reformation (ref-<<schwa>>r-may-sh<<schwa>>n), n. An equitable remedy by which a court

will modify a written agreement to reflect the actual intent of the parties, usu. to correct fraud or

mutual mistake in the writing, such as an incomplete property description in a deed. • In cases of

mutual mistake, the actual intended agreement must usu. be established by clear and convincing

evidence. In cases of fraud, there must be clear evidence of what the agreement would have been

but for the fraud. See RECTIFICATION. [Cases: Reformation of Instruments 1. C.J.S.

Reformation of Instruments §§ 2–5, 12, 16.] — reform, vb.

“The standard explanation of reformation is that the parties had an actual agreement, and that

the writing does not reflect that agreement…. If the parties made a mistake about the premises of

their agreement, about some fact in the world outside their word-processing machines, reformation

is not a solution. The court cannot reform the contract because it cannot know what the parties

would have agreed to but for the mistake.” Douglas Laycock, Modern American Remedies 39 (3d

  1. 2002). [Blacks Law 8th]