Sua Sponte Law and Legal Definition

Sua sponte is a Latin term meaning "of one's own accord." It refers to when the court addresses an issue that has not been presented for consideration by the litigants. A common situation is when the court dismisses an action, for example by determining that jurisdiction is not proper even though both parties have agreed to appear in the court.

In another example, a court might declare a mistrial even though no motion has been made by any of the parties to the case. Also, a court may dismiss an appeal sua sponte. If there is a defect in an appeal, they court may sua sponte dismiss that appeal.