Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Amend Definition:

To change, to revise; to formally change a statement on the record or the wording of a written document, such as a statute.

Related Terms: Legislation, Statutes

The word comes from the French amender which means to change but which is based upon the word menda which, in turns, refers to a fault.

To amend typically includes to extend, to add something, to improve upon overly expansive or overly restrictive or vague wording.

In Risley v Gough, Justice Gibson of the Supreme Court of Tasmania defined amend as:

"... the perfecting or ameliorating of an existing thing - not supplying a vacuum with soemthing that should be there."

The American encyclopedia of law, the Corpus Juris Secundum (1973), at 3A C.J.S. 415, uses these words:

"In its comprehensive sense, the word amend is defined as meaning to better, to make better, to change from bad to better. The term is further defined as meaning to change; to change in any way for the better; to alter; to change or modify in any way for the better by removing defects or faults; to correct; to cure an error or defects; to free from deficiences...."

In a 1999 decision of the Ontario Municipal Board, the tribunal relied on these words:

"Amend. To improve. To change for the better by removing defects or faults. To change, correct, revise.

"Amendment. To change or modify for the better. To alter by modification, deletion, or addition."


  • Risley v Gough, [1953] Tas. 78
  • Tandi Construction Ltd. v. Town of Flamborough, 4 MPLR (3d) 143 (1999)

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