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A remedy utilized by the courts to correct a written instrument so that it conforms to the Original Intent of the parties to such an instrument.

Legal documents, such as contracts, deeds, mortgages, and trusts, are all proper subjects for reformation. Since the original intent of the parties must control, however, a totally new agreement cannot be created through reformation.

The court, in the exercise of its Equity powers to do justice, will reform a document only in the event that Fraud or mutual mistake occurred in its execution.

Reformation is a remedy that is granted at the discretion of the court only where the facts and circumstances of a particular case warrant it. It will not be granted where an entirely new agreement would result between the parties or where unwarranted hardships would be imposed upon them. Only an individual who has acted in Good Faith can apply to the court to have an instrument reformed.

Reformation is not available as a remedy to correct every minor error, such as typographical errors; rather, it is granted where there has been a mutual mistake that substantially affects the parties' rights and obligations. The mistake must have been in existence at the time the instrument was drawn up. A mistake in the description of land and its boundaries ordinarily justifies reformation of an agreement where the purchaser and seller intended that all the seller's property be sold to the purchaser. In addition, a Mistake of Law by which both parties to the instrument have incorrectly comprehended the legal effect of the facts and the document might also result in reformation.

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


n. the correction or change of an existing document by court order upon petition of one of the parties to the document. Reformation will be ordered if there is proof that the parties did not intend the language as written or there was an omission due to mistake or misunderstanding. Quite often a party petitions for reformation when one or both parties realize the effect of the document as written is different from what was expected but it has already been recorded or filed with a governmental agency. Examples: a paragraph is omitted from a trust which results in the transfer to the trust being a present gift subject to gift tax, so it needs to be corrected to keep the state taxing authority from demanding payment. The attorney writing the final draft of a limited partnership agreement writes in a calculation which would triple the profit to a limit partner above the amount discussed by the parties, and when the limited partner refuses to change the document, the general partner sues for reformation.

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

REFORMATION, criminal law. The act of bringing back a criminal to such a sense of justice, so that he may live in society without any detriment to it.
     2. The object of the criminal law ought to be to reform the criminal, while it protects society by his punishment. One of the best attempts at reformation is the plan of solitary confinement in a penitentiary. While the convict has time to reflect he cannot be injured by evil example or corrupt communication.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Creating regained: A Biblical basis for a Reformational worldview.
There is no question that the life and the theology of the Augustinian monk Martin Luther were characterized by the strictest asceticism up to the time of his reformational turning point....
It produced "a hatful of reformational proposals intended to move a regressive denomination out of the past, nerving it to wake up and confront the perplexing realities of the present world."
The text then proceeds historically in its analysis of the development of christological doctrine that begins with the Church Fathers and moves on to treat medieval, Reformational, Pietistical, and modern philosophical Christology, before concluding with an analysis of the pluralism of modern Catholic and Protestant theology.
Time to ask heaven remission for what's past; (1.3.126-30) In this response, Luke channels the theological meanings of substitutionary satisfaction, liberty outside of one's own "merit." However, Massinger puts this language of Protestant orthodoxy in the voice of a character who does anything but turn from "what's past." Somewhat more than implicitly, Massinger calls into question Reformational soteriology, or at least the ethical effectiveness of the commonplace faith-versus-works binary framework.
(10.) 1 discuss the reformational potential of religious practice in social media communities in my Tweet If Your * Jesus: Practice Church in the Digital Reformation (Morehouse, 2011).
One notable new chapter that USP will be proposing for public comment in 2012 is an reformational (or guidance) chapter that speaks directly to the larger challenges of a global supply chain.
(87) It is clear from our critique that the two different anthropologies to which I am referring are essentially the different anthropologies of Reformational and Catholic traditions: the difference between nature as "fallen" or as "wounded." For this remark, see also Tanner, Theories of Culture, p.
Angelo and the Duke share a common tenet of radical Reformational thought, that Scriptural principles historically deemed personal and spiritual matters should instead be applied to state law.
For Kaufmann, there is nothing 'Reformational' about Luther's personal, spiritual, and theological development prior to late 1517 or early 1518, although he concedes that the Wittenberg professor was already moving in potentially radical directions in his early lectures (12627).
The intellectual breakthrough, which led to Luther's reformational insights, in Wilson's estimation, was due to a long-standing spiritual struggle and no mere exercise on the academic treadmill.
(69) Van Leeuwen is a Calvinist in its Reformational tradition.