In law, a default is the failure to do something required by law or to appear at a required time in legal proceedings.
In the United States, for example, when a party has failed to file meaningful response to pleadings within the time allowed, with the result that only one side of a controversy has been presented to the court, the party who has pleaded a claim for relief and received no response may request entry of default. In some jurisdictions the court may proceed to enter judgment immediately: others require that the plaintiff file a notice of intent to take the default judgment and serve it on the unresponsive party. If this notice is not opposed, or no adequate justification for the delay or lack of response is presented, then the plaintiff is entitled to judgment in his favor. Such a judgment is referred to as a "default judgment" and, unless otherwise ordered, has the same effect as a judgment entered in a contested case.