Legal Definition of petition
- The formal, written document submitted to a court, and which asks for the court to redress what is described in the petition as being an injustice of some kind. Petitions set out the facts, identifies the law under which the court is being asked to intervene, and ends with a suggested course of action for the court to consider (e.g.. payment of damages to the plaintiff). Petitions are normally filed by lawyers because courts insist on complicated forms but most states will allow citizens to file petitions provided they conform to the court's form. Some states do not use the word "petition" and, instead, might refer to an "application", a "complaint" or the "writ."
Definition of petition
Middle English, from Old French peticiun, from stem of Latin petitio (“a request, solicitation”), from petere (“to require, seek, go forward”)
petition (plural petitions)
- A formal, written request made to an official person or organized body, often containing many signatures.
- A compilation of signatures built in order to exert moral authority in support of a specific cause.
- (law) A formal written request for judicial action.
A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer.
In the colloquial sense, a petition is a document addressed to some official and signed by numerous individuals. A petition may be oral rather than written, and in this era may be transmitted via the Internet.
Petition can also be the title of a legal pleading that initiates a legal case. The initial pleading in a civil lawsuit that seeks only money (damages) might be called (in most U.S. courts) a complaint. An initial pleading in a lawsuit that seeks non-monetary or "equitable" relief, such as a request for a writ of mandamus or habeas corpus, custody of a child, or probate of a will, is instead called a petition.
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
TOP LEGAL TERMS THIS WEEK