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Encyclopedia > American rule (legal term)

The American Rule is a rule regarding assessment of attorneys' fees arising out of litigation. The American Rule provides that each party is responsible to pay its own attorney's fees unless specific authority granted by statute or contract allows the assessment of those fees against the other party. Under the American Rule every party -- even the party prevailing -- must pay its own attorneys' fees. The American Rule contrasts with the English Rule, under which the losing party pays the prevailing party's attorneys' fees. The rationale for the American Rule is that people should not be discouraged from seeking redress for perceived wrongs in court or from trying to extend coverage of the law. The rationale continues that society would suffer if a person was unwilling to pursue a meritorious claim merely because that peson would have to pay the defendant's expenses if they lost. Attorneys fees or attorneys fees are the costs of legal representation that an attorneys client or a party to a lawsuit incurs. ... A lawsuit is a civil action brought before a court in order to recover a right, obtain damages for an injury, obtain an injunction to prevent an injury, or obtain a declaratory judgment to prevent future legal disputes. ... A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... A contract is a promise or an agreement that is enforced or recognized by the law. ... Attorneys fees or attorneys fees are the costs of legal representation that an attorneys client or a party to a lawsuit incurs. ... A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. ...

See also

Tort reform is the phrase used by its advocates who claim it is a change in the legal system to reduce litigations alleged adverse effects on the economy. ...


  • Black's Law Dictionary (8th Ed. 2004).

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