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Defendant: Definition, Example and Related Terms

What is a Defendant ?

In the world of business and commercial contracts, a 'Defendant' is a person or organization that is being accused or sued in a court of law. For example, if a company is accused of not fulfilling the terms of a contract, that company becomes the defendant in the lawsuit. The defendant is usually required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. If the defendant fails to respond or does not defend itself, the court may rule in favor of the plaintiff. It's important for commercial contract managers to understand this term, as they could become a defendant if a contract dispute arises.


  • Scenario Description
    A software company signs a contract with a business to develop a custom software solution. The software company fails to deliver the product on time as per the terms of the contract. In this case, the software company becomes the 'Defendant' if the business decides to sue them for breach of contract. As a defendant, the software company must respond to the lawsuit and present their defense.
    A manufacturer and a retailer enter into a contract where the manufacturer agrees to supply specific products. The manufacturer fails to supply the products as agreed. Here, the manufacturer becomes the 'Defendant' if the retailer decides to sue for breach of contract. The manufacturer, in its role as defendant, will need to respond to the lawsuit and defend their actions in court.

Related terms