clean hands doctrine
clean hands doctrine n: a doctrine that originated in equity and that bars a plaintiff from seeking judicial relief regarding a matter in which he or she is not free of guilt and does not have clean hands

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

clean hands doctrine
n.
A doctrine holding that in order for someone to receive equitable relief for a wrong, he or she must be blameless in the transaction, and must have performed his or her duties in good faith without wrongdoing. See also unclean hands

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.


clean hands doctrine
The principle that a party who has acted unethically or in bad faith in relation to a lawsuit will not win the suit or be granted equitable relief by the court. For example, if a contractor is suing a homeowner to recover the price of work he did on the home, his failure to perform the work as specified would leave him with unclean hands.
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

clean hands doctrine
n.
   a rule of law that a person coming to court with a lawsuit or petition for a court order must be free from unfair conduct (have "clean hands" or not have done anything wrong) in regard to the subject matter of his/her claim. His/her activities not involved in the legal action can be abominable because they are considered irrelevant. As an affirmative defense (positive response) a defendant might claim the plaintiff (party suing him/her) has a "lack of clean hands" or "violates the clean hands doctrine" because the plaintiff has misled the defendant or has done something wrong regarding the matter under consideration. Example: A former partner sues on a claim that he was owed money on a consulting contract with the partnership when he left, but the defense states that the plaintiff (party suing) has tried to get customers from the partnership by spreading untrue stories about the remaining partner's business practices.
   See also: affirmative defense

Law dictionary. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • clean hands doctrine — The equitable principle which requires a denial of relief to a complainant who is himself guilty of inequitable conduct in reference to the matter in controversy. 27 Am J2d Eq § 136; 28 Am J Rev ed Inj § 33. Within the meaning of the maxim of… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • clean hands doctrine — Under this doctrine, equity will not grant relief to a party, who, as actor, seeks to set judicial machinery in motion and obtain some remedy, if such party in prior conduct has violated conscience or good faith Or other equitable principle.… …   Black's law dictionary

  • clean hands doctrine — Under this doctrine, equity will not grant relief to a party, who, as actor, seeks to set judicial machinery in motion and obtain some remedy, if such party in prior conduct has violated conscience or good faith Or other equitable principle.… …   Black's law dictionary

  • clean hands — n pl: innocence of wrongdoing or deceit plaintiff must come into court with clean hands see also clean hands doctrine Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • unclean hands doctrine — See clean hands doctrine …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • he who comes into equity must come with clean hands — A maxim of equity. 27 Am J2d Eq § 136. See clean hands doctrine …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • clean — adj: free of amendments or annotations Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. clean I …   Law dictionary

  • doctrine — A rule, principle, theory, or tenet of the law; as, e.g. Abstention doctrine; Clean hands doctrine, etc …   Black's law dictionary

  • doctrine — A rule, principle, theory, or tenet of the law; as, e.g. Abstention doctrine; Clean hands doctrine, etc …   Black's law dictionary

  • Unclean hands — Clean hands redirects here. For other uses, see Clean hands (disambiguation). Contract law …   Wikipedia

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