Vexatious Litigant Order

A person who has been found to regularly file pointless or harassing cases may be declared a vexatious litigant in some legal systems. Such an order in essence uses the court’s contempt power to threaten the person with a fine or short imprisonment if he or she files a suit without first stating his or her intent to do so to a court officer who will evaluate the case to determine if it is “vexatious.”

Vexatious litigant orders are rare and hard to secure, and usually the litigant is somewhat of a lunatic with little funds to pay fines, compensation and/or and award of legal fees and expenses.  A notable US example of a vaxatious litigant order, showing many of the characterisitics of such cases is In Re Martin-Trigona. Vexatious litigant orders or close analogues are present in many court systems including the English and Irish courts, while California maintains a publicly available vexatious litigant list with some 15,000 names on it, as does England & WalesScotland, NevadaTexas and a number of other jurisdictions.

Term posted by Origin on in