Defense Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Defense?

n. 1) The effort of the defendant’s attorney during the trial process designed to defeat the suing party or prosecution in a criminal case. 2) To counter, or defeat the plaintiff’s contentions, a response to a complaint.

History and Meaning of Defense

The term "defense" in law refers to the legal strategy used by a defendant or their attorney in order to counter or defeat the claims made by the prosecution or plaintiff. It is an essential aspect of the trial process and involves the presentation of evidence and arguments that aim to prove the defendant's innocence or show that the plaintiff's claims are unfounded.

The concept of defense has been a cornerstone of legal systems throughout history, dating back to ancient civilizations such as Rome and Greece. The right to defense is enshrined in many countries' legal systems, and it is seen as a fundamental aspect of a fair trial.

Examples of Defense

  1. In a criminal trial, the defense attorney may argue that their client did not commit the crime or that the prosecution has not provided enough evidence to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

  2. In a civil trial, the defense may argue that the plaintiff's claims are unfounded or that their actions were justified.

  3. A country's military can also employ defense strategies in order to protect their territory from a potential threat.

Legal Terms Similar to Defense

  1. Prosecution - The act of conducting the case against the defendant in a criminal trial.
  2. Plaintiff - The party that initiates a civil lawsuit and seeks a legal remedy from the defendant.
  3. Counterclaim - A claim made by the defendant against the plaintiff in response to the plaintiff's original claim.