2 New R. 509; 2 Wils. R. 380.
     3. The court will, on motion, set aside proceedings for irregularity. On setting aside a judgment and execution for irregularity, they have power to impose terms on the defendant, and will restrain him from bringing an action of trespass, unless a strong case of damage appears. 1 Chit. R. 133, n.; and see Baldw. R. 246. Vide 3 Chit. Pr. 509; and Regular and Irregular Process.
     4. In the canon law, this term is used to signify any impediment which prevents a man from taking holy orders.

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