Malicious Prosecution

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Malicious Prosecution

Malicious Prosecution

What is the dictionary definition of Malicious Prosecution?

Dictionary Definition

n. filing a lawsuit with the intention of creating problems for the defendant such as costs, attorneys’ fees, anguish, or distraction when there is no substantial basis for the suit. If the defendant in the lawsuit wins and has evidence that the suit was filed out of spite and without any legal or factual foundation, he/she may, in turn, sue for damages against the person who filed the original action. If malice is clearly proved against the party who brought the original suit, punitive damages may be awarded along with special and general damages. In recent cases, courts have ruled that an attorney who knowingly assists a client in filing a worthless lawsuit out of malice or spite may be liable for damages along with the client. The suit by the victim to recover damages for a malicious prosecution cannot be filed until the original lawsuit is decided in favor of the victim.

Full Definition of Malicious Prosecution

Malicious prosecution occurs when one party files an untrue or baseless legal complaint against another without probable cause. Common types of malicious prosecution include a malicious tort, improper civil suit or improper criminal allegation.

To prove malicious prosecution in a lawsuit the victim generally has to prove the police officer or government agent initiated the criminal prosecution, the proceedings were initiated without probable cause, the proceedings were brought with malice and ended in the favour of the victim.

Winning a malicious prosecution lawsuit can be tough because most officers and government officials have broad protection through qualified immunity statutes. Exceptions may exist if you can prove willful and unreasonable conduct on the part of the officer or agent. Given the complexity of the laws surrounding this issue if you think you have a case, you will need to talk to a civil rights lawyer.

Cite Term

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Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Malicious Prosecution. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
November 29, 2023
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Malicious Prosecution. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: November 29, 2023).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Malicious Prosecution. Retrieved November 29, 2023
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Malicious Prosecution 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: 28th April, 2020 | 0 Views.