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The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.



error n

: an act that through ignorance, deficiency, or accident departs from or fails to achieve what should be done [procedural s]
: a mistake made by a lower court in conducting judicial proceedings or making findings in a case [to compel to conclusion that a manifest has been done "Moses v. Burgin, 445 F.2d 369 (1971)"] often used without an article [had been to give the jury special interrogatories "K. A. Cohen"]; see also assignment of error, clearly erroneous NOTE: Generally a party must object to an error at trial in order to raise it as an issue on appeal.

clear error
: an error made by a judge in his or her findings of fact which is such that it leaves the reviewing court with the firm and definite conviction that a mistake has been made NOTE: A clear error may or may not warrant reversal.

fundamental error
: plain error in this entry used esp. in criminal cases

harmless error
: an error that does not affect a substantial right or change the outcome of a trial and does not warrant reversal or other modification of the lower court's decision on appeal

invited error
: an error resulting from a party's own request for or encouragement of an action by the court NOTE: A party may not seek relief based on invited error that he or she has induced.

manifest error
: an error that is obvious and indisputable and that warrants reversal on appeal

plain error
: an obvious and prejudicial error that affects the substantial rights of the parties and that results or probably results in a miscarriage of justice NOTE: Plain error warrants reversal on appeal even in the absence of objection to the error at trial.

prejudicial error
: an error that affects or presumptively affects the outcome of a trial

reversible error
: a substantial and prejudicial error warranting reversal on appeal

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

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