Civil Procedure Dismissal Law and Legal Definition

Dismissal is the act of voluntarily ending a criminal prosecution or a lawsuit or one of its causes of action by one of the parties. It may also be a judge's ruling that a lawsuit or criminal charge is legally ended. Dismissal may occur by the act of a plaintiff upon settling the case. Such a dismissal may be dismissal with prejudice, meaning that the issues are decided and it can never be filed again, or dismissal without prejudice, leaving open the possibility of bringing the suit again.

Dismissal with leave generally means dismissal with permission to refile, usually so that te party may amend the pleadings. Dismissal without leave would deny the party the opoortunity to refile, such as to correct omissions or a lack of conformity to legal requirements.