Party – a person interested in the outcome of litigation, who may or may not be a party of record, &/or a person who has engaged in a transaction

[par tee]

l. A person who has engaged in a transaction or made an agreement (i.e., a party to a contract). EXAMPLES of the use of the word “party” in this context include: secured party; multiparty account; third -party beneficiary.  In this sense of the word, a person who has had dealings of any sort with another is a “party” to those interactions.  Thus, a person who participates in the commission of a crime is a party to the crime and a person who is the victim of a tort is an injured partySee also innocent party.

2. One of the opposing litigants in a lawsuit; e.g., a defendant or a plaintiff; a petitioner; an appellant; an appellee. EXAMPLES of this use of the word “party” include: indispensable party; joinder of parties; necessary party. See also adverse party; nominal party; proper parties; substitution of parties; third party complaint.

3. As the term is used in connection. with an appeal, the appellant (also called plaintiff in error) and the appellee (also called respondent or defendant in error). See also aggrieved party.

4. For some purposes, a person interested in the outcome of litigation, who may or may not be a party of record, for EXAMPLE, a party in interest or a real party in interest.

5 . A person. [1]

1. Someone who takes part in a transaction <a party to the contract>. [2]

     Excerpt from John Rastell’s Les Termes de la Ley (26th ed. 1721):

     “Note, that if an indenture be made between two as Parties thereto in the Beginning, and in the Deed one of them grants or lets a Thing to another who is not named in the Beginning, he is not Party to the Deed, nor shall take any Thing thereby. [3]

     Excerpt from Stewart Rapalje & Robert L. Lawrence’s A Dictionary of American and English Law (1883):

     “A person who takes part in a legal transaction or proceeding is said to be a party to it. Thus, if an agreement, conveyance, lease, or the like, is entered into between A. and B., they are said to be parties to it; and the same expression is often, though not very correctly, applied to the persons named as the grantors or releasors in a deedpoll. [4]

  • party of the first part  (18c) Archaic. The party named first in a contract; esp., the owner or seller.
  • party of the second part (18c) Archaic. The party named second in a contract; esp., the buyer.

2. One by or against whom a lawsuit is brought; anyone who both is directly interested in a lawsuit and has a right to control the proceedings, make a defense, or appeal from an adverse judgment; LITIGANT <a party to the lawsuit>.  *  For purposes of res judicata, a party to a lawsuit is a person who has been named as a party and has a right to control the lawsuit either personally, or, if not fully competent, through someone appointed to protect the person’s interests. In law, all nonparties are known as “strangers” to the lawsuit. [2]

     Excerpt from Oliver L. Barbour’s A Summary of the Law of Parties to Actions at Law and Suits in Equity (1864):

     “Those persons who institute actions for the recovery of their rights, or the redress of their wrongs, and those against whom the actions are instituted, are the parties to the actions. The former are, in actions at common law, called plaintiffs, and the latter, defendants. in real actions, the parties are styled demandant and tenant; in appeals, appellant and respondent; in admiralty practice, libellant and respondent; in equity, plaintiff (or complainant) and defendant; on writs of error, plaintiff in error and defendant in error; on certioraris, relator and defendant; in criminal proceedings, the king, or the people, or state, or commonwealth, and prisoner; (the person on whose complaint the proceedings were instituted being styled the prosecutor;) in the Scotch law, pursuer and defender; and in the civil law, actor and reus. [5]


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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]: John Rastell, Les Termes de la Ley 471 (26th ed. 1721).

[4]: 2 Stewart Rapalje & Robert L. Lawrence, A Dictionary of American and English Law 930 (1883).

[5]: Oliver L. Barbour, A Summary of the Law of Parties to Actions at Law and Suits in Equity 18 (1864).


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Intro to U.S. Law

Legal Precepts Adopted (from Europe) into The U.S. Constitution

§ § of Law Embedded into the Constitution Pursuant to the American Revolution

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