Moving Party In A Lawsuit (Legal Definition: All You Need To Know)

What does Moving Party mean?

How do you legally define it?

What are the important elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our legal dictionary!

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Understanding Moving Party

A moving party is a party that files a motion in court or “moves” against its opponent by filing a motion with the objective of getting a favorable judgment from the court.

The term moving party is used interchangeably with the term movant.

In other words, a moving party or movant is a party who files a motion, petition or application against the other party (also called the non-moving party) to have the court grant relief or render a judgment as requested.

A moving party can be a plaintiff in a lawsuit or the defendant.

For example, if the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit moves for a summary judgment against the defendant, in this context, the plaintiff is considered to be the moving party.

On the other hand, if the defendant files a motion to dismiss against the plaintiff, the defendant is a moving party.

Moving Party definition

According to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, moving party is defined as:

A term which refers to a party in a case who is making a motion. For example, if a plaintiff in a civil case moves for summary judgment, the plaintiff is considered the moving party. 

What’s notable is that a moving party is not a secured party.

Another interesting definition of the moving party is offered by the Collins dictionary, as follows:

A person who applies to a court or judge with the aim of obtaining a ruling in their favour

The idea for the moving party is to file a motion to request something from the court that can benefit its case

Non-moving party

The non-moving party or nonmovant is a party that receives the motion from the moving party.

The non-moving party can choose to accept the moving party’s demands or contest it.

If the non-moving party contests the relief sought by the moving party, the court will then hear the parties, take evidence, weigh the different aspects of the case and render a judgment.

Cross-moving party 

The other party may also move against the moving party.

In that case, the nonmovant becomes a cross-moving party or cross-movant.

In such a scenario, the judge must dispose of two motions, the moving party’s initial motion and the cross-moving party’s motion filed in response to the initial motion.

Burden of proof 

Moving party’s burden of proof 

The moving party can discharge its burden of production as follows:

  • Provide evidence to negate the allegations of the non-moving party’s case
  • Demonstrate that the non-moving party’s claim is not substantiated with sufficient evidence 

In both these cases, the burden of proof will shift from the moving party to the non-moving party who can negate what’s brought forth against it.

Example: Party moving for summary judgment

In the context where a party moves for a summary judgment against the other, the moving party has the initial burden of proof to show that the summary judgment is proper.

The moving party may not necessarily have the burden of proof in the hearing on merits or trial but will have the burden of proof when moving for a summary judgment.

In the case where the moving party does not have the burden of proof in trial, the moving party may demonstrate to the court that the non-moving party does not have sufficient evidence to satisfy its burden of proof in trial.

By moving for a summary judgment, the parties to the lawsuit may avoid unnecessary trials.


So what is the legal definition of Moving Party?

What do we understand from the moving party law?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Moving Party:

  • A nonmoving party is a party who files a motion in court against another
  • It can either be a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit or a defendant 
  • The moving party can either negate the nonmoving party’s allegations or demonstrate that the nonmoving party has not substantiated its case and does not meet its burden of proof 
Accommodated party
Adoption of Motions
Adverse party
Aggrieved party
Black Panther Party
Civil procedure
Civil case summary 
Contract party 
Criminal procedure 
Lawsuit party 
Legal action for non payment
Legal capacity 
Legal process
Motion for summary judgment 
Partial summary judgment 
Responding party 
Summary judgment 
Third party beneficiary 
Third party
Is the moving party the plaintiff 
Who is a moving party in a criminal case
Who is the initial moving party in civil and criminal cases