Retraction Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Retraction?

(n) Retraction is the action by which an earlier action is reversed so as to restore the original position. For example withdrawing a legal proceedings, withdrawing by correcting an earlier statement, withdrawing a claim already forwarded.

History and Meaning of Retraction

Retraction is a term used in the legal realm to describe an action in which an earlier action or statement is reversed, with the intent of restoring the original situation. Historically, retractions were a purely informal gesture; if someone said something incorrect, they would simply apologize and retract their statement. In today's legal environment, however, a retraction is often a formal written document that explicitly outlines what was previously said or done, and then provides a clear statement that the earlier action is being reversed.

Examples of Retraction

  1. In a defamation case, a newspaper might retract an incorrect or libellous statement it previously made about an individual or entity.
  2. An individual who previously filed an incorrect claim or assertion in a legal proceeding might retract their statement, often with the help of their attorney.
  3. A company that released false or misleading advertising statements might retract their statements and issue corrective advertisements to ensure that they are not charged with fraud or false advertising.

Legal Terms Similar to Retraction

  1. Correction: a statement or action that acknowledges and attempts to remedy an incorrect or inaccurate statement.
  2. Revocation: the cancellation or reversal of an agreement or declaration that was previously made.
  3. Recantation: the act of publicly renouncing a previously held belief or assertion.