Appearance (law)

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In law, appearance (from Latin apparere, to appear) is the coming into court of either of the parties to a lawsuit, and/or the formal act by which a defendant submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court.[1]

Legal details (outdated)[edit]

The defendant in an action in the High Court of England enters his appearance to the writ of summons by delivering, either at the central office of the Supreme Court, or a district registry, a written memorandum either giving his solicitor's name or stating that he defends in person. He must also give notice to the plaintiff of his appearance, which ought, according to the time limited by the writ, to be within eight days after service; a defendant may, however, appear any time before judgment. The Rules of the Supreme Court, orders xii. and xiii., regulate the procedure with respect to the entering of an appearance, the giving of notice, the limit of time, the setting aside and the general effect of default of appearance. In county courts there is no appearance other than the coming into court of the parties to the suit. In criminal cases the accused appears in person. In civil cases infants appear by their guardians ad litem; lunatics by their committee; companies by a solicitor; friendly societies by the trustee or other officer appointed to sue or be sued on behalf thereof.[1]

In the United States, a party may make a special appearance to contest the jurisdiction of the court in which a lawsuit has been brought, without thereby conceding the jurisdiction of that court.


  1. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Appearance". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 217.