action <> proceedings

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Bigtime, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Bigtime

    Bigtime Senior Member

    The lawyers took legal action against the company.

    The lawyers took legal proceedings against the company.

    Does action and proceedings have the same meaning in this context?

  2. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    To this non-lawyer, they do.

    It's possible that there is a specialized legal meaning to one or the other, so a lawyer might see a difference between them.
  3. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    Maybe, but in AE one doesn't "take proceedings." One might institute or begin or commence "proceedings" against a company. One can take action, and the action can be "legal."

    If the lawyers are government prosecutors, the "proceedings" could be a criminal case or a lawsuit. If the lawyers are attorneys for private parties, then the "proceedings" must be a lawsuit.

    It would be best to specify, using "lawsuit" or "indictment" (in the case of a criminal prosecution) instead of the vague "proceedings," which makes you sound like you don't really know what is going on.
  4. Bevj

    Bevj Allegra Moderata

    Girona, Spain
    English (U.K.)
    From a BrE viewpoint I agree with Fabulist: lawyers take legal action or begin/commence/start proceedings.
    However, I see nothing wrong with using the word 'proceedings'. In BrE it is simply a 'blanket' word which is apt for any sort of legal action.
  5. Mdog

    Mdog New Member

    Title 5. Family and Juvenile Rules at the following link: , on page 1, the definition of proceeding and action are defined to be the following:

    “Action” is also known as a lawsuit, a case, or a demand brought in a court of law to defend or enforce a right, prevent or remedy a harm, or punish a crime. It includes all the proceedings in which a party requests orders that are available in the lawsuit.

    “Proceeding” is a court hearing in an action under the Family Code, including a hearing that relates to the dissolution or nullity of a marriage or domestic partnership, legal separation, custody and support of minor children, a parent and child relationship, adoptions, local child support agency actions under the Family Code, contempt proceedings relating to family law or local child support agency matters, and any action filed under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, Uniform Parentage Act, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Indian Child Welfare Act, or Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.

    Proceeding: Any legal filing, hearing, trial and/or judgment in the on-going conduct of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution. Collectively they are called "proceedings" as in "legal proceedings."

    Action: A case or lawsuit; a legal and formal demand for enforcement of one's rights against another party asserted in a court of justice.

    At the following link, "Action or Proceeding" - Adams on Contract Drafting, Adams on contract drafting, it explains “Action or Proceeding”.

    I hope this is helpful to you.

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