Legal Dictionary

for cause

Definition of for cause

Alternative forms


for cause

  1. (law, ethics) For a legitimate, specific reason; with justification.

    * 1889, John Davison Lawson, Rights, Remedies, and Practice, at Law, in Equity, and Under the Codes, vol. 2, Bancroft Whitney, p. 1556:
    Section 863. Removal of Guardian for Cause.-The court of chancery may remove all guardians, whether appointed by probate tribunals or by the court itself, or by testament, or by the legislature, whenever the guardian abuses his trust, or the interests of the ward require it.

    * circa 1917, Mark Twain, "Concerning Tobacco":
    A common bee will sting and kill another common bee, for cause, but when it is necessary to kill the queen other ways are employed.

    * 1995, John Greenwald et al., "Sex, Lies and W. R. Grace," Time, 10 April:
    As a result, Grace said, its directors decided "to request Mr. Bolduc's resignation, but not to seek his termination for cause."

    * 2009, "Incompetence is cause for firing," Financial Post (Canada), 28 Oct. (retrieved 19 Oct 2010):
    The court noted this August, that an employee can be fired for cause based on incompetence, if he or she consistently fails to meet reasonable standards.

Usage notes

  • Often used in the context of termination of an employment contract.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     lex situs
2.     scienter
3.     quorum
4.     AORO
5.     lex causae
6.     Miranda warning
7.     adjudication order
8.     lex domicilii
9.     appellant
10.     lex patriae