What's the single word for someone who is either a plaintiff or defendant in a court case?

Plaintiff -> the accuser

Defendant -> the accused

Plaintiff or defendant -> ???

I'd rather not refer to "plaintiff or defendant" every single time in my essay.

  • 4
    The "parties" of the matter before the court. Apr 29, 2014 at 4:28

3 Answers 3


lit·i·gant (lĭt′ĭ-gənt)
A party engaged in a lawsuit.
Engaged in a lawsuit.
[French, from Old French, from Latin lītigāns, lītigant-, a disputant, from present participle of lītigāre, to bring suit; see litigate.]


The conduct of a lawsuit is called litigation. The plaintiffs and defendants are called litigants and the attorneys representing them are called litigators.


The judge ordered both litigants of the lawsuit to attend anger management therapy.

  • 4
    And people who like to sue or have high affinity to bringing about law suits are litigious. Apr 29, 2014 at 4:56

Consider also party.

party: (Law) one of the litigants in a legal proceeding, a plaintiff pr defendant.

  • 1
    Some cases also have Third and Fourth Parties, so this is the best suggestion. Apr 29, 2014 at 8:19

Not a single word but you could always just refer to them as both sides. Many news articles will simply use this "term" to express both the plaintiff and the defendant.

some headlines:

Same-sex marriage: Both sides want Utah Supreme Court to ...

Both Sides Cry 'Free Speech' As Supreme Court Lifts ...

The Southern Gazette - Victories for both sides in court case

  • This doesn't really work. "Both sides" is only really appropriate in situations where you could have said "both the plaintiff and the defendant" rather than just "the plaintiff and the defendant": it's an emphatic construction. Apr 29, 2014 at 8:27

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