Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Dismissal

What is the dictionary definition of Dismissal?

Dictionary Definition


  1. the act of voluntarily terminating a criminal prosecution or a lawsuit or one of its causes of action by one of the parties.
  2. a judge’s ruling that a lawsuit or criminal charge is terminated.
  3. an appeals court’s act of dismissing an appeal, letting the lower court decision stand.
  4. the act of a plaintiff dismissing a lawsuit upon settling the case. Such a dismissal may be dismissal with prejudice, meaning it can never be filed again, or dismissal without prejudice, leaving open the possibility of bringing the suit again if the defendant does not follow through on the terms of the settlement.

Full Definition of Dismissal

Dismissal is the termination of a lawsuit which can be done with prejudice, which does not allow the case to be brought to the court a second time, or without prejudice, which does allow the case to be brought to court again in the future.

In a civil case, it is easier for a plaintiff to request a dismissal than a defendant. For instance, if the defendant has not filed an answer or a motion for summary judgment the plaintiff can voluntarily dismiss the case without a court order by filing a Notice of Dismissal. However, if the defendant has filed an answer or motion for summary judgment, voluntary dismissal can be made without a court order if all parties agree to sign a joint stipulation of dismissal.

Defendants may also have a complaint dismissed if they can prove the plaintiff failed to state a claim. Under this motion, the defendant is arguing the plaintiff lacked enough evidence about the facts of the case to file a case against them. The plaintiff, however, will have a chance to amend the complaint if needed before the court dismisses it per the defendant’s request.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Dismissal. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 28, 2021 https://payrollheaven.com/define/dismissal/.
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Dismissal. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. https://payrollheaven.com/define/dismissal/ (accessed: September 28, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Dismissal. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/dismissal/

Definition Sources

Definitions for Dismissal are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 0 Views.