Legal Process

Definition - What does Legal Process mean?

In civil or criminal law, legal process is a generic term for certain instruments used in the court system. These instruments are used to:

  • Advise the recipient that they've been sued.
  • Compel the recipient to appear in court or to be deposed.
  • Compel the recipient to explain why a court should not force them to take or refrain from taking specific actions.
  • Compel the recipient to provide specific documents, usually as evidence.

Justipedia explains Legal Process

Legal process can be broadly defined as the formal means – usually written notification – employed to facilitate someone's appearance in court. Examples include writs, warrants, citations, summonses and complaints, subpoenas, subpoenas duces tectum, and orders to show cause.

In a civil case, for example, the complaint and summons advise the recipient that someone has taken legal action against them, and the amount of time they have to respond. A subpoena is used to compel someone to testify in court or appear for a deposition. A subpoena duces tectum compels the recipient to provide documents or records, usually to be used as evidence at trial. An order to show cause forces someone to come to court to explain why a judge shouldn't compel them to do something or stop doing something.

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