Word of the Week

Sua sponte

In lawsua sponte (Latin: “of his, her, its or their own accord.”) describes an act of authority taken without formal prompting from another party. The term is usually applied to actions by a judge taken without a prior motionor request from the parties. The form nostra sponte (of our own accord) is sometimes used by the court itself, when the action is taken by a multi-member court, such as an appellate court, rather than by a single judge (third parties describing such actions would still refer to them as ‘sua sponte’). While usually applied to actions of a court, the term may reasonably be applied to actions by government agencies and individuals acting in official capacity.

One situation in which a party might encourage a judge to move sua sponte occurs when that party is preserving aspecial appearance (usually to challenge jurisdiction), and therefore cannot make motions on its own behalf without making a general appearance. Common reasons for an action taken sua sponte are when the judge determines that the court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction or that the case should be moved to another judge because of a conflict of interest, even if all parties disagree.

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2 thoughts on “Word of the Week

  1. I know I could never be a lawyer! I could never remember all of those things!!! But I am glad that some people put all of the effort into learning…and to serving as judges and lawyers and officers of the law!

    • That was definitely one from my hubby.I’m choosing next weekend. I’m a lowly nurse. A few fancy words in my vocabulary, but not many……Jill

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