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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...
ab initio
prep. lawyer Latin for "from the start," as "it was legal ab init...
abandoned property
n. property left behind (often by a tenant) intentionally and per...
abstention doctrine
n. when the Supreme Court refuses to exercise its federal constit...
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...
acceleration clause
n. a provision in a contract or promissory note that if some spec...
acceptance of service
n. agreement by a defendant (or his/her attorney) in a legal acti...
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...
act of God
n. a natural catastrophe which no one can prevent such as an eart...
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 ...
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...
adjusted basis
n. in accounting, the original cost of an asset adjusted for cost...
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...
admissible evidence
n. evidence which the trial judge finds is useful in helping the ...
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...
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 ...
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...
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.
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...
aid and abet
v. help commit a crime. A lawyer redundancy since abet means aid,...
alienation of affections
n. convincing a wife to leave her husband, often for another man,...
all the estate I own
n. a phrase from a poorly drafted will which means the possession...
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...
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...
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...
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...
appellate court
n. a court of appeals which hears appeals from lower court decisi...
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 ...
arm's length
adj. the description of an agreement made by two parties freely a...
arrest warrant
n. a judge's order to law enforcement officers to arrest and brin...
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 and battery
n. the combination of the two crimes of threat (assault) and actu...
assigned risk
n. a person whose official driving record (accidents and tickets)...
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 ...
assumption of risk
n. 1) taking a chance in a potentially dangerous situation. This ...
at will employment
n. a provision found in many employment contracts which suggest t...
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...
attractive nuisance doctrine
n. a legal doctrine which makes a person negligent for leaving a ...
Bachelor of Laws
n. the degree in law from a law school, abbreviated to LLB, which...
back-to-back life sentences
n. slang for consecutive life terms imposed by a judge when there...
bad debt
n. an uncollectible debt. The problem is to determine when a debt...
bad faith
1) n. intentional dishonest act by not fulfilling legal or contra...
bail bond
n. a bond provided by an insurance company through a bail bondsma...
bail bondsman
n. a professional agent for an insurance company who specializes ...
bait and switch
n. a dishonest sales practice in which a business advertises a ba...
balance due
n. the amount of a debt still owed on an account or the principal...
balance sheet
n. the statement of the assets and the liabilities (amounts owed)...
bankruptcy court
n. the specialized federal court in which bankruptcy matters unde...
bankruptcy proceedings
n. the bankruptcy procedure is: a) filing a petition (voluntary o...
bar association
n. an organization of lawyers. There are two types, one of which ...
bar examination
n. the examination given in each state by either the highest cour...
beach bum trust provision
n. a requirement in a trust that a beneficiary can only receive p...
bearer paper
n. negotiable instrument (e.g. a bond) which is payable to whoeve...
bench warrant
n. a warrant issued by a judge, often to command someone to appea...
beneficial interest
n. the right of a party to some profit, distribution, or benefit ...
beneficial use
n. the right to enjoy the use of something (particularly such ple...
benefit of counsel
n. having the opportunity to have an attorney and legal advice in...
best evidence rule
n. the legal doctrine that an original piece of evidence, particu...
beyond a reasonable doubt
adj. part of jury instructions in all criminal trials, in which t...
bilateral contract
n. an agreement in which the parties exchange promises for each t...
bill of attainder
n. a legislative act which declares a named person guilty of a cr...
bill of exchange
n. a writing by a party (maker or drawer) ordering another (payor...
bill of lading
n. a receipt obtained by the shipper of goods from the carrier (t...
bill of particulars
n. a written itemization of claims which a defendant in a lawsuit...
Bill of Rights
n. the first ten amendments to the federal Constitution demanded ...
bill of sale
n. a written statement attesting to the transfer (sale) of goods,...
blank endorsement
n. endorsement of a check or other negotiable paper without namin...
blue laws
n. state or local laws which prohibit certain activities, particu...
blue ribbon jury
n. a jury selected from prominent, well-educated citizens, someti...
blue sky laws
n. laws intended to protect the public from purchasing stock in f...
board of directors
n. the policy managers of a corporation or organization elected b...
boiler room
n. a telephone bank operation in which fast-talking telemarketers...
bona fide
adj. Latin for "good faith," it signifies honesty, the "real thin...
bona fide purchaser
n. commonly called BFP in legal and banking circles; a person who...
booby trap
n. a device set up to be triggered to harm or kill anyone enterin...
book account
n. an account of a customer kept in a business ledger of debits a...
book value
n. a determination of the value of a corporation's stock by addin...
breach of contract
n. failing to perform any term of a contract, written or oral, wi...
breach of promise
n. historically, the dumping of a female fiancee by her intended ...
breach of the peace
n. any act which disturbs the public or even one person. It can i...
breach of trust
n. 1) any act which is in violation of the duties of a trustee or...
breach of warranty
n. determination that a statement as to title of property, includ...
breaking and entering
n. 1) the criminal act of entering a residence or other enclosed ...
brought to trial
v. the act of actually beginning a trial, usually signaled by swe...
bucket shop
n. an unofficial and usually illegal betting operation in which t...
building and loan
n. another name for savings and loan association. As the name imp...
bulk sale
n. the sale of all or a large part of a merchant's stock as well ...
bulk sales acts
n. state laws (spelled out in the Uniform Commercial Code adopted...
bulk transfer
bulk sale
burden of proof
n. the requirement that the plaintiff (the party bringing a civil...
business invitee
n. a person entering commercial premises for the purpose of doing...
but for rule
n. one of several tests to determine if a defendant is responsibl...
buy-sell agreement
n. a contract among the owners of a business which provides terms...
calendar call
n. the hearing at which a case is set for trial.
canon law
n. laws and regulations over ecclesiastical (church) matters deve...
capital account
n. the record which lists all basic assets of a business, not inc...
capital assets
n. equipment, property, and funds owned by a business.
capital expenditure
n. payment by a business for basic assets such as property, fixtu...
capital gains
n. the difference between the sales price and the original cost (...
capital investment
capital expenditure
capital offense
n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the death penalty, ...
capital punishment
n. execution (death) for a capital offense. The U.S. Supreme Cour...
capital stock
n. the original amount paid by investors into a corporation for i...
capitalized value
n. anticipated earnings which are discounted (given a lower value...
carnal knowledge
n. from Latin carnalis for "fleshly:" sexual intercourse between ...
carrying for hire
n. the act of transporting goods or individuals for a fee. It is ...
carrying on business
v. pursuing a particular occupation on a continuous and substanti...
case law
n. reported decisions of appeals courts and other courts which ma...
case of first impression
n. a case in which a question of interpretation of law is present...
case system
n. the method of studying law generally used in American law scho...
cashier's check
n. a check issued by a bank on its own account for the amount pai...
casualty loss
n. in taxation, loss due to damage which qualifies for a casualty...
cause of action
n. the basis of a lawsuit founded on legal grounds and alleged fa...
caveat emptor
(kah-vee-ott emptor) Latin for "let the buyer beware." The basic ...
cease and desist order
n. an order of a court or government agency to a person, business...
certificate of deposit (CD)
n. a document issued by a bank in return for a deposit of money w...
certificate of incorporation
n. document which some states issue to prove a corporation's exis...
certificate of title
n. generally, the title document for a motor vehicle issued by th...
certified check
n. a check issued by a bank which certifies that the maker of the...
cestui que trust
n. (properly pronounced ses-tee kay, but lawyers popularly pronou...
cestui que use
(pronounced ses-tee kay use or setty kay use) n. an old-fashioned...
chain of title
n. the succession of title ownership to real property from the pr...
challenge for cause
n. a request that a prospective juror be dismissed because there ...
change of circumstances
n. the principal reason for a court modifying (amending) an exist...
character witness
n. a person who testifies in a trial on behalf of a person (usual...
charitable contribution
n. in taxation, a contribution to an organization which is offici...
charitable remainder trust (Charitable Remainder Irrevocable Unitrust)
n. a form of trust in which the donor (trustor or settlor) places...
chattel mortgage
n. an outmoded written document which made a chattel (tangible pe...
Chief Justice
n. the presiding judge of any State Supreme Court and the U.S. Su...
child custody
n. a court's determination of which parent, relative or other adu...
child support
n. court-ordered funds to be paid by one parent to the custodial ...
circuit courts
n. a movable court in which the judge holds court sessions at sev...
circumstantial evidence
n. evidence in a trial which is not directly from an eyewitness o...
civil action
n. any lawsuit relating to civil matters and not criminal prosecu...
civil calendar
n. the list of lawsuits (cases) that are approaching trial in any...
civil code
n. in many states, the name for the collection of statutes and la...
civil law
n. 1) a body of laws and legal concepts which come down from old ...
civil liability
n. potential responsibility for payment of damages or other court...
civil liberties
n. rights or freedoms given to the people by the First Amendment ...
civil penalties
n. fines or surcharges imposed by a governmental agency to enforc...
civil procedure
n. the complex and often confusing body of rules and regulations ...
civil rights
n. those rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, the 13th and 14...
claim against a governmental agency
n. any time one believes he/she has a right to payment for damage...
claim against an estate
n. upon the death of a person and beginning of probate (filing of...
claim in bankruptcy
n. the written claim filed by persons or businesses owed money (c...
class action
n. a lawsuit filed by one or more people on behalf of themselves ...
clean hands doctrine
n. a rule of law that a person coming to court with a lawsuit or ...
clear and convincing evidence
n. evidence that proves a matter by the "preponderance of evidenc...
clear and present danger
n. the doctrine established in an opinion written by Oliver Wende...
clear title
n. holding ownership of real property without any claims by other...
close corporation
n. a corporation which is permitted by state law to operate more ...
closed shop
n. a business that will hire only union members by choice or by a...
closing argument
n. the final argument by an attorney on behalf of his/her client ...
cloud on title (cloud)
n. an actual or apparent outstanding claim on the title to real p...
Code of Professional Responsibility
n. a set of rules governing the ethical conduct of attorneys in t...
collateral attack
n. a legal action to challenge a ruling in another case. For exam...
collateral descendant
n. a relative descended from a brother or sister of an ancestor, ...
collateral estoppel
n. the situation in which a judgment in one case prevents (estops...
collusive action
n. a lawsuit brought by parties pretending to be adversaries in o...
color of law
n. the appearance of an act being performed based upon legal righ...
color of title
n. the appearance of having title to personal or real property by...
commencement of action
n. an action (a lawsuit) commences (begins officially) when the p...
commercial frustration
n. an unforeseen uncontrollable event which occurs after a writte...
commercial law
n. all the law which applies to the rights, relations and conduct...
common area
n. in condominium and some cooperative housing projects, the area...
common carrier
n. an individual, a company or a public utility (like municipal b...
common counts
n. claims for debt alleged in a lawsuit (included in the complain...
common law
n. the traditional unwritten law of England, based on custom and ...
common property
n. 1) real property owned by "tenants in common," who each have a...
common stock
n. stock in a corporation in which dividends (payouts) are calcul...
common-law marriage
n. an agreement between a man and woman to live together as husba...
community property
n. property and profits received by a husband and wife during the...
commute a sentence
v.
comparative negligence
n. a rule of law applied in accident cases to determine responsib...
compensatory damages
n. damages recovered in payment for actual injury or economic los...
compos mentis
n. (com-pose-men-tis) Latin for "having a sound mind."
compound interest
n. payment of interest upon principal and previously accumulated ...
compound question
n. the combination of more than one question into what seems to b...
compounding a felony
n. when a person injured by a felony (being shot, having one's bu...
compromise verdict
n. a decision made by a jury in which the jurors split the differ...
concealed weapon
n. a weapon, particularly a handgun, which is kept hidden on one'...
conclusion of fact
n. in a trial, the final result of an analysis of the facts prese...
conclusion of law
n. a judge's final decision on a question of law which has been r...
concurrent sentences
n. sentences for more than one crime which are to be served at on...
condemnation action
n. a lawsuit brought by a public agency to acquire private proper...
condition precedent
n. 1) in a contract, an event which must take place before a part...
condition subsequent
n. 1) in a contract, a happening which terminates the duty of a p...
conditional bequest
n. in a will, a gift which will take place only if a particular e...
conditional sale
n. a sale of property or goods which will be completed if certain...
confession and avoidance
n. when a defendant admits the allegations in a complaint against...
confession of judgment
n. a written agreement in which the defendant in a lawsuit admits...
confidence game
n. the obtaining of money from others through trick or swindle, g...
confidential communication
n. certain written communications which can be kept confidential ...
confidential relation
n. a relationship in which one person has confidence in and relie...
conflict of interest
n. a situation in which a person has a duty to more than one pers...
conflict of law
n. a situation in which both state and federal laws or courts, or...
confusingly similar
adj. in the law of trademarks, when a trademark, logo or business...
conjugal rights
n. a spouse's so-called "rights" to the comforts and companionshi...
conscientious objector
n. a person who refuses to serve in the military due to religious...
conscious parallelism
n. an undiscussed imitation by a business of a competitor's actio...
consent decree
n. an order of a judge based upon an agreement, almost always put...
consent judgment
n. a judgment issued by a judge based on an agreement between the...
consequential damages
n. damages claimed and/or awarded in a lawsuit which were caused ...
constitutional rights
n. rights given or reserved to the people by the U.S. Constitutio...
constructive eviction
n. when the landlord does not go through a legal eviction of a te...
constructive fraud
n. when the circumstances show that someone's actions give him/he...
constructive notice
n. a fiction that a person got notice even though actual notice w...
constructive possession
n. when a person does not have actual possession, but has the pow...
constructive trust
n. when a person has title to property and/or takes possession of...
consumer protection laws
n. almost all states and the federal government have enacted laws...
contemplation of death
n. the anticipation of death in a relatively short time due to ag...
contempt of court
n. there are essentially two types of contempt: a) being rude, di...
contingent beneficiary
n. a person or entity named to receive a gift under the terms of ...
contingent fee
n. a fee to a lawyer which will be due and payable only if there ...
contingent interest
n. an interest in real property which, according to the deed (or ...
contingent remainder
n. an interest, particularly in real estate property, which will ...
continuing objection
n. an objection to certain questions or testimony during a trial ...
continuing trespass
n. the repeat-ed unauthorized use of anoth- er's real property, a...
contract of adhesion
n.
contributory negligence
n. a doctrine of common law that if a person was injured in part ...
controlled substance
n. a drug which has been declared by federal or state law to be i...
controlling law
n. the laws of the state which will be relied upon in interpretin...
cooperative housing
n. an arrangement in which an association or corporation owns a g...
cop a plea
n. slang for a "plea bargain" in which an accused defendant in a ...
corporate opportunity
n. a business opportunity which becomes known to a corporate offi...
corpus delicti
n. (corpus dee-lick-tie) Latin for the substantial fact that a cr...
corpus juris
n. the body of the law, meaning a compendium of all laws, cases a...
corroborating evidence
n. evidence which strengthens, adds to, or confirms already exist...
cost bill
n. a list of claimed court costs submitted by the prevailing (win...
cost of completion
n. the amount of money (damages) required to complete performance...
counter offer
n. an offer made in response to a previous offer by the other par...
course of employment
adj. actively involved in a person's employment at a particular t...
court calendar
n. the list of matters to be heard or set for trial or hearing by...
court costs
n. fees for expenses that the courts pass on to attorneys, who th...
court docket
n.
court of appeals
n. any court (state or federal) which hears appeals from judgment...
Court of Customs and Patent Appeals
n. a federal court established (1929) to hear appeals from decisi...
court of equity
n. originally in English common law and in several states there w...
court of law
n. any tribunal within a judicial system. Under English common la...
court trial
("non-jury trial"): a trial with a judge but no jury.
covenant not to compete
n. a common provision in a contract for sale of a business in whi...
covenant that runs with the land
n. a promise contained in a deed to land or real estate which is ...
covenants, conditions and restrictions
n. commonly called "CC and Rs," these are written rules, limitati...
credible witness
n. a witness whose testimony is more than likely to be true based...
creditor's claim
n. a claim required to be filed in writing, in a proper form by a...
creditor's rights
n. the field of law dealing with the legal means and procedures t...
crime against nature
n. an oldfashioned term for sodomy (anal sexual intercourse), whi...
crime of passion
n. a defendant's excuse for committing a crime due to sudden ange...
criminal attorney
n. a popular term for an attorney who specializes in defending pe...
criminal calendar
n. the list of criminal cases to be called in court on a particul...
criminal justice
n. a generic term for the procedure by which criminal conduct is ...
criminal law
n. those statutes dealing with crimes against the public and memb...
cruel and unusual punishment
n. governmental penalties against convicted criminal defendants w...
cruelty to animals
n. the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death on a...
cumis counsel
n. an attorney employed by a defendant in a lawsuit when there is...
cumulative sentence
n. when a criminal defendant has been found guilty of more than o...
cumulative voting
n. in corporations, a system of voting by shareholders for direct...
Customs Court
n. a federal court established (1926) to hear appeals from decisi...
cut a check
v. to write (prepare) and sign a check.
cy pres doctrine
n. (see-pray doctrine) from French, meaning "as close as possible...
dangerous weapon
n. any gun, knife, sword, crossbow, slingshot or other weapon whi...
date rape
n. forcible sexual intercourse by a male acquaintance of a woman,...
day in court
n. popular term for everyone's opportunity to bring a lawsuit or ...
de facto
adj. Latin for "in fact." Often used in place of "actual" to show...
de facto corporation
n. a company which operates as if it were a corporation although ...
de jure
adj. Latin for "lawful," as distinguished from de facto (actual).
de jure corporation
n. a corporation in good standing under the law, as compared to a...
de minimis
adj. (dee-minnie-miss) Latin for "of minimum importance" or "trif...
de novo
adj. Latin for "anew," which means starting over, as in a trial d...
deadly weapon
n. any weapon which can kill. This includes not only weapons whic...
death penalty
n. the sentence of execution for murder and some other capital cr...
death row
n. nickname for that portion of a prison in which prisoners are h...
debtor in possession
n. in bankruptcy proceedings when a debtor has filed for the righ...
declaration of mailing
n. a form stating that a particular document has been mailed to a...
declaration of trust
n. the document signed by a trustor (settlor) creating a trust in...
declaratory judgment
n. a judgment of a court which determines the rights of parties w...
declaratory relief
n. a judge's determination (called a "declaratory judgment") of t...
deed of trust
n. a document which pledges real property to secure a loan, used ...
default judgment
n. if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to a complaint in...
defective title
n. an apparent title to real property which fails because a claim...
defense attorney
n. 1) the attorney representing the defendant in a lawsuit or cri...
deficiency judgment
n. a judgment for an amount not covered by the value of security ...
degree of kinship
n. the level of relationship between two persons related by blood...
delayed exchange
n. an exchange of property to put off capital gain taxes, in whic...
demand note
n. a promissory note which is payable any time the holder of the ...
demonstrative evidence
n. actual objects, pictures, models and other devices which are s...
depreciation reserve
n. a business fund in which the probable replacement cost of equi...
derivative action
n. a lawsuit brought by a corporation shareholder against the dir...
descent and distribution
n. the system of laws which determine who will inherit and divide...
diminished capacity
n. essentially a psychological term which has found its way into ...
diminution in value
n. in the event of a breach of contract, the decrease in value of...
direct and proximate cause
n. the immediate reason damage was caused by an act or omission (...
direct evidence
n. real, tangible or clear evidence of a fact, happening or thing...
direct examination
n. the first questioning of a witness during a trial or depositio...
directed verdict
n. a verdict by a jury based on the specific direction by a trial...
discharge in bankruptcy
n. an order given by the bankruptcy judge, at the conclusion of a...
disjunctive allegations
n. the attempt to claim in a civil lawsuit that one thing "or" an...
dismissal with prejudice
n.
dismissal without prejudice
n.
disorderly conduct
n. 1) actions that disturb others. 2) minor criminal offenses, su...
disorderly house
n. 1) polite term for house of prostitution. 2) place of illegal ...
disposing mind and memory
n. the mental ability to understand in general what one possesses...
dissenting opinion
n.
dissolution of corporation
n. termination of a corporation, either a) voluntarily by resolut...
District Attorney (D.A.)
n. an elected official of a county or a designated district with ...
district court
n. 1) in the federal court system, a trial court for federal case...
disturbing the peace
n. upsetting the quiet and good order particularly through loud n...
diversity of citizenship
n. when opposing parties in a lawsuit are citizens of different s...
documentary evidence
n. any document (paper) which is presented and allowed as evidenc...
doing business
v. carrying on the normal activities of a corporation on a regula...
domestic partners
n. unmarried couples, including homosexuals, living together in l...
domestic relations
n. a polite term for the legal field of divorce, dissolution, ann...
domestic violence
n. the continuing crime and problem of the physical beating of a ...
dominant estate
n. in real estate law, the property retained when the owner split...
dominant tenement
n.
donative intent
n. conscious desire to make a gift, as distinguished from giving ...
double jeopardy
n. placing someone on trial a second time for an offense for whic...
double taxation
n. taxation of the same property for the same purpose twice in on...
dram shop rule
n. a statute (Dram Shop Act) or case law in 38 states which makes...
driving under the influence (DUI)
n. commonly called "drunk driving," it refers to operating a moto...
driving while intoxicated
n.
drop dead date
n. a provision in a contract or a court order which sets the last...
due and owing
adj.
due care
n. the conduct that a reasonable man or woman will exercise in a ...
due process of law
n. a fundamental principle of fairness in all legal matters, both...
due, owing and unpaid
adj.
duty of care
n. a requirement that a person act toward others and the public w...
dying declaration
n. the statement of a mortally injured person who is aware he/she...
earnest payment
n. a deposit paid to demonstrate commitment and to bind a contrac...
ejusdem generis
(eh-youse-dem generous) v adj. Latin for "of the same kind," used...
elder law
n. a specialty in legal practice, covering estate planning, wills...
election of remedies
n. an outmoded requirement that if a plaintiff (party filing suit...
election under the will
n. in those states which have statutes which give a widow a parti...
eminent domain
n. the power of a governmental entity (federal, state, county or ...
emotional distress
n. an increasingly popular basis for a claim of damages in lawsui...
en banc
(on bonk) French for "in the bench," it signifies a decision by t...
enabling clause
n. a provision in a new statute which empowers a particular publi...
endorse (indorse)
v. 1) to sign one's name to the back of a check, bill of exchange...
enter a judgment
v. to officially record a judgment on the "judgment roll," which ...
entry of judgment
n. the placement of a judgment on the official roll of judgments.
environmental impact report
n. a study of all the factors which a land development or constru...
environmental law
n. a body of state and federal statutes intended to protect the e...
equal opportunity
1) n. a right supposedly guaranteed by both federal and many stat...
equal protection of the law
n. the right of all persons to have the same access to the law an...
equitable estoppel
n. where a court will not grant a judgment or other legal relief ...
equitable lien
n. a lien on property imposed by a court in order to achieve fair...
equity of redemption
n. the right of a mortgagor (person owing on a loan or debt again...
errors and omissions
n. short hand for malpractice insurance which gives physicians, a...
escalator clause
n. a provision in a lease or other agreement in which rent, insta...
escape clause
n. a provision in a contract which allows one of the parties to b...
escrow agent
n. a person or entity holding documents and funds in a transfer o...
escrow instructions
n. the written instructions by buyer and seller of real estate gi...
estate by entirety
n. tenancy by the entirety
estate tax
n. generally a federal tax on the transfer of a dead person's ass...
et al.
n. abbreviation for the Latin phrase et alii meaning "and others....
et seq.
(et seek) n. abbreviation for the Latin phrase et sequentes meani...
et ux.
(et uhks) n. abbreviation for the Latin words et uxor meaning "an...
evasion of tax
n. the intentional attempt to avoid paying taxes through fraudule...
ex delicto
(ex dee-lick-toe)adj. Latin for a reference to something that ari...
ex officio
a (ex oh-fish-ee-oh)dj. Latin for "from the office," to describe ...
ex parte
(ex par-tay, but popularly, ex party) adj. Latin meaning "for one...
ex post facto
adj. Latin for "after the fact," which refers to laws adopted aft...
ex rel.
conj. abbreviation for Latin ex relatione, meaning "upon being re...
exception in deed
n. a notation in a deed of title to real property which states th...
excessive bail
n. an amount of bail ordered posted by an accused defendant which...
exclusionary rule
n. the rule that evidence secured by illegal means and in bad fai...
excusable neglect
n. a legitimate excuse for the failure of a party or his/her lawy...
executive clemency
n. the power of a President in federal criminal cases, and the Go...
executive order
n. a President's or Governor's declaration which has the force of...
executive privilege
n. a claim by the President or another high official of the execu...
executory interest
n. an interest in property (particularly real estate) which will ...
exemplary damages
n. often called punitive damages, these are damages requested and...
expert testimony
n. opinions stated during trial or deposition (testimony under oa...
expert witness
n. a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, wh...
express contract
n. a contract in which all elements are specifically stated (offe...
extenuating circumstances
n. surrounding factors (sometimes called mitigation) which make a...
extraordinary fees
n. attorneys' fees claimed, usually in the administration of a de...
extreme cruelty
n. an archaic requirement to show infliction of physical or menta...
extrinsic fraud
n. fraudulent acts which keep a person from obtaining information...
face amount
n. the original amount due on a promissory note or insurance poli...
face value
n. in shares of stock, the original cost of the stock shown on th...
fact finder (finder of fact)
n. in a trial of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution, the jury or j...
failure of consideration
n. not delivering goods or services when promised in a contract. ...
failure of issue
n. when someone dies leaving no children or other direct descenda...
fair comment
n. a statement of opinion (no matter how ludicrous) based on fact...
fair market value
n. the amount for which property would sell on the open market if...
fair trade laws
n. state laws which permit manufacturers or producers to set mini...
fair use
n. the non-competitive right to use of copyrighted material witho...
false arrest
n. physically detaining someone without the legal right to do so....
false imprisonment
n. depriving someone of freedom of movement by holding a person i...
false pretenses
n. the crime of knowingly making untrue statements for the purpos...
family purpose doctrine
n. a rule of law that the registered owner of an automobile is re...
federal courts
n. the court system which handles civil and criminal cases based ...
federal question
n. one basis for filing a lawsuit in federal district court is th...
Federal Tort Claims Act
n. a statute (1948) which removed the power of the federal govern...
fee simple
n. absolute title to land, free of any other claims against the t...
fee tail
n. an old feudal expression for a title to real property which ca...
felony murder doctrine
n. a rule of criminal statutes that any death which occurs during...
fertile octogenarian
n. an unrealistic notion that any person (male or female) is capa...
fictitious defendants
n. when a party suing (plaintiff) is not sure if he/she knows if ...
fiduciary relationship
n. where one person places complete confidence in another in rega...
fighting words
n. words intentionally directed toward another person which are s...
final decree
n. another name for a final judgment. In states where there are i...
final judgment
n. the written determination of a lawsuit by the judge who presid...
final settlement
n. an agreement reached by the parties to a lawsuit, usually in w...
findings of fact
n.
firm offer
n. in contract law, an offer (usually in writing) which states it...
first degree murder
n. although it varies from state to state, it is generally a kill...
first impression
adj. referring to a legal issue which has never been decided by a...
floating easement
n. an easement (a right to use another's property for a particula...
for value received
prep. a phrase used in a promissory note, a bill of exchange or a...
forced sale
n. a sale of goods seized by the sheriff to satisfy (pay) a judgm...
forcible entry
n. the crime of taking possession of a house or other structure o...
foreclosure sale
n. the actual forced sale of real property at a public auction (o...
foreign corporation
n. a corporation which is incorporated under the laws of a differ...
forensic medicine
n. research, reports and testimony in court by experts in medical...
forensic testimony
n. any testimony of expert scientific, engineering, economic or o...
foreseeable risk
n. a danger which a reasonable person should anticipate as the re...
forum non conveniens
(for-uhm nahn cahn-vee-nee-ehns) n. Latin for a forum which is no...
foster child
n. a child without parental support and protection, placed with a...
four corners of an instrument
n. the term for studying an entire document to understand its mea...
franchise tax
n. a state tax on corporations or businesses.
fraud in the inducement
n. the use of deceit or trick to cause someone to act to his/her ...
fraudulent conveyance
n. the transfer (conveyance) of title to real property for the ex...
free and clear
adj. referring to the ownership of real property upon which there...
free on board (FOB)
adj. referring to purchased goods shipped without transportation ...
fresh pursuit
n. immediate chase of a suspected criminal by a law enforcement o...
friendly suit
n. a lawsuit filed in order to obtain a court order when the part...
fruit of the poisonous tree
n. in criminal law, the doctrine that evidence discovered due to ...
frustration of purpose
n. sometimes called commercial frustration, when unexpected event...
fugitive from justice
n. a person convicted or accused of a crime who hides from law en...
full disclosure
n. the need in business transactions to tell the "whole truth" ab...
full faith and credit
n. the provision in Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitutio...
fungible things
n. sometimes merely called "fungibles," goods which are interchan...
future interest
n. a right to receive either real property or personal property s...
gag order
n. a judge's order prohibiting the attorneys and the parties to a...
gender bias
n. unequal treatment in employment opportunity (such as promotion...
general appearance
n. an attorney's representation of a client in court for all purp...
general counsel
n. the chief attorney for a corporation, who is paid usually full...
general damages
n. monetary recovery (money won) in a lawsuit for injuries suffer...
general denial
n. a statement in an answer to a lawsuit or claim by a defendant ...
general partner
n. 1) usually one of the owners and operators of a partnership, w...
general plan
n. a plan of a city, county or area which establishes zones for d...
generation skipping
adj., adv. referring to gifts made through trusts by a grandparen...
gift in contemplation of death
n. (called a gift causa mortis by lawyers showing off their Latin...
gift tax
n. federal tax on large gifts. Gifts to members of a family may b...
go bail
v. slang for putting up the bail money to get an accused defendan...
good cause
n. a legally sufficient reason for a ruling or other action by a ...
good faith
n. honest intent to act without taking an unfair advantage over a...
Good Samaritan rule
n. from a Biblical story, if a volunteer comes to the aid of an i...
good title
n. ownership of real property which is totally free of claims aga...
governmental immunity
n. the doctrine from English common law that no governmental body...
grace period
n. a time stated in a contract in which a late payment or perform...
Grand Jury
n. a jury in each county or federal court district which serves f...
grand larceny
n. the crime of theft of another's property (including money) ove...
grand theft
n.
grandfather clause
n. 1) a clause in a statute or zoning ordinance (particularly a c...
grandfathered in
adj. refers to continued allowed use of property as it was when r...
grant deed
n. the document which transfers title to real property or a real ...
grantor-grantee index
n. a set of books and/or computerized lists found in the office o...
gross income
n. in calculating income tax, the income of an individual or busi...
gross negligence
n. carelessness which is in reckless disregard for the safety or ...
guardian ad litem
n. a person appointed by the court only to take legal action on b...
guest statute
n. a state law which sets standards of care by the driver of a ca...
habeas corpus
(hay-bee-us core-puss) n. Latin for "you have the body," it is a ...
habitual criminal
n. under the statutes of many states, a person who has been convi...
half blood
1) adj. sharing one parent only. 2) n. a half brother or half sis...
harmless error
n. an error by a judge in the conduct of a trial which an appella...
head of household
n. 1) in federal income tax law, the person filing a tax return w...
hearsay rule
n. the basic rule that testimony or documents which quote persons...
heat of passion
n. in a criminal case, when the accused was in an uncontrollable ...
heir apparent
n. the person who is expected to receive a share of the estate of...
heirs of the body
n. descendants of one's bloodline, such as children or grandchild...
hidden asset
n. an item of value which does not show on the books of a busines...
hit and run
n. the crime of a driver of a vehicle who is involved in a collis...
hobby loss
n. in income tax, a loss from a business activity engaged in more...
hold harmless
n. a promise to pay any costs or claims which may result from an ...
holder in due course
n. one holding a check or promissory note, received for value (he...
holding company
n. a company, usually a corporation, which is created to own the ...
holdover tenancy
n. the situation when a tenant of real estate continues to occupy...
holographic will
n. a will entirely handwritten, dated and signed by the testator ...
home rule
n. the power of a local city or county to set up its own system o...
hornbook law
n. lawyer lingo for a fundamental and well-accepted legal princip...
hostile possession
n. occupancy of a piece of real property coupled with a claim of ...
hostile witness
n. technically an "adverse witness" in a trial who is found by th...
hot pursuit
n. when a law enforcement officer is so close behind the alleged ...
house counsel
n. any attorney who works only for a particular business.
hung jury
n. slang for a hopelessly deadlocked jury in a criminal case, in ...
illegal immigrant
n. an alien (non-citizen) who has entered the United States witho...
illusory promise
n. an agreement to do something that is so indefinite one cannot ...
implied consent
n. consent when surrounding circumstances exist which would lead ...
implied contract
n. an agreement which is found to exist based on the circumstance...
implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing
n. a general assumption of the law of contracts, that people will...
implied warranty
n. an assumption at law that products are "merchantable," meaning...
in absentia
(in ab-sensh-ee-ah) adj. or adv. phrase. Latin for "in absence," ...
in camera
adj. or adv. phrase. Latin for "in chambers." This refers to a he...
in chambers
adj. referring to discussions or hearings held in the judge's off...
in extremis
(in ex-tree-miss) adj. from Latin, facing imminent death.
in fee simple
adj. referring to holding clear title to real property.
in forma pauperis
(in form-ah paw-purr-iss) adj. or adv. Latin for "in the form of ...
in haec verba
(in hike verb-ah)prep. Latin for "in these words," which refers t...
in kind
adj. referring to payment, distribution or substitution of things...
in lieu
prep. instead. "In lieu taxes" are use taxes paid instead of sale...
in limine
(in lim-in-ay) from Latin for "at the threshold," referring to a ...
in loco parentis
prep. (in loh-coh pah-rent-iss) Latin for "instead of a parent" o...
in pari delicto
adv. (in pah-ree dee-lick-toe) Latin for "in equal fault," which ...
in perpetuity
adj. forever, as in one's right to keep the profits from the land...
in personam
adj. (in purr-soh-nam) from Latin for "directed toward a particul...
in pro per
adj. short for in propria persona.
in propria persona
adj. from Latin "for one's self," acting on one's own behalf, gen...
in re
prep. short for "in regard to" or concerning. Often "in re" is fo...
in rem
adj. from Latin "against or about a thing," referring to a lawsui...
in terrorem clause
(in tehr-roar-em)n. from Latin for "in fear," a provision in a wi...
in toto
(in toe-toe)adj. Latin for "completely" or "in total," referring ...
incidental beneficiary
n. someone who obtains a benefit as the result of the main purpos...
income tax
n. a tax on an individual's net income, after deductions for vari...
incompetent evidence
n. testimony, documents or things which one side attempts to pres...
incontrovertible evidence
n. evidence introduced to prove a fact in a trial which is so con...
incorporate by reference
v. to include language from another document or elsewhere in a do...
indecent exposure
n. the crime of displaying one's genitalia to one or more other p...
independent contractor
n. a person or business which performs services for another perso...
indeterminate sentence
n. the prison term imposed after conviction for a crime which doe...
indictable offense
n. a crime (offense) for which a Grand Jury rules that there is e...
indispensable party
n. a person or entity which must be included in a lawsuit so that...
information and belief
n. a phrase often used in legal pleadings (complaints and answers...
informed consent
n. agreement to do something or to allow something to happen only...
injunctive relief
n. a court-ordered act or prohibition against an act or condition...
insanity defense
n. the claim of a defendant in a criminal prosecution that he/she...
insider trading
n. the use of confidential information about a business gained th...
inspection of documents
n. the right to examine and copy the opposing party's papers in a...
installment contract
n. an agreement in which payments of money, delivery of goods or ...
insufficient evidence
n. a finding (decision) by a trial judge or an appeals court that...
intangible property
n. items such as stock in a company which represent value but are...
inter alia
(in-tur eh-lee-ah) prep. Latin for "among other things." This phr...
inter se
(in-tur say)prep. Latin for "among themselves," meaning that, for...
inter vivos
(in-tur veye-vohs) adj. Latin for "among the living," usually ref...
inter vivos trust
n. a trust created by a writing (declaration of trust) which comm...
interim order
n. a temporary order of the court pending a hearing, trial, a fin...
interlocutory decree
n. a court judgment which is temporary and not intended to be fin...
international law
n. treaties between countries; multi-lateral agreements; some com...
interstate commerce
n. commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or tra...
intervening cause
n. an event which occurs between the original improper or dangero...
intestate succession
n. the distribution when a person dies without leaving a valid wi...
intrinsic fraud
n. an intentionally false representation (lie) which is part of t...
invasion of privacy
n. the intrusion into the personal life of another, without just ...
inverse condemnation
n. the taking of property by a government agency which so greatly...
ipse dixit
(ip-sah dicks-it) v. Latin for "he himself said it," meaning the ...
ipso facto
(ip-soh fact-toe)prep. Latin for "by the fact itself." An express...
irreconcilable differences
n. the usual basis for granting a divorce (dissolution) in no-fau...
irreparable damage or injury
n. the type of harm which no monetary compensation can cure or pu...
Jane Doe
n. 1) a fictitious name used for a possible female defendant who ...
John Doe
n. 1) a fictitious name used for a possible male defendant who is...
joinder of issue
n. that point in a lawsuit when the defendant has challenged (den...
joint adventure
n. when two or more people go together on a trip or some other ac...
joint and several
adj. referring to a debt or a judgment for negligence, in which e...
joint custody
n. in divorce actions, a decision by the court (often upon agreem...
joint enterprise
n. a generic term for an activity of two or more people, usually ...
joint liability
n. when two or more persons are both responsible for a debt, clai...
joint powers agreement
n. a contract between a city, a county and/or a special district ...
joint tenancy
n. a crucial relationship in the ownership of real property, whic...
joint tortfeasors
n. two or more persons whose negligence in a single accident or e...
joint venture
n. an enterprise entered into by two or more people for profit, f...
Jones Act
n., adj. a federal law which covers injuries to crewmen at sea, g...
judge advocate
n. a military officer with legal training who has the mixed dutie...
judge advocate general
(J.A.G.) n. a military officer who advises the government on cour...
judgment by default
n.
judgment creditor
n. the winning plaintiff in a lawsuit to whom the court decides t...
judgment debt
n. the amount of money in a judgment award to the winning party, ...
judgment debtor
n. the losing defendant in a lawsuit who owes the amount of the j...
judgment notwithstanding the verdict
(N.O.V.) n. reversal of a jury's verdict by the trial judge when ...
judicial discretion
n. the power of the judge to make decisions on some matters witho...
judicial foreclosure
n. a judgment by a court in favor of foreclosure of a mortgage or...
judicial notice
n. the authority of a judge to accept as facts certain matters wh...
judicial proceedings
n. any action by a judge re: trials, hearings, petitions or other...
judicial sale
n. a sale of goods by an official (keeper, trustee or sheriff) ap...
jump bail
v. to fail to appear for a court appearance after depositing (pos...
Juris Doctor
(J.D.) n. the law degree granted upon graduation by many univers...
jurisdictional amount
n. the range between the minimum and maximum amount of money or v...
jury box
n. the enclosed area in which the jury sits in assigned seats dur...
jury fees
n. the rather minimal amount paid each day to jurors, plus paymen...
jury of one's peers
n. a guaranteed right of criminal defendants, in which "peer" mea...
jury panel
n. the list from which jurors for a particular trial may be chose...
jury selection
n. the means by which a jury is chosen, with a panel of potential...
jury stress
n. a form of mental, emotional, psychological, physical and sexua...
jury tampering
n. the crime of attempting to influence a jury through any means ...
jury trial
n. a trial of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution in which the case...
just compensation
n. 1) in general a fair and reasonable amount of money to be paid...
justice of the peace
(JP) n. a judge who handles minor legal matters such as misdemean...
justifiable homicide
n. a killing without evil or criminal intent, for which there can...
juvenile court
n. a special court or department of a trial court which deals wit...
juvenile delinquent
n. a person who is under age (usually below 18), who is found to ...
kangaroo court
n. 1) a mock court set up without legal basis, such as a fraterni...
labor and materials
(time and materials) n. what some builders or repair people contr...
landlord and tenant
n. the name for the area of law concerning renting and leasing pr...
landlord's lien
n. the right of a landlord to sell abandoned personal property le...
last antecedent rule
n. a doctrine of interpretation (construction) of statutes that a...
last clear chance
n. a rule of law in determining responsibility for damages caused...
last will and testament
n. a fancy and redundant way of saying "will." Lawyers and client...
latent defect
n. a hidden flaw, weakness or imperfection in an article which a ...
lateral support
n. the right of a land- owner to assurance that his/her neighbor'...
law and motion calendar
n. a court calendar in which only motions and special legal argum...
law book
n. any of numerous volumes dealing with law, including statutes, ...
law of admiralty
n. statutes, customs and treaties dealing with actions on navigab...
law of the case
n. once a judge has decided a legal question during the conduct o...
law of the land
n. a slang term for existing laws.
lay a foundation
v. in evidence, to provide to the judge the qualification of a wi...
leading question
n. a question asked of a witness by an attorney during a trial or...
leading the witness
n. asking a question during a trial or deposition which puts word...
legal action
n. any lawsuit, petition or prosecution.
legal advertising
n. 1) notices of probate sales and other documents required by la...
legal age
n. the age at which a person is responsible for his/her own actio...
legal aid society
n. an organization formed to assist persons who have limited or n...
legal duty
n. the responsibility to others to act according to the law. Prov...
legal fiction
n. a presumption of fact assumed by a court for convenience, cons...
legal separation
n. a court-decreed right to live apart, with the rights and oblig...
legal services
n. the work performed by a lawyer for a client.
legal tender
n. all money issued by the government.
lemon law
n. statutes adopted in some states to make it easier for a buyer ...
lesser crime
n.
lesser-included offense
n. in criminal law, a crime which is proved by the same facts as ...
letter of credit
n. a document issued by a bank guaranteeing to provide a customer...
letters of administration
n. a document issued by the court clerk which states the authorit...
letters testamentary
n. a document issued by the court clerk which states the authorit...
lewd and lascivious
adj., adv. references to conduct which includes people living tog...
libel per se
n. broadcast or written publication of a false statement about an...
lie detector test
n. a popular name for a polygraph which tests the physiological r...
life estate
n. the right to use or occupy real property for one's life. Often...
life without possibility of parole
n. a sentence sometimes given for particularly vicious criminals ...
limitation of actions
n. the period of time in which a person has to file with the cler...
limited jurisdiction
n. courts' authority over certain types of cases such as bankrupt...
limited liability
n. the maximum amount a person participating in a business can lo...
limited partnership
n. a special type of partnership which is very common when people...
lineal descendant
n. a person who is in direct line to an ancestor, such as child, ...
liquidated damages
n. an amount of money agreed upon by both parties to a contract w...
lis pendens
(lease pen-dense) n. Latin for "a suit pending," a written notice...
literary property
n. the writings of an author which entitles him/her to the use of...
living trust
n. sometimes called an inter vivos (Latin for "within one's life"...
living will
n. also called "a durable power of attorney," it is a document au...
long cause
n. a lawsuit in which it is estimated that a trial will take more...
long-arm statute
n. law which gives a local state court jurisdiction over an out-o...
loss of bargain
n. the inability to complete a sale or other business deal, cause...
loss of consortium
n. the inability of one's spouse to have normal marital relations...
loss of use
n. the inability to use an automobile, premises or some equipment...
lower court
n. 1) any court of lesser rank, such as municipal or justice cour...
M'Naughten rule
n. a traditional "right and wrong" test of legal insanity in crim...
M. O.
n. slang for modus operandi, the way or pattern in which a repeat...
Magna Carta
n. Latin for "Great Charter," it was a document delineating a ser...
mail box rule
n. in contract law, making a written offer or acceptance of offer...
make one whole
v. to pay or award damages sufficient to put the party who was da...
malice aforethought
n. 1) the conscious intent to cause death or great bodily harm to...
malicious prosecution
n. filing a lawsuit with the intention of creating problems for t...
malum in se
(mal-uhm in say) adv. Latin referring to an act that is "wrong in...
malum prohibitum
(mal-uhm prohibit-uhm) adj. Latin meaning "wrong due to being pro...
mandatory joinder
n. the required inclusion of a party in a lawsuit whom the court ...
Mann Act
n. a federal statute making it a crime to transport a woman acros...
marital deduction
n. an estate tax deduction allowed a surviving spouse of half of ...
marital rights
n. an old-fashioned expression for the rights of a husband (not r...
maritime law
n. Also called "admiralty law" or "the law of admiralty," the law...
marked for identification
adj. documents or objects presented during a trial before there h...
market value
n. the price which a seller of property would receive in an open ...
marketable title
n. the title to real property which has no encumbrances (mortgage...
martial law
n. a system of complete control by a country's military over all ...
Massachusetts Trust
n. a business in which the investors give management authority to...
master and servant
n. the body of law, including statutes and legal decisions which ...
material representation
n. a convincing statement made to induce someone to enter into a ...
material witness
n. a person who apparently has information about the subject matt...
matter of record
n. anything, including testimony, evidence, rulings and sometimes...
McNabb-Mallory rule
n. a federal rule of evidence in criminal trials that prohibits t...
mechanic's lien
n. the right of a craftsman, laborer, supplier, architect or othe...
meet and confer
n. a requirement of courts that before certain types of motions a...
meeting of the minds
n. when two parties to an agreement (contract) both have the same...
mens rea
(menz ray-ah) n. Latin for a "guilty mind," or criminal intent in...
mental anguish
n. mental suffering which includes fright, feelings of distress, ...
mental competency
n.
mental cruelty
n. a term, rapidly going out of fashion and out of the statutes, ...
mental suffering
n. emotional pain synonymous with "mental anguish."
mercantile law
n. that broad area of the law (also called commercial law), statu...
mesne profits
n. profits which have accrued while there was a dispute over land...
metes and bounds
(meets and bounds) n. a surveyor's description of a parcel of rea...
military law
n. regulations governing the conduct of men and women in the arme...
mining claim
n. a description by boundaries of real property in which metal or...
ministerial act
n. an act, particularly of a governmental employee, which is perf...
Miranda warning
n. the requirement, also called the Miranda rule, set by the U.S....
mirror wills
n. the wills of a husband and wife which are identical except tha...
misprision of a felony
n. the crime of concealing another's felony (serious crime) from ...
mitigating circumstances
n. in criminal law, conditions or happenings which do not excuse ...
mitigation of damages
n. the requirement that someone injured by another's negligence o...
modus operandi
(mode-us ah-purr-and-ee or ah-purr-and-eye) n. from Latin, a crim...
moot court
n. law school exercise in which students argue both sides of an a...
moot point
n. 1) a legal question which no court has decided, so it is still...
moral certainty
n. in a criminal trial, the reasonable belief (but falling short ...
moral turpitude
n. gross violation of standards of moral conduct, vileness. An ac...
motion for a new trial
n. a request made by the loser for the case to be tried again on ...
motion for a summary judgment
n. a written request for a judgment in the moving party's favor b...
motion for dismissal
(non-suit) n. application by a defendant in a lawsuit or criminal...
motion in limine
(lim-in-nay) n. Latin for "threshold," a motion made at the start...
motion to strike
n. a request for a judge's order to eliminate all or a portion of...
motion to suppress
n. a motion (usually on behalf of a criminal defendant) to disall...
multiplicity of suits
n. several actual or potential lawsuits which should be joined to...
municipal court
n. a lower court which usually tries criminal misdemeanors and ci...
muniment of title
n. documentary evidence of title to real property. A muniment cou...
mutual wills
n. wills made by two people (usually spouses, but could be "partn...
National Labor Relations Board
n. an independent regulatory commission created in 1935 by the Na...
natural law
n. 1) standards of conduct derived from traditional moral princip...
natural person
n. a real human being, as distinguished from a corporation, which...
necessary inference
n. 1) a conclusion militated by reason and logic applied to known...
necessary party
n. a person or entity whose interests will be affected by the out...
negative declaration
n. a finding by a city council or other local government that a p...
negative pregnant
n. a denial of an allegation in which a person actually admits mo...
negligence per se
(purr say) n. negligence due to the violation of a public duty, s...
negotiable instrument
n. check, promissory note, bill of exchange, security or any docu...
net estate
n. the remaining estate of a person who has died, calculated by t...
new matter
n. newly claimed facts or legal issues raised (brought up) by a d...
next friend
n. a person (often a relative) who voluntarily helps a minor or i...
next of kin
n. 1) the nearest blood relatives of a person who has died, inclu...
nisi prius
: (nee-see pree-us) adj. Latin for "unless first," in some jurisd...
no contest
n. in criminal law, a defendant's plea in court that he/she will ...
no fault divorce
n. divorces (dissolutions) in which neither spouse is required to...
no fault insurance
n: a type of automobile insurance required of car owners by law i...
no-par stock
n. shares in a corporation which are issued without a price per s...
nolle prosequi
(no-lay pro-say-kwee) n. Latin for "we shall no longer prosecute,...
nolo contendere
(no-low kahn-ten-durr-ray) n. Latin for "I will not contest" the ...
nominal damages
n. a small amount of money awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit to...
nominal party
n. a defendant or a plaintiff included in a lawsuit because of a ...
non compos mentis
: (nahn com-pose meant-is) adj. referring to someone who is insan...
non sequitur
: (nahn sek [as in heck]-kwit-her) n. Latin for "it does not foll...
non-conforming use
n. the existing use (residential, commercial, agricultural, light...
non-contestability clause
n. an insurance policy provision which requires the insurance com...
non-discretionary trust
n. a trust in which the trustee is directed to invest only in spe...
non-profit corporation
n. an organization incorporated under state laws and approved by ...
not guilty
n. 1) plea of a person who claims not to have committed the crime...
not guilty by reason of insanity
n. plea in court of a person charged with a crime who admits the ...
notary public
n. a person authorized by the state in which the person resides t...
notice of default
n. a notice to a borrower with property as security under a mortg...
notice to quit
n. the notice given by a landlord (owner) to a tenant to leave th...
notorious possession
n. occupation of real property or holding personal property in a ...
nunc pro tunc
(nuhnk proh tuhnk) adj. Latin for "now for then," this refers to ...
obiter dicta
: (oh-bitter dick-tah) n. remarks of a judge which are not necess...
obstruction of justice
n. an attempt to interfere with the administration of the courts,...
occupational disease
n. an illness resulting from long-term employment in a particular...
occupational hazard
n. a danger or risk inherent in certain employments or workplaces...
occupy the field
v. to preempt (monopolize) an area of statutory law by a higher a...
of counsel
adj. reference to an attorney who is not actively involved in the...
off calendar
adj. refers to an order of the court to take a lawsuit, petition ...
offer of proof
n. an explanation made by an attorney to a judge during trial to ...
officer of the court
n. any person who has an obligation to promote justice and effect...
official misconduct
n. improper and/or illegal acts by a public official which violat...
officious intermeddler
n. a volunteer who assists and/or benefits another without contra...
offshore corporation
n. a corporation chartered under the laws of a country other than...
omnibus clause
n. 1) an automobile insurance policy clause which provides covera...
on all fours
adj. a reference to a lawsuit in which all the legal issues are i...
on demand
adj. in a promissory note, a requirement that the amount due must...
on file
prep. having been formally filed with the clerk of the court or t...
on or about
prep. a phrase referring to a date or place used in a complaint i...
on or before
prep. a phrase usually found in a contract or promissory note, de...
on the merits
adj. referring to a judgment, decision or ruling of a court based...
on the stand
prep. testifying during a trial, in which the witness almost alwa...
open court
n. the conduct of judicial proceedings (trials, hearings and rout...
opening statement
n. the explanation by the attorneys for both sides at the beginni...
operation of law
n. a change or transfer which occurs automatically due to existin...
oral contract
n. an agreement made with spoken words and either no writing or o...
order to show cause
n. a judge's written mandate that a party appear in court on a ce...
ordinary course of business
n. conduct of business within normal commercial customs and usage...
original jurisdiction
n. the authority of a court to hold a trial, as distinguished fro...
ostensible agent
n. a person who has been given the appearance of being an employe...
ostensible authority
n. apparent authority to do something or represent another person...
out of court
adj. referring to actions, including negotiations between parties...
out-of-pocket expenses
n. moneys paid directly for necessary items by a contractor, trus...
output contract
n. an agreement in which a producer agrees to sell its entire pro...
overt act
n. in criminal law, an action which might be innocent itself but ...
own recognizance
(O.R.) n. the basis for a judge allowing a person accused of a cr...
paid into court
adj. referring to money deposited with the clerk of the court by ...
pain and suffering
n. the physical and mental distress suffered from an injury, incl...
paper hanger
n. slang for a person who criminally writes and cashes "bad" chec...
paramount title
n. a right to real property which prevails over any other person'...
parens patriae
(paa-rens pat-tree-eye) n. Latin for "father of his country," the...
parental neglect
n. a crime consisting of acts or omissions of a parent (including...
pari delicto
adj. equal fault.
parol evidence rule
n. if there is evidence in writing (such as a signed contract) th...
partial breach
n. the failure to meet a term of a contract which is so minimal t...
partial disability
n. the result of an injury which permanently reduces a person's a...
partial verdict
n. in a criminal trial, the result when the jury finds the defend...
party of the first part
n. reference in a written contract to identify one of the people ...
party of the second part
n. a reference to a party to a written contract, as distinguished...
party wall
n. a wall shared by two adjoining premises which is on the proper...
patent ambiguity
n. an obvious inconsistency in the language of a written document...
patent defect
n. an obvious flaw in a product or a document (such as leaving ou...
patent infringement
n. the manufacture and/or use of an invention or improvement for ...
patent pending
n. often abbreviated to "pat. pend." or "pat. pending," the term ...
paternity suit
n. a lawsuit, usually by a mother, to prove that a named person i...
payable on demand
adj. a debt on a promissory note or bill of exchange which must b...
payment in due course
n. the giving of funds to the holder of a promissory note or bill...
payment in full
n. the giving of all funds due to another. This language is often...
peace bond
n. a bond required as part of a court order to guarantee that a p...
peaceable possession
n. in real estate, holding property without any adverse claim to ...
peeping tom
n. a person who stealthily peeks into windows, holes in restroom ...
peer review
n. an examination and evaluation of the performance of a professi...
pendent jurisdiction
n. in federal procedure, the policy that allows a federal court t...
pendente lite
(pen-den-tay lee-tay) adj. Latin for awaiting the litigation (law...
per capita
adj. Latin for "by head," meaning to be determined by the number ...
per curiam
adj. Latin for "by the court," defining a decision of an appeals ...
per diem
adj. or n. Latin for "per day," it is short for payment of daily ...
per se
(purr say) adj. Latin for "by itself," meaning inherently. Thus, ...
per stirpes
(purr stir-peas) adj. Latin for "by roots," by representation. Th...
peremptory challenge
n. the right of the plaintiff and the defendant in a jury trial t...
peremptory writ of mandate
(or mandamus) n. a final order of a court to any governmental bod...
permanent disability
n. an injury which impairs the physical and/or mental ability of ...
permanent injunction
n. a final order of a court that a person or entity refrain from ...
permanent injury
n. physical or mental damage which will restrict the employment a...
personal effects
n. things which include clothes, cosmetics and items of adornment...
personal property
n. same as "personalty."
personal service
n. delivering a summons, complaint, notice to quit tenancy or oth...
personal services
n. in contract law, the talents of a person which are unusual, sp...
petit jury
n. old-fashioned name for the jury sitting to hear a lawsuit or c...
petty larceny
n. a term used in many states for theft of a small amount of mone...
physician-patient privilege
n. the right and obligation of a physician to refuse to testify i...
pierce the corporate veil
v. to prove that a corporation exists merely as a completely cont...
pink slip
n. 1) slang for official automobile registration certificate, due...
plain error
n. a mistake by the trial court found by a court of appeals to be...
plain view doctrine
n. the rule that a law enforcement officer may make a search and ...
plaintiff's attorney
n. the attorney who represents a plaintiff (the suing party) in a...
plea bargain
n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between the defendant and...
plea in abatement
n.
police court
n. in some states a type of municipal court which handles misdeme...
police powers
n. from the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which reserves to...
political question
n. the determination by a court (particularly the Supreme Court) ...
positive law
n. statutory man-made law, as compared to "natural law," which is...
posse comitatus
(pahs-see coh-mitt-tah-tus) n. from Latin for "possible force," t...
possession of stolen goods
n. the crime of possession of goods which one knows or which any ...
possessory interest
n. in real estate, the intent and right of a person to occupy and...
possibility of a reverter
n. the potential that the title to a real property interest will ...
post mortem
n. Latin for "after death," an examination of a dead body to dete...
postdated check
n. a check delivered now with a written date in the future, so th...
pour over will
n. a will of a person who has already executed a trust in which a...
power of acceptance
n. the ability to accept an offer and thus create a binding contr...
power of appointment
n. the right to leave property by will, transfer, gift or distrib...
power of attorney
n. a written document signed by a person giving another person th...
preemptive right
n. the right of a shareholder in a corporation to have the first ...
preferred dividend
n. a payment of a corporation's profits to holders of preferred s...
preferred stock
n. a class of shares of stock in a corporation which gives the ho...
preliminary hearing
n. in criminal law, a hearing to determine if a person charged wi...
preliminary injunction
n. a court order made in the early stages of a lawsuit or petitio...
prenuptial agreement
n. also called an antenuptial agreement, a written contract betwe...
preponderance of the evidence
n. the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil (non-cr...
prerogative writ
n. an historic generic term for any writ (court order) directed t...
prescriptive easement
n. an easement upon another's real property acquired by continued...
presiding judge
n. 1) in both state and federal appeals court, the judge who chai...
presumption of innocence
n. a fundamental protection for a person accused of a crime, whic...
pretermitted heir
n. the child of a person who has written a will in which the chil...
pretrial discovery
n.
prevailing party
n. the winner in a lawsuit. Many contracts, leases, mortgages, de...
price fixing
n. a criminal violation of federal antitrust statutes in which se...
prima facie
: (pry-mah fay-shah) adj. Latin for "at first look," or "on its f...
prima facie case
n. a plaintiff's lawsuit or a criminal charge which appears at fi...
prime suspect
n. the one person law enforcement officers believe most probably ...
principal place of business
n. location of head office of a business where the books and reco...
prior restraint
n. an attempt to prevent publication or broadcast of any statemen...
private carrier
n. one who provides transportation or delivery of goods for money...
private nuisance
n. the interference with an individual's peaceful enjoyment of on...
private parts
n. men's or women's genitalia, excluding a woman's breasts, usual...
private property
n. land not owned by the government or dedicated to public use.
private road
n. a road or driveway on privately owned property, limited to the...
privilege against self incrimina-tion
n. a right to refuse to testify against oneself in a criminal pro...
privileged communication
n. statements and conversations made under circumstances of assur...
privileges and immunities
n. the fundamental rights that people enjoy in free governments, ...
pro bono
adj. short for pro bono publico, Latin for "for the public good,"...
pro forma
1) prep. Latin for "as a matter of form," the phrase refers to co...
pro hac vice
: (proh hock vee-chay) prep. Latin for "this time only," the phra...
pro per
adj. short for "propria persona," which is Latin for "for oneself...
pro rata
(proh rat-ah or proh ray-tah) adj. from Latin for "in proportion,...
pro se
(proh say) prep. Latin for "for himself." A party to a lawsuit wh...
pro tanto
: (proh tahn-toe) Latin for "only to that extent." Example: a jud...
pro tem
1) adj. short for the Latin pro tempore, temporarily or for the t...
pro tempore
(proh temp-oh-ray):
probable cause
n. sufficient reason based upon known facts to believe a crime ha...
probative facts
n. evidence which tends to prove something which is relative to t...
probative value
n. evidence which is sufficiently useful to prove something impor...
process server
n. a person who serves (delivers) legal papers in lawsuits, eithe...
product liability
n. the responsibility of manufacturers, distributors and sellers ...
professional corporation
n. a corporation formed for the purpose of conducting a professio...
professional negligence
n.
promissory estoppel
n. a false statement treated as a promise by a court when the lis...
promissory note
n. a written promise by a person (variously called maker, obligor...
promotional stock
n. stock issued in a newly formed corporation and given to a prom...
proper party
n. a person or entity who has an interest (financial or protectio...
property damage
n. injury to real or personal property through another's negligen...
property tax
n. an annual governmental tax on real property or personal proper...
propria persona
adj. from Latin, for oneself.
proprietary interest
n. a total or partial ownership.
proprietary rights
n. those rights which go with ownership of real property or a bus...
protective custody
n. the act of law enforcement officials in placing a person in a ...
provisional remedy
n. a generic term for any temporary order of a court to protect a...
proximate cause
n. a happening which results in an event, particularly injury due...
prudent man rule
n. the requirement that a trustee, investment manager of pension ...
public administrator
n. a county official with the responsibility to handle the affair...
public benefit corporation
n. a term used in some states for a nonprofit community service c...
public charge
n. a general term for an indigent, sick or severely handicapped p...
public corporation
n. a corporation created to perform a governmental function or to...
public defender
n. an elected or appointed public official (usually of a county),...
public domain
n. 1) in copyright law, the right of anyone to use literature, mu...
public easement
n. the right of the general public to use certain streets, highwa...
public figure
n. in the law of defamation (libel and slander), a personage of g...
public nuisance
n. a nuisance which affects numerous members of the public or the...
public property
n. property owned by the government or one of its agencies, divis...
public record
n. any information, minutes, files, accounts or other records whi...
public trust doctrine
n. the principle that the government holds title to submerged lan...
public use
n. the only purpose for which private property can be taken (cond...
public utility
n. any organization which provides services to the general public...
punitive damages
n. (synony- mous with exemplary damages), damages awarded in a la...
quantum meruit
: (kwahn-tuhm mare-ooh-it) n. Latin for "as much as he deserved,"...
quasi community property
n. in community property states, property acquired by a couple wh...
quasi contract
n. a situation in which there is an obligation as if there was a ...
quasi corporation
n. a business which has operated as a corporation without complet...
quasi in rem
adj. referring to a legal action which is primarily based on prop...
Queen's Bench
n. 1) the highest court in Great Britain during the reign of a Qu...
question of fact
n. in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution, an issue of fact in whic...
question of law
n. an issue arising in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution which on...
qui tam action
: (kwee tam) n. from Latin for "who as well," a lawsuit brought b...
quid pro quo
: (kwid proh kwoh) n. Latin for "something for something," to ide...
quiet enjoyment
n. the right to enjoy and use premises (particularly a residence)...
quiet title action
n. a lawsuit to establish a party's title to real property agains...
quitclaim deed
n. a real property deed which transfers (conveys) only that inter...
quo warranto
(kwoh wahr-rahn-toe) n. the name for a writ (order) used to chall...
quotient verdict
n. an award of money damages set by a jury in a lawsuit in which ...
race to the courthouse
n. slang for the rule that the first deed, deed of trust, mortgag...
Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statue
n. a federal law which makes it a crime for organized criminal co...
rational basis
n. a test of constitutionality of a statute, asking whether the l...
ready, willing and able
adj. fully prepared to act, as in performing a contract.
real estate
n. land, improvements and buildings thereon, including attached i...
real estate investment trust
n. nicknamed REIT, a real estate investment organization which fi...
real party in interest
n. the person or entity who will benefit from a lawsuit or petiti...
real property
n. 1) all land, structures, firmly attached and integrated equipm...
reasonable care
n. the degree of caution and concern for the safety of himself/he...
reasonable doubt
n. not being sure of a criminal defendant's guilt to a moral cert...
reasonable reliance
n. particularly in contracts, what a prudent person would believe...
reasonable speed
n. the speed of an automobile determined to be lower than the pos...
reasonable time
n. in contracts, common custom in the business or under the circu...
reasonable wear and tear
n. commonly used in leases to limit the tenant's responsibility (...
rebuttable presumption
n. since a presumption is an assumption of fact accepted by the c...
reciprocal discovery
n. the exchange of documents, lists of witnesses, and other infor...
reckless disregard
n. gross negligence without concern for danger to others. Actuall...
reckless driving
n. operation of an automobile in a dangerous manner under the cir...
recording acts
n. the statutes of each state which established the keeping of of...
refresh one's memory
v. to use a document, exhibit or previous testimony in order to h...
registration statement
n. a detailed report to be filed with the Securities and Exchange...
registry of deeds
n. the records of land title documents kept by the County Recorde...
rejection of claim
n. in probate law (administration of an estate of a person who di...
release on one's own recognizance
v. for a judge to allow a criminal defendant pre-trial freedom wi...
rental value
n. the amount which would be paid for rental of similar property ...
reply brief
n. the written legal argument of the respondent (trial court winn...
requirements contract
n. a contract between a supplier (or manufacturer) and a buyer, i...
res adjudicata
n. a thing (legal matter) already determined by a court, from Lat...
res gestae
(rayz jest-tie) n. from Latin for "things done," it means all cir...
res ipsa loquitur
(rayz ip-sah loh-quit-her) n. Latin for "the thing speaks for its...
res judicata
: (rayz judy-cot-ah) n. Latin for "the thing has been judged," me...
rescue doctrine
n. the rule of law that if a rescuer of a person hurt or put in p...
reserve fund
n. a fund of money created to take care of maintenance, repairs o...
residuary bequest
n. in a will, the gift of whatever is left (the residue) after sp...
resisting arrest
n. the crime of using physical force (no matter how slight in the...
respondeat superior
(rehs-pond-dee-at superior) n. Latin for "let the master answer,"...
Restatement of the Law
n. a series of detailed statements of the basic law in the United...
restraining order
n. a temporary order of a court to keep conditions as they are (l...
restraint of trade
n. in antitrust law, any activity (including agreements among com...
restraint on alienation
n. an attempt in a deed or will to prevent the sale or other tran...
restrictive covenant
n. 1) an agreement included in a deed to real property that the b...
restrictive endorsement
n. an endorsement signed on the back of a check, note or bill of ...
resulting trust
n. a trust implied by law (as determined by a court) that a perso...
return of service
n. written confirmation under oath by a process server declaring ...
revenue ruling
n. a published opinion of the Internal Revenue Service stating wh...
reversible error
n. a legal mistake at the trial court level which is so significa...
right of way
n. 1) a pathway or road with a specific description (e.g. "right ...
right to privacy
n. the possible right to be let alone, in absence of some "reason...
riparian rights
n. the right of the owner of the land forming the bank of a river...
risk of loss
n. the responsibility a carrier, borrower or user of property or ...
roadside test
n. a preliminary test law enforcement officers use on a suspected...
rogatory letters
n. a written request by a judge to a judge in another state askin...
rule against perpetuities
n. the legal prohibition against tying up property so that it can...
rules of court
n. a set of procedural regulations adopted by courts which are ma...
running at large
adj. 1) referring to cattle or other animals which have escaped f...
running with the land
adj. permanently part of the title (ownership) to real property.
satisfaction of judgment
n. a document signed by a judgment creditor (the party owed the m...
satisfaction of mortgage
n. a document signed by a lender acknowledging that a mortgage ha...
save harmless
v. 1) also called hold harmless, to indemnify (protect) another f...
savings and loan
n. a banking and lending institution, chartered either by a state...
scope of employment
n. actions of an employee which further the business of the emplo...
sealed verdict
n. the decision of a jury when there is a delay in announcing the...
sealing of records
n. trial records and decisions which a judge orders kept secret. ...
search and seizure
n. examination of a person's premises (residence, business or veh...
search warrant
n. a written order by a judge which permits a law enforcement off...
second degree murder
n. a non-premeditated killing, resulting from an assault in which...
secondary boycott
n. an organized refusal to purchase the products of, do business ...
secret rebate
n. a kickback of money by a business to a "preferred" customer, n...
secured transaction
n. any loan or credit in which property is pledged as security in...
security deposit
n. a payment required by a landlord from a tenant to cover the ex...
security interest
n. generic term for the property rights of a lender or creditor w...
senior lien
n. the first security interest (lien or claim) placed upon proper...
separate property
n. in community property states (California, Texas, Arizona, Idah...
separation agreement
n. an agreement between two married people who have agreed to liv...
service by FAX
n. delivery of legal documents required by statute to be "served"...
service by mail
n. mailing legal pleadings to opposing attorneys or parties, whil...
service by publication
n. serving a summons or other legal document in a lawsuit on a de...
service of process
n. the delivery of copies of legal documents such as summons, com...
servient estate
n. real property which has an easement or other use imposed upon ...
set aside
v. to annul or negate a court order or judgment by another court ...
severable contract
n. an agreement which is made up of several separate contracts be...
several liability
n. referring to responsibility of one party for the entire debt (...
sex offender
n. generic term for all persons convicted of crimes involving sex...
sexual harassment
n. unwanted sexual approaches (including touching, feeling, gropi...
share and share alike
adj. referring to the equal division of a benefit from an estate,...
shareholders' agreement
n. an employment agreement among the shareholders of a small corp...
shareholders' derivative action
n. a lawsuit by a corporation's shareholders, theoretically on be...
shareholders' meeting
n. a meeting, usually annual, of all shareholders of a corporatio...
sharp practice
n. actions by a lawyer using misleading statements to opposing co...
sheriff's sale
n. an auction sale of property held by the sheriff pursuant to a ...
shield laws
n. statutes enacted in some states which declare that communicati...
shifting the burden of proof
n. the result of the plaintiff in a lawsuit meeting its burden of...
short cause
n. a lawsuit which is estimated by the parties (usually their att...
shortening time
n. an order of the court in response to the motion of a party to ...
show cause order
n. an order of the court, also called an order to show cause or O...
silent partner
n. a non-legal term for an investor who puts money into a busines...
similarly situated
adj. with the same problems and circumstances, referring to the p...
simple trust
n. a trust which requires that all income be distributed each yea...
simultaneous death act
n. a statute in effect in most states which provides that if a hu...
sine qua non
(see-nay kwah nahn) prep. Latin for "without which it could not b...
small claims court
n. a division of most municipal, city or other lowest local court...
sole proprietorship
n. a business owned by one person, as distinguished from a partne...
Solicitor General
n. the chief trial attorney in the federal Department of Justice ...
solitary confinement
n. the placement of a prisoner in a federal or state prison in a ...
sound mind and memory
n. having an understanding of one's actions and reasonable knowle...
sounds in
adj. referring to the underlying legal basis for a lawsuit or one...
speaking demurrer
n. an attempt to introduce evidence during a hearing on a demurre...
special administrator
n. a person appointed by the court in a probate proceeding (manag...
special appearance
n. the representation by an attorney of a person in court for: a)...
special circumstances
n. in criminal cases, particularly homicides, actions of the accu...
special damages
n. damages claimed and/or awarded in a lawsuit which were out-of-...
special master
n. a person appointed by the court to carry out an order of the c...
special prosecutor
n. an attorney from outside of the government selected by the Att...
special verdict
n. the jury's decisions or findings of fact with the application ...
specific bequest
n. the gift in a will of a certain article to a certain person or...
specific devise
n. the gift in a will of a certain piece of real estate to a cert...
specific finding
n. a decision on a fact made by a jury in its verdict and which t...
specific legacy
n. a gift in a will of a certain article or property to a certain...
specific performance
n. the right of a party to a contract to demand that the defendan...
speculative damages
n. possible financial loss or expenses claimed by a plaintiff (pe...
speedy trial
n. in criminal prosecutions, the right of a defendant to demand a...
spendthrift clause
n. a provision in a trust or will that states that if a prospecti...
spontaneous exclamation
n. a sudden statement caused by the speaker having seen a surpris...
spot zoning
n. a provision in a general plan which benefits a single parcel o...
spousal support
n. payment for support of an ex-spouse (or a spouse while a divor...
springing interest
n. a future right to title to real property created by a deed or ...
standard of care
n. the watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reaso...
star chamber proceedings
n. any judicial or quasi-judicial action, trial or hearing which ...
stare decisis
: (stah-ree duh-sigh-sis) n. Latin for "to stand by a decision," ...
state action
n. in federal Civil Rights Acts, dating back to 1875, any activit...
state of domicile
n. the state in which a person has his/her permanent residence or...
status conference
n. a pre-trial meeting of attorneys before a judge required under...
statute of frauds
n. law in every state which requires that certain documents be in...
statute of limitations
n. a law which sets the maximum period which one can wait before ...
statutory offer of settlement
n. a written offer of a specific sum of money made by a defendant...
statutory rape
n. sexual intercourse with a female below the legal age of consen...
stay away order
n. a court order that a person may not come near and/or contact a...
stay of execution
n. a court-ordered delay in inflicting the death penalty.
stock certificate
n. printed document which states the name, incorporation state, d...
stock in trade
n. the inventory of merchandise held for sale.
stock option
n. the right to purchase stock in the future at a price set at th...
stockholders' derivative action
n.
stop and frisk
n. a law enforcement officer's search for a weapon confined to a ...
straw man
n. 1) a person to whom title to property or a business interest i...
strict construction
(narrow construction) n. interpreting the Constitution based on a...
strict liability
n. automatic responsibility (without having to prove negligence) ...
sua sponte
: (sooh-uh spahn-tay) adj. Latin for "of one's own will," meaning...
subchapter S corporation
n. the choice by a small corporation to be treated under "subchap...
subject to
adj. referring to the acquisition of title to real property upon ...
subordination agreement
n. a written contract in which a lender who has secured a loan by...
subornation of perjury
n. the crime of encouraging, inducing or assisting another in the...
subpena duces tecum
: (suh-pea-nah dooh-chess-take-uhm or dooh-kess-take-uhm): a cour...
substantial performance
n. in the law of contracts, fulfillment of the obligations agreed...
substantive law
n. law which establishes principles and creates and defines right...
substitute in
v. to take over a case from another lawyer, which must be confirm...
substituted service
n. accomplishing service (delivery) of legal documents required t...
substitution of attorney
n. a document in which the party to a lawsuit states that his/her...
successive sentences
n. in criminal law, the imposition of the penalty for each of sev...
sui generis
(sooh-ee jen-ur-iss) n. Latin for "one of a kind," unique.
sum certain
n. a specific amount stated in a contract or negotiable instrumen...
summary adjudication of issues
n. a court order ruling that certain factual issues are already d...
summary judgment
n. a court order ruling that no factual issues remain to be tried...
Superior Court
n. the name used in 16 states for the basic county trial court.
superseding cause
n. the same as an "intervening cause" or "supervening cause," whi...
suppression of evidence
n. 1) a judge's determination not to allow evidence to be admitte...
supremacy clause
n. Article VI, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which reads: "...
Supreme Court
n. 1) the highest court in the United States, which has the ultim...
surrogate court
n. a court in a few states (including New York) with jurisdiction...
suspended sentence
n. in criminal law, a penalty applied by a judge to a defendant c...
tainted evidence
n. in a criminal trial, information which has been obtained by il...
taking the Fifth
n. the refusal to testify on the ground that the testimony might ...
tangible property
n. physical articles (things) as distinguished from "incorporeal"...
tax costs
n. a motion to contest a claim for court costs submitted by a pre...
Tax Court
n. a federal agency with courts in major cities which hear taxpay...
tax evasion
n. intentional and fraudulent attempt to escape payment of taxes ...
tax return
n. the form to be filed with a taxing authority by a taxpayer whi...
tax sale
n. an auction sale of a taxpayer's property conducted by the fede...
temporary injunction
n. a court order prohibiting an action by a party to a lawsuit un...
temporary insanity
n. in a criminal prosecution, a defense by the accused that he/sh...
tenancy at sufferance
n. a "hold-over" tenancy after a lease has expired but before the...
tenancy at will
n. occupation of real property owned by another until such time a...
tenancy by the entirety
n. joint ownership of title by husband and wife, in which both ha...
tenancy in common
n. title to property (usually real property, but it can apply to ...
tentative trust
n. a bank account deposited in the name of the depositor "in trus...
testamentary capacity
n. having the mental competency to execute a will at the time the...
testamentary disposition
n. how the terms of a will divide the testator's (will writer's) ...
testamentary trust
n. a trust created by the terms of a will. Example: "The residue ...
third party
n. a person who is not a party to a contract or a transaction, bu...
third-party beneficiary
n. a person who is not a party to a contract but has legal rights...
Thirty-day notice
n. a notice by a landlord to a tenant on a month-to-month tenancy...
three strikes, you're out
n. recent (beginning 1994) legislation enacted in several states ...
three-day notice
n. a notice to pay delinquent rent or quit (leave or vacate) the ...
tide lands
n. land between the high and low tides, which is uncovered each d...
time is of the essence
n. a phrase often used in contracts which in effect says: the spe...
time served
n. the period a criminal defendant has been in jail, often while ...
title abstract
n. a history of the chain of title.
title insurance
n. a policy issued by an insurance company guaranteeing that the ...
title report
n. the written analysis of the status of title to real property, ...
title search
n. the examination of county records for the property's title his...
to wit
prep. that is to say. Example: "the passengers in the vehicle, to...
tools of trade
n. in bankruptcy law, the equipment a person requires in order to...
tort claims act
n. a federal or state act which, under certain conditions, waives...
trade fixture
n. a piece of equipment on or attached to the real estate which i...
trade name
n. a name of a business or one of its products which, by use of t...
trade secret
n. a process, method, plan, formula or other information unique t...
transfer agent
n. a person or company retained by a corporation to process trans...
transfer in contemplation of death
n. giving property under the belief of the giver that he/she is a...
transferred intent
n. in both criminal and tort (civil wrong) law, when an intent to...
treasury bill
n. a promissory note issued in multiples of $10,000 by the U.S. T...
treasury bond
n. a long-term bond issued by the U.S. Treasury.
treasury note
n. a promissory note issued by the U.S. Treasury, for a period of...
treasury stock
n. stock of a private corporation which was issued and then bough...
treble damages
n. tripling damages allowed by state statute in certain types of ...
trial court
n. the court which holds the original trial, as distinguished fro...
trial de novo
n. a form of appeal in which the appeals court holds a trial as i...
trier of fact
n. the judge or jury responsible for deciding factual issues in a...
triple net lease
n. a lease in which the lessee's (tenant's) rent includes a share...
true bill
n. the written decision of a Grand Jury (signed by the Grand Jury...
trust deed
n. another name for a deed of trust, a form of mortgage used in s...
trust fund
n. the principal (called the corpus) of a trust, made up of its a...
trustee in bankruptcy
n. a person appointed by a bankruptcy court to supervise the affa...
Truth in Lending Act
n. a federal statute which requires a commercial lender (bank, sa...
turn states' evidence
v. for a person accused of a crime to decide to give the prosecut...
Twinkie defense
n. a claim by a criminal defendant that at the time of the crime ...
ultimate fact
n. in a trial, a conclusion of fact which is logically deduced fr...
ultra vires
(uhl-trah veye-rehz) adj. Latin for "beyond powers," in the law o...
ultrahazardous activity
n. an action or process which is so inherently dangerous that the...
unclean hands
n. a legal doctrine which is a defense to a complaint, which stat...
under the influence
n. one of many phrases for being drunk on alcoholic beverages or ...
undisclosed principal
n. a person who uses an agent for his/her negotiations with a thi...
undivided interest
n. title to real property held by two or more persons without spe...
undue influence
n. the amount of pressure which one uses to force someone to exec...
unfair competition
n. wrongful and/or fraudulent business methods to gain an unfair ...
unified estate and gift tax
n. in federal estate taxes, the value of the estate plus gifts up...
Uniform Commercial Code
n. a set of statutes governing the conduct of business, sales, wa...
unilateral contract
n. an agreement to pay in exchange for performance, if the potent...
uninsured motorist clause
n. the clause in a policy of insurance on an automobile which pro...
unissued stock
n. a corporation's shares of stock which are authorized by its ar...
unjust enrichment
n. a benefit by chance, mistake or another's misfortune for which...
unlawful assembly
n. the act of assembling for the purpose of starting a riot or br...
unlawful detainer
n. 1) keeping possession of real property without a right, such a...
unreasonable search and seizure
n. search of an individual or his/her premises (including an auto...
use tax
n. a state tax on goods purchased in another state for use in the...
valuable consideration
n. a necessary element of a contract, which confers a benefit on ...
vehicular manslaughter
n. the crime of causing the death of a human being due to illegal...
vested remainder
n. the absolute right to receive title after a presently existing...
vexatious litigation
n. filing a lawsuit with the knowledge that it has no legal basis...
vicarious liability
n. sometimes called "imputed liability," attachment of responsibi...
void for vagueness
adj. referring to a statute defining a crime which is so vague th...
voir dire
(vwahr [with a near-silent "r"] deer) n. from French "to see to s...
voluntary bankruptcy
n. the filing for bankruptcy by a debtor who believes he/she/it c...
voting trust
n. a trust which solicits vote proxies of shareholders of a corpo...
warranty deed
n. a deed to real property which guarantees that the seller owns ...
watered stock
n. shares of stock of a corporation which have been issued at a p...
weight of evidence
n. the strength, value and believability of evidence presented on...
wet reckless
n. a plea to a charge of reckless driving which was "alcohol rela...
white collar crime
n. a generic term for crimes involving commercial fraud, cheating...
widow's election
n. the choice a widow makes between accepting what her husband le...
will contest
n. a lawsuit challenging the validity of a will and/or its terms....
wind up
v. to liquidate (sell or dispose of) assets of a corporation or p...
winding up
n. liquidating the assets of a corporation or partnership, settli...
witness stand
n. a chair at the end of the judge's bench on the jury box side, ...
words of art
n. 1) specialized language with meaning peculiar to a particular ...
work product
n. the writings, notes, memoranda, reports on conversations with ...
Workers' Compensation Acts
n. state statutes which establish liability of employers for inju...
Workmen's Compensation
n. a former name for worker's compensation before the unisex titl...
World Court
n. the Court of International Justice, founded by the United Nati...
writ of attachment
n. a court order directing a sheriff (or other law enforcement of...
writ of coram nobis
: (writ of core-uhm noh-bis) n. from Latin for "in our presence,"...
writ of execution
n. a court order to a sheriff to enforce a judgment by levying on...
writ of mandate
(mandamus) n. a court order to a government agency, including ano...
wrongful death
n. the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of ...
wrongful termination
n. a right of an employee to sue his/her employer for damages (lo...
your honor
n. the proper way to address a judge in court.
youthful offenders
n. under-age people accused of crimes who are processed through a...

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

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