Appearance Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Appearance?

n. the term prevails in USA for the members of the United States Supreme Court court other than the Chief Justice. Although they have same powers as Chief Justice in deciding cases, but in drafting opinions, the Chief Justice gets to assign who gets to write the opinion in a case when the Chief is in the majority, thus having an additional influence in case disposition. Administrative responsibilities of The Chief Justice are a bit higher, and hence are their rank and the salary they draw from the state are higher than those of Justices. Their number is eight as decided by an act of US Congress. Associate Justices are nominated for service by the President of the United States and they serve all their life till retirement, voluntary retirement or impeachment.

History and Meaning of Appearance

In the legal context, the term "appearance" refers to the act of a defendant or a lawyer formally showing up in court in response to a summons or a complaint. The appearance can either be voluntary or involuntary, and it serves as a recognition of the court's authority and jurisdiction over the case. An appearance can also refer to the physical presence of a party at a court proceeding, or it can be a formal written document filed with the court to notify the other parties of the intention to participate in the case.

Examples of Appearance

  1. In a civil lawsuit, the defendant's appearance is required within a certain amount of time after receiving the summons, and failing to appear can result in a default judgment being entered against them.
  2. A lawyer may file an appearance on behalf of their client to notify the court and the other parties of their representation in the case.
  3. A defendant who appears in court can enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, and may also be able to present arguments for why the case should be dismissed or a different outcome should be reached.

Legal Terms Similar to Appearance

  1. Jurisdiction: refers to the court's authority to hear a case and make a binding decision.
  2. Summons: a legal document that notifies a defendant of a lawsuit and requires them to appear in court.
  3. Default judgment: a judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff because the defendant failed to appear or respond to the lawsuit.