A claim of fact not yet proven to be true. In a lawsuit, a party puts forth their allegations in a complaint, indictment or affirmative defense, and then uses evidence at trial to attempt to prove their truth.


To allege means to claim or assert something as true; to make an allegation.

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]

Allen Charge


An instruction given by a court to a deadlocked jury to encourage it to continue deliberating until it reaches a verdict. Some states prohibit Allen charges, because they deem them coercive, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their use in...


The direct address between the judge and the convicted defendant prior to sentencing. During the address, the judge speaks directly to the defendant and asks if the defendant has anything to add prior to hearing the sentence. The defendant then...

Alter Ego


Legal doctrine whereby the court finds a corporation lacks a separate identity from an individual or corporate shareholder, resulting in injustice to the corporation’s debtors. Finding alter ego gives the court cause to pierce the...

Alternative dispute resolution - State statutes

Alabama- Title 6, Chapter 6 Alaska Arizona- Title 12, Article 2 Arkansas- Title 16, Subtitle1- 7 California (see Title 2, Division 3, Part 1, Chapter 4.5, Article 5) Colorado- Title 13, Article 22, Part 2 Connecticut- Title 52, Chapter 909 Delaware-...

Alternative Pleading

Alternative pleading allows a pleader to allege two or more claims which are inconsistent with each other.

The purpose of alternative pleading is to allow the pleader to seek relief when the pleader is uncertain about the facts that will be...

Alternative Writ of Mandate (Mandamus)

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryA court order that requires a governmental agency, court, or officials to obey to take a certain action, or show cause at a hearing why it should not have to obey. Compare: peremptory writ of mandate (or...


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...

Amended Complaint

An amended complaint is a written revision of the original complaint filed by a plaintiff or petitioner. Rule 15 of the federal rules of civil procedure allows the plaintiff to amend their complaint one time within 21 days of serving the...