Vacate Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Vacate?

(v). Vacate is the term used when a judge set aside a request , plea, filing of a case or judgment or order of a lower authority, when he finds them as improper and non-sustaining as per the merits of the case

History and Meaning of Vacate

Vacate is a legal term that refers to the act of setting aside or canceling a decision, order or judgment by a court or an administrative agency. The judge or decision-maker can vacate the ruling when it is determined to be improper, defective, or no longer valid. The decision to vacate a judgment may be made by the court on its own, or upon the request of either party or their attorney.

The process of vacating a judgment was first established in English law in the 17th century, where it was referred to as "quashing" the judgment. The term 'vacate' has been in use since the mid-1800s in legal contexts, and it's derived from the Latin word "vacare" which means "to make void." Vacating a judgment is commonly used in the legal system, as it allows the court to rectify errors or injustices that may have been made in previous decisions.

Examples of Vacate

  1. If a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord can file for eviction. But if the tenant pays the rent in full before the court hearing, the judge may vacate the eviction order.
  2. If a person is found guilty of a crime but later discovers new evidence to prove their innocence, their attorney can file a motion to vacate the judgment.
  3. If a party fails to appear in court for a hearing, the judge may issue a default judgment against them. However, if the party can show that they did not receive proper notice of the hearing, they can file a motion to vacate the default judgment.
  4. In immigration law, applicants whose cases were denied previously can file a motion to reopen or vacate the case based on new evidence or a change in circumstances.
  5. If an administrative agency issues an order or decision that is illegal or arbitrary, the court can vacate or reverse the ruling.

Legal Terms Similar to Vacate

  • Dismissal: Dismissal refers to the termination of a case or charges without a ruling on the merits.
  • Set Aside: Set aside is a legal term that refers to the cancellation or voiding of a judgment or order.
  • Reversal: Reversal refers to the act of overturning a decision or order by a higher court.
  • Annulment: Annulment refers to the invalidation or cancellation of a legal agreement or marriage.
  • Quash: Quash is a legal term that means to nullify or set aside a summons, warrant, or indictment.