Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Expunge Definition:

To remove permanently; to cancel.

Related Terms: Pardon, Rescind, Redact

To physically erase; to white or strike out.

To expunge something from a court record means to remove every reference to it from the court file.

Justice Weier of the Missouri Court of Appeals wrote, in State ex rel. MB v. Brown:

"Expunge ... means to destroy or obliterate ... deleted or cancelled ... to blot out, efface, obliterate, or cancel.

"(The) origin of expunge (is) the Latin verb expungere meaning to mark for deletion by dots placed above or below ....  to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion to obliterate ... physical destruction or annihilation."

It would be appropriate, for example, to expunge affidavits, or portions of an affidavit that, rather than relate facts, are argumentative or contain hearsay references.

Another example would be the type of application to expunge a registration, made to a trade-mark registration authority in regards to a registered trade-mark which, it would be alleged, was owned by another.1

In some jurisdictions, the pardon process is referred to as an expunging of criminal convictions.

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