On File Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is On File?

The act of submitting legal documents with the clerk of the court.

History and Meaning of On File

The term "on file" is commonly used in the legal context, especially in regards to the submission of legal documents. When a document such as a complaint, petition, or motion is submitted to the clerk of the court, it is said to be "on file" with the court. This term applies to both physical and digital documents that have been officially submitted.

The origins of the term "on file" are unclear, but it's likely derived from the practice of keeping physical records in a file cabinet. When a document was submitted to the court, it would be placed in a physical file and stored for future reference. This practice has now transitioned to digital records management systems in most courts, but the term "on file" is still used to reference the official submission of records.

Examples of On File

  1. The plaintiff's motion for summary judgment was on file with the court.
  2. The defendant's response to the complaint has been on file since last week.
  3. The judge ordered the document to be placed on file and made a note for further review.
  4. I need to make sure the original copy of the contract is on file with the court clerk.
  5. You can request a copy of the document that is on file with the court.

Legal Terms Similar to On File

  1. Docket - A chronological log of all court filings and proceedings.
  2. Filing - The official submission of a document to the court.
  3. Docket number - A unique identifier assigned to each court case for tracking purposes.