Order to Show Cause

Definition - What does Order to Show Cause mean?

An order to show cause is a legal demand or requirement imposed by the court upon a party to a case that requires the said party to clarify, explain, or justify why it is entitled to a certain relief, or alternatively, why an adverse ruling should not be issued by the court against that party.

Mainly, this gives the party to whom the order is issued a chance to present evidence or facts in support of its position for or against a certain motion or order. This also gives the court an opportunity to require more information from a party before it rules on a certain matter. Depending on how a party reacts to the order to show cause, the court may rule for or against the latter.

An order to show cause is commonly referred to as a show cause hearing, and may happen in either a civil or criminal case.

Justipedia explains Order to Show Cause

An example of an order to show cause happens when rental property is not returned on time and a court case is instituted in order to recover the property. The defendant could then be charged criminally for theft unless they prove at the show cause hearing that the equipment borrowed or rented was indeed returned. In civil cases, a show cause hearing is a normal first step in order to encourage parties to amicably settle in order to avoid expensive litigation and unnecessary proceedings.

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