A request by a litigant to a judge for a decision on an issue relating to the case.

Additional Sources

An application made to a court for an order or a ruling.

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

A proposal made to a Court or at a meeting and intended to be considered and decided upon.

In Court, a motion is directed at a Court which sits as a quorum of one representing the whole Court.

For example, a motion may be made to the Supreme Court of British Columbia but it would be heard and disposed of by only one member of the Court, who is taken to be speaking for the whole Court in rendering his or her decision. Dictionary

n. a formal request made to a judge for an order or judgment. Motions are made in court all the time for many purposes: to continue (postpone) a trial to a later date, to get a modification of an order, for temporary child support, for a judgment, for dismissal of the opposing party's case, for a rehearing, for sanctions (payment of the moving party's costs or attorney's fees), or for dozens of other purposes. Most motions require a written petition, a written brief of legal reasons for granting the motion (often called "points and authorities"), written notice to the attorney for the opposing party and a hearing before a judge. However, during a trial or a hearing, an oral motion may be permitted.

Lect Law Library

MOTION - A request asking a judge to issue a ruling or order on a legal matter.

An application to a court by one of the parties in a cause, or his counsel, in order to obtain some rule or order of court, which he thinks becomes necessary in the progress of the cause, or to get relieved in a summary manner, from some matter which would work injustice.

When the motion is made on some matter of fact, it must be supported by an affidavit that such facts are true; and for this purpose, the party's affidavit will be received, though, it cannot be read on the hearing.

A motion is a written request to the court. When a party asks the court to take some kind of action in the course of litigation, other than resolving the entire case in a trial, the request is made in the form of a motion. Motions are often made before trials to resolve procedural and preliminary issues, and may be made after trials to enforce or modify judgments. Motions may also be made to resolve legal issues in the case if there is no disagreement about the facts. Usually called a motion for summary judgment or a motion for summary adjudication of the issues, these motions can resolve all or most of the issues in a case without the need for a trial.

A request to a court for an action.

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

A written or oral application made to a court or judge to obtain a ruling or order directing that some act be done in favor of the applicant. The applicant is known as the moving party, or the Movant.

In the U.S. judicial system, procedural rules require most motions to be made in writing and can require that written notice be given in advance of a motion being made. Written motions specify what action the movant is requesting and the reasons, or grounds, for the request. A written motion may contain citations to case law or statutes that support the motion. A motion almost always contains a recitation of the facts of the case or the situation prompting the movant to make the request.

For example, suppose that a plaintiff in a lawsuit has refused to submit to a deposition—questioning under oath—by the defendant. The defendant therefore files a motion with the court to compel in an effort to compel the plaintiff to attend the deposition. The written motion briefly explains the nature of the lawsuit, describes the efforts made by the defendant to get the plaintiff to submit to a deposition, addresses any known reasons for the plaintiff's failure to cooperate, and recites the statute that permits the taking of depositions in civil litigation. The motion may also request that the issue be addressed at a hearing before the judge with all parties present.


A legal motion is a procedural device in law to bring a limited, contested issue before a court for decision. A motion may be thought of as a request to the judge (or judges) to make a decision about the case.[1] Motions may be made at any point in administrative, criminal or civil proceedings, although that right is regulated by court rules which vary from place to place. The party requesting the motion may be called the movant, or may simply be the moving party. The party opposing the motion is the nonmovant or nonmoving party.