Denial Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Denial?

n. Defendant’s statement in a lawsuit that a particular allegation is not factual. General denials occur when all allegations are denied. The defendant’s statement is limited to admitting, denying, or denying on the basis that they cannot affirm or deny.

History and Meaning of Denial

Denial is a legal term used when a defendant does not admit to an allegation or a claim made by the plaintiff in a lawsuit. It's a defense used by the accused to refute any accusation brought forward by the plaintiff. Denials can be general, where all allegations are denied, or specific, where only certain allegations are rejected. The defendant can admit, deny, or plead "not enough information" in response to each allegation.

The history of denial goes back centuries ago when legal proceedings were fundamental to maintaining order in society. During that time, denials were made verbally in court, but today they're made in writing. Lawyers usually have a limited time to respond to allegations made against their clients, so they have to gather evidence and argue the case as quickly and effectively as possible to defend their clients.

Examples of Denial

  1. In a lawsuit, a defendant may deny the claim made by the plaintiff on the grounds that the facts alleged are false or inaccurate.
  2. In criminal law, an accused person may deny that they committed a particular crime.
  3. In the context of a breach of contract case, the defendant may deny that they breached the contract.

Legal Terms Similar to Denial

  1. Pleading - a formal statement of a party's claims or defenses in a lawsuit.
  2. Affirmative Defense - a defense in which the defendant admits the plaintiff's allegation but then asserts additional facts that justify or excuse their actions.
  3. Counterclaim - a claim made by the defendant against the plaintiff in a lawsuit.