Subordinate; aiding. A legal proceeding that is not the primary dispute but which aids the judgment rendered in or the outcome of the main action. A descriptive term that denotes a legal claim, the existence of which is dependent upon or reasonably linked to a main claim.
For example, a plaintiff wins a judgment for a specified sum of money against a defendant in a NEGLIGENCE action. The defendant refuses to pay the judgment. The plaintiff begins another proceeding for a writ of attachment so that the judgment will be satisfied by the sale of the defendant's property seized under the writ. The attachment proceeding is ancillary, or subordinate, to the negligence suit. An ancillary proceeding is sometimes called an ancillary suit or bill.