Dirty Hands Doctrine Law & Legal Definition


Dirty hands doctrine refers to an equitable defense available to a defendant against the plaintiff. In this defense, the defendant can claim that the plaintiff should not be granted relief because the plaintiff has acted in bad faith regarding the subject matter of the complaint. A person is abstained from receiving equitable relief when s/he acts in bad faith or in an unethical manner. The rule embodied in this doctrine is that the participant in a wrongful act may not recover damages resulting from it. Generally it is the defendant who claims the defense; hence, the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that the plaintiff is not acting in good faith. This doctrine is also known as the unclear hands doctrine.