The Law Dictionary

Your Free Online Legal Dictionary • Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed.

CHALLENGE Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

1. To object or except to; to prefer objections to a person, right, or instrument; to formally call Into question the capability of a person for a particular function, or the existence of a right claimed, or the sufficiency or validity of an instrument. 2. As a noun, the word signifies the objection or exception so advanced. 3. An exception taken against legal documents. as a declaration, count, or writ. But this use of the word is now obsolescent. 4. An exception or objection preferred against a person who presents himself at the polls as a voter, in order that his right to cast a ballot may be inquired into. 5. An objection or exception to the personal qualification of a judge or magistrate about to preside at the trial of a cause; as on account of personal interest, his having been of counsel, bias, etc. 6. An exception or objection taken to the jurors summoned and returned for the trial of a cause, either individually, (to the polls,) or collectively, (to the array.) People v. Travers, SS Cal. 233, 20 Pac. 88; People v. Fitspatrick, 1 N. Y. Cr. R. 425. AT COMMON LAW. The causes for principal challenges fall under four heads: (1) Propter honoris rcspcctum. On account of respect for the party’s social rank. (2) Propter defectum. On account of some legal disqualification, such as infancy or alienage. (3) Propter nffcctiem. On account of partiality; that is, either expressed or implied bias or prejudice. (4) Propter delictum. On account of crime ; that is, disqualification arising from the conviction of an infamous crime.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.