Summary Process Law and Legal Definition

Summary process refers to an immediate process, issuing and taking effect without intermediate applications or delays. It is a legal procedure used for enforcing a right that takes effect faster and more efficiently than ordinary methods. The term summary process is also used to refer to the legal documents used to achieve an expeditious resolution of the controversy. For example, court order.

Summary process may not be invoked by the plaintiff as of right. It is can be used only when specifically permitted by law because the summary process deprives a defendant of all the time and legal defenses that are usually available. For example, some states provide for a special procedure for evicting a tenant without the normal delays of a lawsuit; some states allow summary process for resolving incidental issues that arise between the parties during the pendency of a lawsuit.