NONSUIT (Fr. non suit, he does not pursue), in law the name given to a judgment whereby an issue is determined against the plaintiff. It was a term peculiar to the English common-law courts before the Judicature Acts, and was simply the expression of the opinion of the court that, apart from the merits, the plaintiff's case was incomplete. It did not in any way act as a bar to his bringing another action for the same cause. It might be entered either at the wish of the plaintiff himself (to whom it was of course much more beneficial than judgment for the defendant) or by direction of the court against the will of the plaintiff. Although judgment of nonsuit still exists, it has, since the Judicature Acts, the same effect as a judgment on the merits, unless the court otherwise directs. This effect of a nonsuit was specially provided for by the rules of the Supreme Court of 1875.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)