Parties Definition Law

Parties definition law are the laws associated with parties rights and obligations throughout a legal proceeding. The parties in a lawsuit are those who are directly involved or have an interest in the contract, transaction, or act. Such parties are known as opposing litigants. When a legal suit is initiated, the subjects in the suit are referred to as the parties.

Moving Party Defined

The moving party is the party that filed a motion with the court. The opponent is referred to as the non-moving party. Keep in mind that the moving party is not a secured party. If the moving party doesn’t have to bear the burden of proof on an issue, that party can discharge its burden in one of the following ways:

  1. If the moving party can produce sufficient evidence that negates the element of the non-moving party’s case, then the burden of proof will shift to the non-moving party
  2. If, after the discovery process is complete, the moving party can prove that the non-moving party failed to provide proper evidence as to their claim, then the burden of proof will shift to the non-moving party

Parties in a Lawsuit

In a civil lawsuit, the person bringing the lawsuit is known as the plaintiff, and the opposing party is referred to as the defendant. Alternatively, in a criminal proceeding, the party bringing the suit is the government, also referred to as the state, commonwealth, or the people of the United States. The opposing party is the defendant. If, at the end of the trial, the case is appealed, the person filing the appeal is known as the appellant and the opposing party is referred to as the appellee or respondent. There are other variations of these terms, depending on the court and jurisdiction.

Adversarial Process

The adversarial process requires the parties in a legal proceeding to argue against one another, usually in the presence of their attorneys, and potentially a judge and jury, depending on the type of case involved. The parties will have competing interests and want different outcomes. For this reason, both sides present their issues during the legal proceeding.

At the end of the trial, one of the parties will essentially win the suit. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the case is over. The losing party can appeal the outcome of the case, at which point the higher court will determine whether or not the appeal is warranted. If it is, then the higher court will require the lower court to re-litigate the case. Depending on the type of case being heard, it might be very unlikely that a higher court will disrupt the choice of the lower court. For example, in criminal proceedings, an appeal is usually not successful unless there is a blatant error in the factual data presented during trial. Therefore, if the jury finds the defendant guilty, the higher court is unlikely to alter or intervene with the lower court’s decision.

Capacity to Sue or be Sued

In order to be a party in a lawsuit, one must have the legal capacity. If he doesn’t, then he is considered non sui juris, which means that he doesn’t have full rights under the law to be a party in the suit. For example, a child is non sui juris. This is because a child under the age of 18 is known to have a legal disability. Other people who might be incapable of becoming a party to a suit include those who are mentally ill, mentally retarded, mentally incompetent due to age or illness, and those who are incarcerated.

While those falling into these categories cannot bring a legal suit, it doesn’t remove them from all civil actions. Generally, the person’s legal representative, i.e., parent or guardian, can use the claim or defense of non sui juris.

While prisoners have a limited ability to bring a legal suit, they can still appeal a conviction and bring a Habeas Corpus petition challenging the validity of the conviction. If this occurs, the prisoner would also file a case due to a violation of his federally protected civil rights.

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