Encyclopedia > Default (law)

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Default (law)

In law, a default is the failure to do something required by law or to appear at a required time in legal proceedings.

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 had pled and received no response may file a "Notice of Intent to Take Default" 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 original pleading party may file a "Motion for Default Judgment" with the court, praying that the court declare that, unopposed, his case has been proven and that the court further enter judgment on his behalf. Such a judgment is referred to as a "default judgment".

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