Intent Law and Legal Definition

Intent is a determination to perform a particular act or to act in a particular manner. Intent is usually based on a specific reason. It is an aim, design or a resolution to use a certain means to reach an end.

Intent is a mental attitude with which an individual acts, and therefore it cannot ordinarily be directly proved but must be inferred from surrounding facts and circumstances. Intent refers only to the state of mind with which the act is done or omitted.

The legal importance of what an individual intended depends on the particular area of law. In contract law, for example, the intention of the parties to a written contract is fixed by the language of the contract document. In the law of torts, intent plays a key role in determining the civil liability of persons who commit harm.