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Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

1) An essential requirement necessary to make a claim or defense in court.  For example, one element of assault is the intention to cause apprehension of harmful or offensive contact.  If there is no evidence that the defendant intended to cause apprehension, there is no assault.
2) An essential requirement of a General Plan (a government's long-range land-use policy).

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.