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Petition in United Kingdom

Petition Meaning

Petition in Scottish Law

In criminal cases, a petition sets out the charges against the accused and starts the formal court process. It is also a document used to begin certain types of civil court cases.

Meaning of Petition

The following is an old definition of Petition [1]: Formal written application to a superior for the exercise of his authority. See Petitio. An application, in writing, to bring before a court a matter in regard to which judicial action is necessary, a suit being inappropriate from there being as yet no adversary party. Under code practice, the first pleading filed by a plaintiff, wherein he states the facts of his case as they actually occurred. ” Petition ” describes an application in writing, in contradistinction to a ” motion,” which may be viva voce. Petitioner. He who presents a petition. The person adversely interested is called the ” respondent.” The use of petitions to induce the exercise of judicial discretion or power is manifold. By means of them proceedings are begun, expedited, and terminated in the settlement of decedents’ and insolvents’ estates; in the appointment, change, and discharge of guardians, committees, assignees, and other trustees, and in the filing, auditing, and settling of their accounts; in the appointment of viewers under laws relating to the opening of highways, the construction of bridges, canals, etc. In equity practice, they are generally ancillary to suits already begun. There are also petitions for alimony and other allowances, petitions for summons to respondents in divorce, etc. Statements of facts in petitions are required to be verified by accompanying affidavit. Compare Prater. Petition of rights. A parliamentary declaration of the liberties of the people, as- sented to by Charles the First, in 1629. Right of petition. The right of petitioning the sovereign or either house of Parliament for the redress of grievances. The right which the government of Great Britain accords to aliens or subjects to prosecute claims against it. The proceeding is judicial, to be tried like a suit between subjects. Appertains to every individual when any uncommon injury happens, or any right is infringed, which the ordinary course of law is too defective to reach. Petitory. Said of a suit in which the title to property is to be enforced by means of a petition, or other proceeding. Suits in admiralty concerning property in ships are ” petitory ” when the mere title is litigated, and sought to be enforced independently of any possession previously accompanying that title; and “possessory” when they seek to restore to the owner a possession of which he has been unjustly deprived, that possession following a legal title, or being a possession under a claim of title with a constat of property. The former has been silently abandoned in England, upon the principle that titles to property derived from the common law shall be litigated in the common-law courts – a proposition which, carried to the full extent, would prostrate the entire jurisdiction of admiralty in instance cases. Indeed, titles to ships principally depend upon the maritime law as recognized and enforced in the common law; and the admiralty law does little more in instance cases than carry into effect the declarations of the maritime law, so recognized and enforced. In the United States, admiralty has jurisdiction of both kinds of actions.


Notes and References

  1. Concept of Petition provided by the Anderson Dictionary of Law (1889) (Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims and an Exposition of the Principles of Law: Comprising a Dictionary and Compendium of American and English Jurisprudence; William C. Anderson; T. H. Flood and Company, Law Publishers, Chicago, United States)

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MacCallum, 'Petition' (lawi.org.uk 2017) <https://lawi.org.uk/petition/> accesed 2021 June 22

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Schema Summary

  • Article Name: Petition
  • Author: MacCallum
  • Description: Petition Meaning Petition in Scottish Law In criminal cases, a petition sets out the charges against the accused and starts [...]

This entry was last updated: January 19, 2017


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