Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select
FindLaw Legal Dictionary

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



party n

pl: parties
1 a : one (as a person, group, or entity) constituting alone or with others one of the sides of a proceeding, transaction, or agreement [the parties to a contract] [a person who signed the instrument as a to the instrument "Uniform Commercial Code"]

accommodated party
: a party to an instrument for whose benefit an accommodation party signs and incurs liability on the instrument
: a party for whose benefit an accommodation is made

accommodation party
: a party who signs and thereby incurs liability on an instrument that is issued for value and given for the benefit of an accommodated party

secured party
: a party holding a security interest in another's property

third party
: a person other than the principals [insurance against injury to a third party]
b : one (as an individual, firm, or corporation) that constitutes the plaintiff or defendant in an action
: one so involved in the prosecution or defense of a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding as to be bound or substantially affected by the decision or judgment therein

adverse party
: a party to an action who is on the opposing side
: a party to a finally decided action whose interests would be served by having the judgment upheld on appeal and who is entitled to notice of an appeal

aggrieved party
: a party with a legally recognized interest that is injuriously affected esp. by an act of a judicial or quasi-judicial body and that confers standing to appeal called also aggrieved person party aggrieved

indispensable party
: a party whose rights are so connected with the claims being litigated in an action that no judgment can be rendered without affecting or impairing those rights, no complete disposition of the action can be made without the party's joinder, and whose nonjoinder will result in the dismissal of an action compare necessary party in this entry NOTE: Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 provides the courts with discretion in determining whether the absence of a party requires dismissal of an action, replacing an older and more rigid basis for determination. The rule states that “the court shall determine whether in equity and good conscience the action should proceed among the parties before it, or should be dismissed, the absent person being thus regarded as indispensable.”

innocent party
: a party having no fault in or responsibility for the situation for which judicial relief is sought
: a party who comes into court with clean hands

necessary party
: a party whose interests are so connected with an action that he or she should be joined in order to fully determine the controversy but whose nonjoinder because of a valid excuse will not result in dismissal compare indispensable party in this entry

nominal party
: a party who has no actual stake in the outcome of litigation and whose inclusion as a party is solely for the purpose of conforming with procedural rules

party aggrieved
: aggrieved party in this entry

party in interest
1 : a person whose rights are or will be affected by an action taken esp. by a government or judicial body
: a person whose pecuniary interests are affected by a bankruptcy proceeding
2 : real party in interest in this entry

proper party
: a party whose interests are likely to be affected by litigation and whose inclusion in the litigation is preferable but not essential

real party in interest
: a party who according to the applicable law is entitled to enforce the right that forms the basis of the claim regardless of who will actually benefit by the outcome NOTE: Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(a) requires that “every action shall be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest.”

third party
1 : a person who is not a party to an action but who is or may be liable to the defendant in the action for all or part of the plaintiff's claim and against whom the defendant may bring a third-party complaint
2 : a person who is not a party to an action but who is or may be liable to the plaintiff in the action for all or part of a counterclaim and against whom the plaintiff may bring a third-party complaint see also third-party complaint
2 : a group of persons usually sharing a set of political ideals who are organized for the purpose of directing the policies of a government

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

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options