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a fortiori
(ah-for-she-ory) prep. Latin for "with even stronger reason," whi...
a priori assumption
(ah-pree-ory) n. from Latin, an assumption that is true without f...
a.k.a.
prep. abbreviation for "also known as" when someone uses differen...
ab initio
prep. lawyer Latin for "from the start," as "it was legal ab init...
abandon
v. to intentionally and permanently give up, surrender, leave, de...
abandoned property
n. property left behind (often by a tenant) intentionally and per...
abandonment
n. the act of intentionally and permanently giving up, surrenderi...
abate
v. to do away with a problem, such as a public or private nuisanc...
abatement
n. 1) the removal of a problem which is against public or private...
abduction
n. the criminal taking away of a person by persuasion (convincing...
abet
v. to help someone commit a crime, including helping them escape ...
abeyance
1) n. when the owner- ship of property has not been determined. E...
able-bodied
adj. physically capable of working at a job or in the military. I...
abortion
n. the termination of pregnancy by various means, including medic...
abrogate
v. to annul or repeal a law or pass legislation that contradicts ...
abscond
v. 1) traditionally to leave a jurisdiction (where the court, a p...
absolute
adj. complete, and without condition.
abstention doctrine
n. when the Supreme Court refuses to exercise its federal constit...
abstract
n. in general, a summary of a record or document, such as an abst...
abstract of judgment
n. a written summary of a judgment which states how much money th...
abstract of title
n. the written report on a title search which shows the history o...
abuse of discretion
n. a polite way of saying a trial judge has made such a bad mista...
abuse of process
n. the use of legal process by illegal, malicious, or perverted m...
abut
v. when two parcels of real property touch each other.
acceleration
n. 1) speeding up the time when there is vesting (absolute owners...
acceleration clause
n. a provision in a contract or promissory note that if some spec...
accept
v. to receive something with approval and intention to keep it. T...
acceptance
n. 1) receiving something from another with the intent to keep it...
acceptance of service
n. agreement by a defendant (or his/her attorney) in a legal acti...
access
n. 1) in real estate the right and ability to get to the property...
accessory
n. a second-string player who helps in the commission of a crime ...
accommodation
n. 1) a favor done without compensation (pay or consideration), s...
accomplice
n. someone who assists in the commission of a crime and, unlike a...
accord and satisfaction
n. an agreement to accept less than is legally due in order to wr...
account stated
n. a statement between a creditor or the person to whom money is ...
accounts payable
n. bills that are owed.
accounts receivable
n. the amounts of money due or owed to a business or professional...
accretion
n. 1) in real estate, the increase of the actual land on a stream...
accrue
v. 1) growing or adding to, such as interest on a debt or investm...
accusation
n. 1) in legal terms accusation means officially charging someone...
accused
n. a person charged with a crime.
acknowledge
v. 1) generally to admit something, whether bad, good or indiffer...
acknowledgment
n. the section at the end of a document where a notary public ver...
acquit
v. what a jury or judge sitting without a jury does at the end of...
acquittal
n. what an accused criminal defendant receives if he/she is found...
act
1) n. in general, any action by a person. 2) n. a statutory plan ...
act of God
n. a natural catastrophe which no one can prevent such as an eart...
action
n. a lawsuit in which one party (or parties) sues another.
actionable
adj. when enough facts or circumstances exist to meet the legal r...
actual controversy
n. a true legal dispute which leads to a genuine lawsuit rather t...
actual notice
n. having been informed directly of something or having seen it o...
ad hoc
adj. Latin shorthand meaning "for this purpose only." Thus, an ad...
ad litem
adj. legal Latin meaning "for the purposes of the legal action on...
ad seriatim
adj. (add sear-ee-ah-tim) Latin for "one after another".
ad valorem
adj. Latin for "based on value," which applies to property taxes ...
addendum
n. an addition to a completed written document. Most commonly thi...
adeem
v. to revoke a gift made in a will by destroying, selling or givi...
ademption
n. the act of adeeming, which is revoking (getting rid of) a gift...
adequate remedy
n. a remedy (money or performance) awarded by a court or through ...
adhesion contract
n.(contract of adhesion) a contract (often a signed form) so imba...
adjourn
v. the final closing of a meeting, such as a convention, a meetin...
adjudication
n. the act of giving a judicial ruling such as a judgment or decr...
adjusted basis
n. in accounting, the original cost of an asset adjusted for cost...
adjuster
n. an employee (usually a non-lawyer) of an insurance company or ...
administer
v. 1) to conduct the duties of a job or position. 2) particularly...
administrative hearing
n. a hearing before any governmental agency or before an administ...
administrative law
n. the procedures created by administrative agencies (governmenta...
administrative law judge
n. a professional hearing officer who works for the government to...
Administrative Procedure Act
n. the federal act which established the rules and regulations fo...
administrator
n. the person appointed by the court to handle the estate of some...
admiralty
n. concerning activities which occur at sea, including on small b...
admissible evidence
n. evidence which the trial judge finds is useful in helping the ...
admission
n. a statement made by a party to a lawsuit or a criminal defenda...
admission against interest
n. an admission of the truth of a fact by any person, but especia...
admission of evidence
n. a judge's acceptance of evidence in a trial.
admission of guilt
n. a statement by someone accused of a crime that he/she committe...
admission to bail
n. an order of a court in a criminal case allowing an accused def...
admit
v. 1) to state something is true in answering a complaint filed i...
adopt
v. 1) to take on the relationship of parent to child of another p...
adoption
n. the taking of a child into one's family, creating a parent to ...
adultery
n. consensual sexual relations when one of the participants is le...
advance
n. a payment which is made before it is legally due, such as befo...
advancement
n. a gift made by a person to one of his or her children or heirs...
adverse
adj. clearly contrary, such as an adverse party being the one sui...
adverse interest
n. a right or concern that is contrary to the interest or claim o...
adverse party
n. the opposite side in a lawsuit. Sometimes when there are numer...
adverse possession
n. a means to acquire title to land through obvious occupancy of ...
adverse witness
n. a witness in a trial who is found by the judge to be adverse t...
advisory opinion
n. an opinion stated by a judge or a court upon the request of a ...
affiant
n. a person who signs an affidavit and swears to its truth before...
affidavit
n. 1) any written document in which the signer swears under oath ...
affirm
v. what an appeals court does if it agrees with and confirms a lo...
affirmative action
n. the process of a business or governmental agency in which it g...
affirmative defense
n. part of an answer to a charge or complaint in which a defendan...
affix
v. 1) to attach something to real estate in a permanent way, incl...
after-acquired property
n. 1) personal or real property acquired by a debtor after he/she...
after-acquired title
n. title to property acquired after the owner attempts to sell or...
after-discovered evidence
n. evidence found by a losing party after a trial has been comple...
age discrimination
n. an employer's unfair treatment of a current or potential emplo...
age of consent
n.
agency
n. the relationship of a person (called the agent) who acts on be...
agent
n. a person who is authorized to act for another (the agent's pri...
agent for acceptance of service
n. states require that a corporation name an actual person (usual...
aggravated assault
n. the crime of physically attacking another person which results...
agreed statement
n. occasionally the two parties on opposite sides of a lawsuit or...
agreement
1) n. any meeting of the minds, even without legal obligation. 2)...
aid and abet
v. help commit a crime. A lawyer redundancy since abet means aid,...
aleatory
adj. uncertain; usually applied to insurance contracts in which p...
alias
n. 1) a name used other than the given name of a person or refere...
alibi
n. an excuse used by a person accused or suspected of a crime. In...
alien
1) n. a person who is not a citizen of the country. 2) in the Uni...
alienation
n. the transfer of title to real property, voluntarily and comple...
alienation of affections
n. convincing a wife to leave her husband, often for another man,...
alimony
n. support paid by one ex-spouse to the other as ordered by a cou...
aliquot:
(al-ee-kwoh) adj. a definite fractional share, usually applied wh...
all the estate I own
n. a phrase from a poorly drafted will which means the possession...
allegation
n. a statement of claimed fact contained in a complaint (a writte...
allege
v. to claim a fact is true, commonly in a complaint which is file...
alluvion
n. an increase in one's land from soil deposited on the shoreline...
alter ego
n. a corporation, organization or other entity set up to provide ...
alternative pleading
n. a legal fiction in which a party to a lawsuit or a defendant c...
ambiguity
n. when language has more than one meaning. If the ambiguity is o...
amend
v. to alter or change by adding, subtracting, or substituting. On...
amended complaint
n. what results when the party suing (plaintiff or petitioner) ch...
amended pleading
n. a changed written pleading in a lawsuit, including complaint o...
American Bar Association
n. the largest organization of American lawyers, which has no off...
American Civil Liberties Union
n. a membership organization founded in 1920 to defend and protec...
American Depository Receipt
n. called in the banking trade an ADR, it is a receipt issued by ...
amicus curiae
n. Latin for "friend of the court," a party or an organization in...
amnesty
n. a blanket abolition of an offense by the government, with the ...
amortization
n. a periodic payment plan to pay a debt in which the interest an...
ancillary administration
n. administration of an estate's assets in another state. An "anc...
ancillary jurisdiction
n. a term used in federal courts when the court decides matters n...
and
conj. this little word is important in law, particularly when com...
annuity
n. 1) an annual sum paid from a policy or gift. 2) short for a pu...
answer
n. in law, a written pleading filed by a defendant to respond to ...
antenuptial (prenuptial) agreement
n. a written contract between two people who are about to marry, ...
anticipatory breach
n. when a party to a contract repudiates (reneges on) his/her obl...
antitrust laws
n. acts adopted by Congress to outlaw or restrict business practi...
apparent authority
n. the appearance of being the agent of another (employer or prin...
appeal
1) v. to ask a higher court to reverse the decision of a trial co...
appear
v. for a party or an attorney to show up in court.
appearance
n. the act of a party or an attorney showing up in court. Once it...
appellant
n. the party who appeals a trial court decision he/she/it has los...
appellate court
n. a court of appeals which hears appeals from lower court decisi...
appellee
n. in some jurisdictions the name used for the party who has won ...
appraise
v. to professionally evaluate the value of property includ- ing r...
appraiser
n. a professional who makes appraisals of the value of property. ...
appreciate
v. to increase in value over a period of time through the natural...
appreciation
n. the increase in value through the natural course of events as ...
approach
v. short for "approach the bench," as in "may I approach, your ho...
approach the bench
v. an attorney's movement from the counsel table to the front of ...
approach the witness
v. a request by an attorney to the judge for permission to go up ...
appurtenant
adj. pertaining to something that attaches. In real property law ...
arbiter
n. in some jurisdictions the name for a referee appointed by the ...
arbitrary
adj. not supported by fair or substantial cause or reason. Most o...
arbitration
n. a mini-trial, which may be for a lawsuit ready to go to trial,...
arbitrator
n. one who conducts an arbitration, and serves as a judge who con...
arguendo
prep. Latin meaning "for the sake of argument," used by lawyers i...
argumentative
adj. the characterization of a question asked by the opposing att...
arm's length
adj. the description of an agreement made by two parties freely a...
arraign
v. to bring a criminal defendant before the court, at which time ...
arraignment
n. the hearing in which a person charged with a crime is arraigne...
arrears
n. money not paid when due, usually the sum of a series of unpaid...
arrest
v. 1) to take or hold a suspected criminal with legal authority, ...
arrest warrant
n. a judge's order to law enforcement officers to arrest and brin...
arson
n. the felony crime of intentionally burning a house or other bui...
article
n. a paragraph or section of any writing such as each portion of ...
articles of impeachment
n. the charges brought (filed) to impeach a public official. In r...
articles of incorporation
n. the basic charter of a corporation which spells out the name, ...
as is
adj. description of a condition in a sales contract in which the ...
assault
1) v. the threat or attempt to strike another, whether successful...
assault and battery
n. the combination of the two crimes of threat (assault) and actu...
assess
v. to set a value on property, usually for the purpose of calcula...
asset
n. generally any item of property that has monetary value, includ...
assign
1) v. to transfer to another person any asset such as real proper...
assigned risk
n. a person whose official driving record (accidents and tickets)...
assignee
n. a person to whom property is transferred by sale or gift, part...
assignment
n. the act of transferring an interest in property or some right ...
assignment for benefit of creditors
n. a method used for a debtor to work out a payment schedule to h...
Associate Justice
n. a member of the U.S. Supreme Court appointed by the President ...
association
n. any group of people who have joined together for a particular ...
assume
v. to take over the liability for a debt on a promissory note, wh...
assumption
n. the act of taking over a debt as part of payment for property ...
assumption of risk
n. 1) taking a chance in a potentially dangerous situation. This ...
assured
n. the person or entity that is insured, often found in insurance...
at will employment
n. a provision found in many employment contracts which suggest t...
attached
adj. 1) referring to two buildings which are connected, or equipm...
attachment
n. the seizing of money or property prior to getting a judgment i...
attempt
v. and n. to actually try to commit a crime and have the ability ...
attest
v. 1) to confirm (usually in writing) that a document is genuine....
attestation
n. the act of witnessing a signature for the purpose of declaring...
attorney
n. 1) an agent or someone authorized to act for another. 2) a per...
attorney at law (or attorney-at-law)
n. (or attorney-at-law) a slightly fancier way of saying attorney...
Attorney General
n. in each state and the federal government the highest ranking l...
attorney of record
n. the attorney who has appeared in court and/or signed pleadings...
attorney's advertising
n. the commercials which appear on television or crowd the yellow...
attorney's fee
n. the payment for legal services. It can take several forms 1) h...
attorney's work product
n. written materials, charts, notes of conversations and investig...
attorney-client privilege
n. the requirement that an attorney may not reveal communications...
attorney-in-fact
n. someone specifically named by another through a written "power...
attractive nuisance doctrine
n. a legal doctrine which makes a person negligent for leaving a ...
audit
n. an examination by a trained accountant of the financial record...
auditor
n. an accountant who conducts an audit to verify the accuracy of ...
authorities
n. 1) previous decisions by courts of appeal which provide legal ...
authority
n. permission, a right coupled with the power to do an act or ord...
authorize
v. to officially empower someone to act.
avulsion
n. the change in the border of two properties due to a sudden cha...
award
1) n. the decision of an arbitrator or commissioner (or any non-j...

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications

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