Sanction Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Sanction?

(n) Sanction is the fine or penalty imposed by a judge on a party or on his attorney for violating the orders issued by the court or for violating the rules prevalent there. For example a sanction can be imposed for frequent disturbance of courts functioning.

History and Meaning of Sanction

Sanctions have been a tool in the legal system for centuries. The word itself originated from the Latin word "sanctio" which means authoritative decree. In the legal sense, a sanction is a penalty or punishment imposed by a court on a party or lawyer for failing to comply with a court order or rule. Sanctions can take many forms, from fines to more severe penalties like dismissal of a case.

Examples of Sanction

  1. A lawyer may be sanctioned for failing to appear in court or repeatedly missing deadlines.
  2. A party to a case may be sanctioned for failing to produce requested documents or evidence.
  3. A judge may impose a sanction on a litigant for filing a frivolous lawsuit or motion.

Legal Terms Similar to Sanction

  1. Contempt of Court: Another legal term that refers to a violation of a court order.
  2. Fine: Similar to a sanction, a fine is a monetary penalty imposed by a court.
  3. Dismissal: A more severe form of sanction, dismissal is a court order that terminates a case.