Fact Checked

What Is Leave of Court?

Daphne Mallory
Daphne Mallory

A leave of court is a legal term used to describe asking the court permission to do something that the court doesn’t normally allow according to its rules and procedures. Either party can file this motion, which is often called a motion for leave. It's commonly used to ask the court to file papers or take some action after a deadline has passed. The party filing the motion has to list a good reason for requesting the court to allow the action out of time, or after the expiration of the date, in order for a court to grant the motion. The party who files the motion often asks the opposing party whether he or she will oppose the filing, and when there is no opposition, the party will indicate so in the motion.

When a court allows the action, then the party can go forward with the court’s permission. It’s often within the court’s discretion to make that decision, but the court usually has to take into account any hardship or prejudice that the other party would suffer as a result and the reason for the motion for leave of court. For example, a court may not grant a lawyer for the defense to file a motion late because he forgot the date. A court may consider a motion if the lawyer submitted an electronic version of a document but encountered technical difficulties in the process.

A leave of court request asks the court for permission to do something that it normally does not allow.
A leave of court request asks the court for permission to do something that it normally does not allow.

The other party may oppose a motion and argue that the court should not grant the motion because to do so would somehow prejudice that party’s case or give the motioning party an unfair advantage. The court signs the motion when it makes a decision. The court order is often prepared prior to a decision and submitted by the party filing the motion, along with the original motion. If the court rules in the party’s favor, it often signs the court order that was submitted.

There are a few cases in which the judge is compelled to provide a written opinion for why she grants or denies a motion, but judges often provide no opinion. Some make comments about the motion during a trial proceeding about the motion for leave of court. Either party can ask the court to reconsider its decision on a motion by filing a motion to reconsider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What precisely is a Leave of Court?

Leave of Court is the permission granted by a judge or court for a litigant to take a specific action or file a particular request. This permission is required if the action or motion is not covered by the court's regular rules and procedures.

When is permission of the court required?

When a party intends to take action or file a motion that is not covered by the normal court rules and procedures, permission from the court is required. For instance, if a party want to file a motion outside of the ordinary deadline or if they wish to file a motion that is not ordinarily allowed in a case, they must obtain Leave of Court from the judge.

How can a party seek for Leave of Court?

A motion for Leave of Court is a written request to the court. The motion must state the action or motion and the reason for obtaining Leave of Court. The requester may also need to produce supporting evidence.

When deciding whether or not to let someone present in court, what factors do the judges consider?

A judge will assess the request's basis, the influence it will have on other parties, as well as the fairness and efficiency of the court system before deciding whether or not to grant Leave of Court. The precedents set by the court as well as its procedures might be taken into account.

When is it typically appropriate to ask a judge for permission?

You need to obtain authorization from the court in order to file a motion after the deadline, present new evidence after discovery, or depose a person who is not a witness. Your petition should be granted at the judge's discretion if the circumstances are as described above. It is possible that the motion or action will require judicial permission if it deviates from the typical procedures and standards followed by the court.

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Discussion Comments


Can a party change his mind after obtaining permission from court? For example, after leave of court has been granted, is the party bound to follow through with the action/motion or can the party change his mind subsequently?


clearly explained! thanks!

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    • A leave of court request asks the court for permission to do something that it normally does not allow.
      By: Gary Blakeley
      A leave of court request asks the court for permission to do something that it normally does not allow.