Petition in Intervention – to join the plaintiff in claiming what is sought or to join the defendant in resisting what is sought, or to take a position adverse to both the plaintiff and the defendant

petition in intervention:

1. See intervention.


1. Someone who voluntarily enters a pending lawsuit because of a personal stake in it. — Also spelled intervener.


1. The act or fact of intervening — any interference that may act the interest of others.  In legal terminology, the proceeding by which one not originally a party to an action is permitted, on his own application, to appear therein and join one of the original parties in maintaining the action or defense, or to assert a claim or defense against some or all of the parties to the action as originally instituted.  39 Am J lst Parties § 55.

2. A proceeding within an attachment or garnishment proceeding wherein third party claimants assert their rights.  6 Am J2d Attach § 577.

3. An appearance by a consul on behalf of his nation interested in the estate of a decedent.  Anno: 157 ALR 108.

4. A proceeding in admiralty by a third person to establish a claim to property or the proceeds of property brought into court in a suit in admiralty, where the suit is in rem, or to establish the right or rights of the third person in a proceeding for limitation of a shipowner’s liability.  2 Am 12d Adm § 184. [1]

n. (1860)

l. The entry into a lawsuit by a third party who, despite not being named a party to the action, as a personal stake in the outcome.  See Fed. R. Civ. P. 24*  The intervenor sometimes joins the plaintiff in claiming what is sought, sometimes joins the defendant in resisting what is sought, and sometimes takes a position adverse to both the plaintiff and the defendant.  Cf. IMPLEADER; INTERPLEADER; IMPLEADING.

2. The legal procedure by which such a third party is allowed to become a party to the litigation. — formerly also termed (in senses 1 8r 2) trial of right of property. [2]

intervention on appeal:

1. A practice generally refused after the case has reached the appellate court, or after the time for appeal has expired, parties being brought in to an appeal by order of the appellate court only where the effctive administration of justice demands it.  Mullaney v. Anderson, 342 US 415, 96 L Ed 458, 72 S Ct 428. [1]

(international law)

3. Int’l law. One country’s interference by force, or threat of force, in another country’s internal affairs or in questions arising between other countries. — intervene, vb. -interventionary, adj. [2]

     Excerpt from Philip C. Jessup’s A Modern Law of Nations (1948):

     “Intervention may or may not involve the use of force. it is frequently possible for a powerful state to impair the political independence of another weaker state without actually utilizing its armed forces. This result may be accomplished by lending open approval, as by the relaxation of an arms embargo, to a revolutionary group headed by individuals ready to accept the political or economic dominance of the intervening state. It may be accomplished by the withholding of recognition of a new government, combined with various forms of economic and financial pressure until the will of the stronger state prevails through the resignation or overthrow of the government disapproved. [3]

humanitarian intervention:

1. An intervention by the international community to curb abuses of human rights within a country, even if the intervention infringes the country’s sovereignty.

     Excerpt from Vaughan Lowe & Antonios Tzanakopoulos’s “Humanitarian Intervention,” in 5 The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Riidiger Wolfrum ed., 2012):

     “[0]ne might distinguish between forcible and non-forcible ‘humanitarian’ intervention.  There are non-forcible actions, such as the provision of humanitarian aid (food, medicine, and the like), that could constitute ‘humanitarian intervention.’  Since, however, intervention in its classical incarnation is generally considered to involve the use of force, these non-forcible actions are better described as ‘humanitarian assistance’ . . . . Humanitarian intervention can then be loosely defined as a threat or use of armed force against another State that is motivated by humanitarian considerations.  This broad definition is not technical and does not imply any distinct legal justification for the forcible action.  Many legal justifications for the use of force may involve a humanitarian component or motivation: for example, authorization by the Security Council, self-defence, the protection of nationals abroad (itself connected to self-defence arguments), and armed action upon invitation or with the consent of the target State . . . . ‘Humanitarian intervention’ also has a narrower meaning as an autonomous justification for the use of armed force in another State distinct from other legal justifications. Humanitarian intervention in this narrower sense can be defined as the use of force to protect people in another State from gross and systematic human rights violations committed against them, or more generally to avert a humanitarian catastrophe, when the target State is unwilling or unable to act.  This is still a broad definition, which could be applied to almost any instance of use of military force that has been claimed to have a humanitarian objective or to have been based on humanitarian considerations.  The term is not one of art, however: it does not appear in any international treaties; and it cannot be said that its boundaries are yet clearly delineated. [4]


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[1]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[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]: Philip C. Jessup, A Modern Law of Nations 172-73 (1948).

[4]: Vaughan Lowe & Antonios Tzanakopoulos, “Humanitarian Intervention,” in 5 The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law 47, 47-48 (Riidiger Wolfrum ed., 2012).


Back to Types of Petitions

Types of Pleadings

Essential Terminology

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

Indian Country Law

Federal Rules of Procedure

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