unclean hands n pl: an equitable doctrine: a complainant will be denied relief if he or she has engaged in misconduct (as acting in bad faith) directly relating to the complaint
: the condition of having engaged in such misconduct and being barred from equitable relief [may not be invoked by a plaintiff with unclean hands "Royal Sch. Labs., Inc. v. Town of Watertown , 358 F.2d 813 (1966)"] NOTE: Unclean hands on the part of the plaintiff is often pleaded as an affirmative defense by the defendant.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.