The Law Dictionary

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BRIEF Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

In general. A written document; a letter; a writing in the form of a letter. A summary, abstract, or epitome. A condensed statement of some larger document, or of a series of papers, facts, or propositions. An epitome or condensed summary of the facts and circumstances, or propositions of law, constituting the case proposed to be set up by either party to an action about to be tried or argued. In English practice. A document prepared by the attorney, and given to the barrister, before the trial of a cause, for the instruction and guidance of the latter. It contains, in general, all the information necessary to enable the barrister to successfully conduct their client’s case in court, such as a statement of the facts, a summary of the pleadings, the names of the witnesses, and an outline of the evidence expected from them, and any suggestions arising out of the peculiarities of the case. In American practice. A written or printed document, prepared by counsel to serve as the basis for an argument upon a cause in an appellate court, and usually filed for the information of the court. It embodies the points of law which the counsel desires to establish, together with the arguments and authorities upon which he rests his contention. A brief, within a rule of court requiring counsel to furnish briefs, before argument, implies some kind of statement of the case for the information of the court. Gardner v. Stover, 43 Ind. 356. In Scotch law. Brief is used in the sense of “writ,” and this seems to be the sense in which the word is used in very many of the ancient writers. In ecclesiastical law. A papal rescript sealed with wax. See BOLL.


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