Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Traverse Definition:

To deny an allegation or the validity of an office or of some other official act.

Most commonly, to formally take issue with by denial of an allegation of fact.

Jowitt defines traverse as, simply:

"... to deny an alegation of fact ... both in pleadings and affidavits."

In what used to be called lunacy law, a traverse was a specific legal procedure; that of challenging a finding of mental inability to manage one's own affairs or one's person.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, mental incapacity was known as lunacy and the person so afflicted, as a lunatic. Thus, the body of law was lunacy law and there were even lunacy court and lunacy judges.

In Re Cummings, Catherine Cummings, her daughter had convened the court in an inquisition to assess the alleged lunacy of Catherine. After a nine day trial before a jury, she was found to be of unsound mind.

Mrs. Catherine Cummings then filed a traverse, in which she challenged that finding but with mixed results.


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