Action Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Action, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Action?

v. a person’s conduct, behaviour or something that he has done or participated in.n. Actions are divided into 2 categories viz, 1.) criminal action- prosecution in a court of justice in the name of the government, against one or more individuals accused of a crime, and 2.) civil action – legal demand of one’s right, or it is the form given by law for the recovery of that which is due

History and Meaning of Action

The term "action" has been used in the legal field since the Middle Ages in England. In its most general sense, an action is a legal proceeding brought by a party against another in a court of law to enforce a right or seek a remedy. Actions are categorized as either criminal or civil. When someone is accused of a crime, the government brings a criminal action against that person. In contrast, a civil action is a legal demand for the recovery of something due or the enforcement of a right.

Examples of Action

  1. Criminal action: John was arrested and charged with assault. The government brought a criminal action against him.

  2. Civil action: Mary slipped and fell in a store due to their lack of maintenance. She filed a civil action against the store to seek compensation for her injury.

  3. Class action: A group of people who were all harmed by the same product filed a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer.

  4. Action for breach of contract: Tom entered into a contract to sell his house to Bob, but then Tom changed his mind. Bob filed an action for breach of contract against Tom to seek damages.

Legal Terms Similar to Action

  • Lawsuit: A lawsuit is a legal proceeding that is brought by a party against another in court.

  • Litigation: Litigation refers to the process of taking legal action and resolving disputes in a court of law.

  • Claim: A claim is a demand for compensation or enforcement of a right made by one person against another.