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To amend is to change by adding, subtracting, or substituting. One can amend a statute, a contract, the Constitution of the United States, or a pleading filed in a law suit.

For example, Article V of the Constitution of the United States provides ways in which the Constitution can be amended through Amendments.

In the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 15 provides ways in which a pleading may be amended. The purpose of Rule 15 is to prevent parties from being bound by their first formulation of a pleading. They may have made a mistake, or they may have obtained more information such that their initial pleading may need to be changed. Rule 15(a)(1) permits a party to amend his pleading during a certain period of time. Afterwards, unless the opposing party consents, the trial court has discretion whether to allow the amendment. Courts consider various factors in deciding whether to allow the amendment. For these factors, see Beeck v. Aquaslide ‘N’ Dive Corp. See also amended complaint and amended pleading.

[Last updated in May of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]