Reformation Law & Legal Definition


Reformation, in the context of contract law, refers to the a judicial correction or change of an existing document by court order upon petition of one of the parties to the document. Reformation is an equitable remedy. Reformation will be ordered if  the parties have entered into a binding agreement and some related writing does not conform to their agreement, either due to mistake or fraud. Quite often a party petitions for reformation when one or both parties realize the effect of the document as written does not conform to what the parties understood or agreed to but it has already been recorded or filed with a governmental agency. 

However, a court never has the right to impose a contract on parties who never agreed to the terms of the "re-formed" contract; instead, the court has only the right to impose upon the parties that which they already agreed upon (but which is not accurately expressed in the parties' written agreement). Reformation requires "clear and convincing" evidence of the parties' true intentions.