Removal Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Removal?

(n) Removal is the change of legal proceedings from one court or venue to another court or venue based on a motion forwarded by a party to the dispute, after considering the advantages of the new court or venue.

History and Meaning of Removal

Removal is a term that refers to the transfer of a legal case from one court to another. This transfer happens because one party or both parties believe that they will receive more favorable treatment in a different court. Removal is a uniquely American term, as are many other legal terms. The US court system has both federal and state courts, and sometimes, parties want to move their legal dispute from a state court to a federal one or vice versa.

Examples of Removal

  1. A plaintiff files a lawsuit against a defendant in a state court. The defendant believes that they will be treated unfairly in state court and files a motion to remove the case to federal court.

  2. A medical malpractice case is filed in a county court. The defendant doctor has privileges at a different hospital in the state, and they believe that they will receive better treatment if the case is heard in a different court closer to the hospital. They file a motion to remove the case to a more convenient court.

  3. A company is sued in a state court in one state. The company is registered to do business in many states, and they believe that a federal court would be a more appropriate venue to hear the case. They file a motion to remove the case to federal court.

Legal Terms Similar to Removal

  1. Change of Venue - This legal term is similar to Removal because it refers to the changing of the location of a legal proceeding.

  2. Appeal - While not exactly the same thing as Removal, appealing a decision means that someone is dissatisfied with the result of a legal case and wants to have it reviewed by a different court.

  3. Jurisdiction - This term refers to the power of a court to make legal decisions. When a case is removed, it may affect which court has jurisdiction over the case.