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Abuse of process

Abuse of process is a common law intentional tort. It is to be distinguished from malicious prosecution another type of tort that involves misuse of the public right of access to the courts.

The elements of a valid cause of action of abuse of process in most common law jurisdictions are as follows: it is the malicious and deliberate misuse or perversion of regularly issued court process (civil or criminal) not justified by the underlying legal action. The person bringing the suit is only interested in accomplishing some improper purpose that is collateral to the object of the process and which offends justice such as unjustified arrests, criminal procecutions, subpoenas to testify, attachments to property, executions on property, garnishments and other provisional remedies can be considered to be capable of abuse.

See also frivolous lawsuit, vexatious litigation and barratry

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