Civil and criminal practice.
A discrepancy or disagreement between two instruments or two pleading allegations in the same cause, which should by law be entirely consonant. Thus, if the evidence adduced by the plaintiff does not agree with the allegations of his pleadings, it is a variance. A disagreement between the allegations and the proof in some matter which, in point of law, is essential to the charge or claim. The test of materiality of "variance" in an information is whether the pleading so fully and correctly informs a defendant of offense with which he is charged that, taking into account proof which is introduced against him, he is not misled in making his defense. People v. Guerrero, 22 Cal.2d 183, 137 P.2d 21, 24.
To constitute a fatal variance, there must be a real and tangible difference between the allegations in the pleading and the proof offered in its support. The difference must be substantial and material. It must be one that actually misleads the adverse party to his prejudice in maintaining his action or defense on the merits; or, in criminal cases, one which might mislead the defense or expose a defendant to being put twice in jeopardy for the same offense, as, e.g., when evidence offered at trial proves facts materially different from those alleged in the indictment. Gaither v. U.S., 413 F.2d 1061, 1071, 134 U.S.App.D.C. 154.
Stipulations to vary discovery procedures are governed by Fed.R. Civil P. 29. The assertion of "variance" or discrepancy between the pleadings and proof has essentially been eliminated in civil cases by Fed.R.Civil P. 15(b) which permits liberal amendment of the pleadings to conform to the evidence. This same rule is followed by most state courts.
In criminal cases, variances that do not affect the substantial rights of the accused will be disregarded.
See Fed.R.Crim.P. 7(c), (e), 52(a).
See also area variance
- error (harmless error)
In accounting, a variance is the difference between the actual and standard cost of such things as direct materials, direct labor, and overhead. An unfavorable variance generally means that the actual costs incurred exceeded the budgeted amounts.
Permission to depart from the literal requirements of a zoning ordinance by virtue of unique hardship due to special circumstances regarding person's property. It is in the nature of a waiver of the strict letter of the zoning law upon substantial compliance with it and without sacrificing its spirit and purpose. Rosedale-Skinker Imp. Ass'n v. Board of Adjustment of City of St. Louis, Mo., 425 S.W.2d 929, 937.
An authorization to a property owner to depart from literal requirements of zoning regulations in utilization of his property in cases in which strict enforcement of the zoning regulations would cause undue hardship. Daniel v. District of Columbia Bd. of Zoning Adjustment, D.C. App., 329 A.2d 773, 775.
A "use variance" is a variance permitting a use other than that permitted in particular district by zoning ordinance. Anderson v. Board of Appeals, Town of Chesapeake Beach, 22 Md.App. 28, 322 A.2d 220, 225

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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