Civil Case Terminologies

Following is a list of the legal terms commonly used in the context of a civil case

Plaintiff: Plaintiff is the party which files a suit

Defendant: Defendant is the party against whom the suit is filed

Plaint: plaint is the complaint submitted by the plaintiff in the court for instituting a suit against the defendant.

Written statement: Written statement is the initial written response of the defendant upon receiving the summons for the suit.

Pleading: a formal statement containing facts only. It can be either a plaint or a written statement.

Set-off: Counterbalancing debt pleaded by the defendant against the paintiff to recover money due.

Mesne profit: the profits of an estate received by a tenant in wrongful possession and recoverable by the landlord.

Counter-claim: defendant can request for action against plaintiff. Counter-claim is treated as plaint. It is same as cross-suit where judgement is given in the same suit. If the plaintiff dismisses, or cancels his/her original suit, even then the counter-claim can proceed. The plaintiff is at the liberty to file a written-statement to respond to the counter-claim. The plaintiff may also request that the issues raised in counter claim should be settled as separate suit.

Ex-parte: judgement taken with respect to or in the interests of one side only or of an interested outside party. This can happen if one of the party fails to appear in the court, then the court may take the decision ex-parte.

Decree: The formal judgement of the court, that conclusively determines the rights of the parties with regard to all or any of the matters in controversy in the suit and may be either preliminary or final

Decree-holder: means any person in whose favour a decree has been passed or an order capable of execution has been made

Judgment-debtor: means any person against whom a decree has been passed or an order capable of execution has been made