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in civil law, a participant in a proceeding who has a legal interest in the outcome of the dispute between the plaintiff and defendant. Soviet law distinguishes two categories of third parties.
The first type of third party makes an independent claim to the subject matter of the dispute. Such a third party may intervene in a case to protect his rights or lawful interest by filing a suit against one or both of the parties, on the same ground of action as the original suit. For example, in a dispute concerning the division of an inheritance among heirs by operation of law, an heir under the will may intervene, filing a suit to have himself recognized as having rights to all or part of the property to be inherited. Such a third party possesses all the rights and duties of the plaintiff and defendant.
The second type of third party does not make an independent claim to the subject matter of the dispute. Such a third party in tervenes in the case on the side of the defendant or plaintiff. The third party may be joined in the case on his own initiative, or he may be brought in on the initiative of the court or by the petition of the plaintiff, defendant, or procurator. For example, in a suit brought by a citizen against a motor vehicle transport organization to receive compensation for damage caused by a motor vehicle, the driver of the vehicle may participate in the case in the capacity of a third party on the side of the defendant. If the claim of the victim against the organization is satisfied, the organization may file an indemnity action against the driver. A third party of this type has most of the rights and duties of a plaintiff or defendant.