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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.



file vb

1 a : to submit (a legal document) to the proper office (as the office of a clerk of court) for keeping on file among the records esp. as a procedural step in a legal transaction or proceeding [filed a tax return] [a financing statement filed with the Secretary of State] [filing a notice of appeal]
: record [filed a mortgage in the Registry of Deeds] NOTE: In nearly all cases, a document is deemed to be filed when it is actually received by the office to which it is directed. A few cases, however, have held that a document is filed upon the mailing of it.
b : to place (as a document) on file among the records of an office esp. by formally receiving and endorsing [a complaint filed by the clerk despite the absence of the filing fee]
2 : to return (the documentation in a case) to the records of a clerk of court without any determination of the case
: to conclude (a case) without a determination on its merits
3 : to initiate (a judicial or administrative proceeding) by submitting the proper documents or following proper procedure
: bring [threatened to charges] [two separate actions were filed by representatives of the estates "J. H. Friedenthal et al."]
1 : to register as a candidate esp. in a primary election
2 : to place items in a file
n : a collection of papers or publications usually arranged or classified
: the papers that make up the record of a case

on file
: in or as if in a file for ready reference

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

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