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"Show Cause"


an order, made upon the motion of one party, requiring a party to appear and show cause (demonstrate) why a certain thing should be permitted or not permitted. It requires that party to meet the prima facie case made by the applicant’s verified complaint or affidavit. An order to show cause is an accelerated method of beginning a litigation by compelling the adverse party to respond in a much shorter period of time than he or she would normally have to respond to a complaint. EXAMPLE: A group of prisoners petitions a court to allow them greater visitation rights than their present one-visit-a-month allotment. The judge is inclined to agree with them and orders prison officials to show cause why greater visitation privileges should not be granted immediately. The officials must then provide at least some rationale for the limit, or the court will order a change, pending a trial on the petition. compare restraining order; summons.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016

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