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Important; affecting the merits of a case; causing a particular course of action; significant; substantial. A description of the quality of evidence that possesses such substantial Probative value as to establish the truth or falsity of a point in issue in a lawsuit.

A material fact is an occurrence, event, or information that is sufficiently significant to influence an individual into acting in a certain way, such as entering into a contract. In formal court procedures, a material fact is anything needed to prove one party's case, or tending to establish a point that is crucial to a person's position.

A material issue is a question that is in dispute between two parties involved in litigation, and that must be answered in order for the conflict to be resolved.

A material witness is a person whose testimony is a necessary element of a lawsuit. An individual who is considered a material witness can be compelled to appear in court and provide testimony. In the event that the person's safety is endangered as a result of his or her planned or actual testimony, he or she may be given legal protection or held in Protective Custody.

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


adj. 1) relevant and significant in a lawsuit, as in "material evidence" as distinguished from totally irrelevant or of such minor importance that the court will either ignore it, rule it immaterial if objected to, or not allow lengthy testimony upon such a matter. 2) "material breach" of a contract is a valid excuse by the other party not to perform. However, an insignificant divergence from the terms of the contract is not a material breach.

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