Complainant – a person who files a formal accusation of a crime or a plaintiff in a civil suit (court of equity)


1. The plaintiff in a lawsuit.

2. A person who files a formal accusation of a crime.

3. A person who makes any formal compliant.

4. The prosecuting witness in a criminal complaint. [1]

1. The party who brings a legal complaint against another; especially, the plaintiff in a court of equity, or, more modernly, a civil suit. [2]

    Excerpt from Edwin E. Bryant’s The Law of Pleading Under the Codes of Civil Procedure (2d. ed. 1899)

     “A suit in equity, under the procedure of the English Court of Chancery, which was generally adopted in the American States prior to the code, is instituted by the plaintiff filing a bill of compliant.  The plaintiff is usually called the complainant, in the Federal courts the complainant or plaintiff indifferently.  The bill is in substance a petition to the chancellor, or judge of the court of equity, setting forth at large the grounds of the suit, & praying the process of the court, its subpoena, to bring the defendant into court & compel him to answer the plaintiff’s bill, &, also, for such relief by decree or interlocutory remedy, by way of injunction, etc., as the plaintiff supposes himself entitled to. [3]

2. Someone who, under oath, signs a statement establishing reasonable grounds to believe that some named person has committed a crime. – aka affiant. [2]


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[1]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[2]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[3]: – Edwin E. Bryant, The Law of Pleading Under the Codes of Civil Procedure 55 (2d. ed. 1899)


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