A doctrine in equity that those who delay too long in asserting an equitable right will not be entitled to bring an action.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A legal defense to a claim for equitable relief asserting that the plaintiff's long delay in bringing the claim has prejudiced the defendant (as a sort of legal ambush). For example, if a homeowner watches while the neighbor builds a house over their property line, and only then brings a suit to have the house removed, the encroaching neighbor may raise the defense of laches. Don't confuse laches with "statutes of limitations," which set forth specific periods of time within which plaintiffs must file certain types of lawsuits.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:18 pm