Reformation Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Reformation?

(n) A reformation is a petition forwarded to a court requesting it a sanction to correct or change an existing document when an unintended error or a wording contrary to the spirit of the document etc. appears in such documents

History and Meaning of Reformation

The term "Reformation" has a significant historical context, most notably known for its association with the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. The Reformation refers to the period of religious and social upheaval that occurred in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, which was sparked by the 1517 publication of Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses. This movement aimed to reform the practices and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, leading to the establishment of various Protestant denominations.

In the legal context, "Reformation" refers to a petition made to a court to correct or amend an existing legal document due to an unintended mistake or error. This could include fixing a typo, clarifying vague language, or inserting a missing clause. The aim of this type of reformation is to align the document's wording with the intent behind it.

Examples of Reformation

  • A property owner petitions the court to reform his will after discovering that a clerical error led to his intended beneficiary receiving a disproportionate share of the estate.
  • A business owner requests reformation of a contract to remove an ambiguity, which has caused disagreements between the parties involved.
  • A plaintiff appeals to the court to reform the judgment in a lawsuit, stating that an inadvertent error resulted in an incorrect ruling.

Legal Terms Similar to Reformation

  • Rescission: the cancellation or annulment of a legal document or contract
  • Rectification: a correction of an error or mistake in a legal document
  • Amendment: a revision or alteration of an existing legal agreement or contract.