General Appearance Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is General Appearance?

(n) General appearance is the representation of an attorney for all purpose connected with a law suit or legal action for a client. An attorney accepting a general appearance is responsible for all future actions unless otherwise decided by the client

History and Meaning of General Appearance

General Appearance is a legal term in common use in most of the common law countries that define the scope of an attorney's engagement with a legal case or action. This term refers to the representation of an attorney in a legal action that is authorized by the client, and it allows the attorney to participate fully in the matter. When an attorney files a general appearance, they are indicating that they are representing the client for every purpose, and they are responsible for all future actions unless the client specifies otherwise.

It is an essential step in any lawsuit as it also sets the clock ticking down to the filing of the lawsuit answer, as well as identifying or confirming the attorney chosen to represent the individual or business in court.

Examples of General Appearance

  1. In a civil lawsuit, a plaintiff's attorney can take a general appearance to signify that he represents his client for all aspects of the proceedings until the case is over.
  2. A local law firm accepts the general appearance of a client accused of a criminal concurrence, allowing them to provide legal representation and support throughout the case.
  3. In a divorce case, an attorney may file a general appearance to represent one spouse, signifying that they will be responsible for any future legal proceedings related to the case.

Legal Terms Similar to General Appearance

  1. Limited Appearance: An appearance by an attorney in a legal action that is authorized only for certain purposes, such as objecting to jurisdiction or arguing a particular issue.
  2. Special Appearance: An appearance by an attorney in a legal action that is authorized for the sole purpose of arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction over the party.
  3. Power of Attorney: A legal document that authorizes an individual to act on behalf of another person in all legal matters specified within the document.