Abstract Law and Legal Definition

The term abstract is subject to different meanings, but in a legal sense, it refers to an abbreviated history of an official record. It is often used in the context of an abstract of a land title. Such an abstract will set forth all important actions which are relevant to the title, such as filings of liens and encumbrances, any and all conveyances, transfers, and assignments, and other facts relevant to the claimant's title. An abstract of title will also note the status of liens and encumbrances, showing whether they have been released or not.

Another type of abstract commonly referred to is an abstract of record. An abstract of record will set forth all proceedings in a case in order for an appellate court to review the history of the trial court actions and determine whether the issues presented for review on appeal were properly preserved in the lower court.