actual notice

Someone recieving notice (being informed of a case that could affect their interst - see: Notice) in fact, as opposed to Constructive Notice (where although that person did not recieve notice in fact, the law will considere them to have recieved notice).

Note that constructive notice trumps actual notice.  For example: Someone who is served improperly, but actually recieves the papers may dismiss the case for lack of notice; while someone who is properly served (recieves constructive notice), but because of a fluke does not in reality recieve the papers will not be able to dismiss the case for lack of service.