Defendant Legal Meaning and Definition

Here is a simplified definition of the legal term Defendant.

Defendant (noun)

  1. In criminal law, the defendant refers to the person who has been charged with a crime. This individual is accused of committing an offense and has to face trial in court.
  2. In civil law, the defendant is the person against whom a lawsuit has been filed. This person is usually required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. Sometimes, this term can be replaced with "respondent".