21/04/16 “ACTION OR PROCEEDING”

e-legal lesson

It’s commonplace for drafters to use the phrase action or proceeding, as in any legal action or proceeding arising out of this agreement.

Is action the same as proceeding? Is this what we call a doublet?

Proceeding encompasses action. For example, Black’s Law Dictionary, quoting an 1899 source, notes that proceeding “is more comprehensive than the word ‘action,’” and 1A Corpus Juris Secundum Actions article 22 says “the term ‘proceeding’ is broader than the word ‘action.’”

So nothing is gained by using action or proceeding rather than simply proceeding.