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a fortiori
(ah-for-she-ory) prep. Latin for "with even stronger reason," whi...
a priori assumption
(ah-pree-ory) n. from Latin, an assumption that is true without f...
a.k.a.
prep. abbreviation for "also known as" when someone uses differen...
ab initio
prep. lawyer Latin for "from the start," as "it was legal ab init...
abandon
v. to intentionally and permanently give up, surrender, leave, de...
abandoned property
n. property left behind (often by a tenant) intentionally and per...
abandonment
n. the act of intentionally and permanently giving up, surrenderi...
abate
v. to do away with a problem, such as a public or private nuisanc...
abatement
n. 1) the removal of a problem which is against public or private...
abduction
n. the criminal taking away of a person by persuasion (convincing...
abet
v. to help someone commit a crime, including helping them escape ...
abeyance
1) n. when the owner- ship of property has not been determined. E...
able-bodied
adj. physically capable of working at a job or in the military. I...
abortion
n. the termination of pregnancy by various means, including medic...
abrogate
v. to annul or repeal a law or pass legislation that contradicts ...
abscond
v. 1) traditionally to leave a jurisdiction (where the court, a p...
absolute
adj. complete, and without condition.
abstention doctrine
n. when the Supreme Court refuses to exercise its federal constit...
abstract
n. in general, a summary of a record or document, such as an abst...
abstract of judgment
n. a written summary of a judgment which states how much money th...
abstract of title
n. the written report on a title search which shows the history o...
abuse of discretion
n. a polite way of saying a trial judge has made such a bad mista...
abuse of process
n. the use of legal process by illegal, malicious, or perverted m...
abut
v. when two parcels of real property touch each other.
acceleration
n. 1) speeding up the time when there is vesting (absolute owners...
acceleration clause
n. a provision in a contract or promissory note that if some spec...
accept
v. to receive something with approval and intention to keep it. T...
acceptance
n. 1) receiving something from another with the intent to keep it...
acceptance of service
n. agreement by a defendant (or his/her attorney) in a legal acti...
access
n. 1) in real estate the right and ability to get to the property...
accessory
n. a second-string player who helps in the commission of a crime ...
accommodation
n. 1) a favor done without compensation (pay or consideration), s...
accomplice
n. someone who assists in the commission of a crime and, unlike a...
accord and satisfaction
n. an agreement to accept less than is legally due in order to wr...
account stated
n. a statement between a creditor or the person to whom money is ...
accounts payable
n. bills that are owed.
accounts receivable
n. the amounts of money due or owed to a business or professional...
accretion
n. 1) in real estate, the increase of the actual land on a stream...
accrue
v. 1) growing or adding to, such as interest on a debt or investm...
accusation
n. 1) in legal terms accusation means officially charging someone...
accused
n. a person charged with a crime.
acknowledge
v. 1) generally to admit something, whether bad, good or indiffer...
acknowledgment
n. the section at the end of a document where a notary public ver...
acquit
v. what a jury or judge sitting without a jury does at the end of...
acquittal
n. what an accused criminal defendant receives if he/she is found...
act
1) n. in general, any action by a person. 2) n. a statutory plan ...
act of God
n. a natural catastrophe which no one can prevent such as an eart...
action
n. a lawsuit in which one party (or parties) sues another.
actionable
adj. when enough facts or circumstances exist to meet the legal r...
actual controversy
n. a true legal dispute which leads to a genuine lawsuit rather t...
actual notice
n. having been informed directly of something or having seen it o...
ad hoc
adj. Latin shorthand meaning "for this purpose only." Thus, an ad...
ad litem
adj. legal Latin meaning "for the purposes of the legal action on...
ad seriatim
adj. (add sear-ee-ah-tim) Latin for "one after another".
ad valorem
adj. Latin for "based on value," which applies to property taxes ...
addendum
n. an addition to a completed written document. Most commonly thi...
adeem
v. to revoke a gift made in a will by destroying, selling or givi...
ademption
n. the act of adeeming, which is revoking (getting rid of) a gift...
adequate remedy
n. a remedy (money or performance) awarded by a court or through ...
adhesion contract
n.(contract of adhesion) a contract (often a signed form) so imba...
adjourn
v. the final closing of a meeting, such as a convention, a meetin...
adjudication
n. the act of giving a judicial ruling such as a judgment or decr...
adjusted basis
n. in accounting, the original cost of an asset adjusted for cost...
adjuster
n. an employee (usually a non-lawyer) of an insurance company or ...
administer
v. 1) to conduct the duties of a job or position. 2) particularly...
administrative hearing
n. a hearing before any governmental agency or before an administ...
administrative law
n. the procedures created by administrative agencies (governmenta...
administrative law judge
n. a professional hearing officer who works for the government to...
Administrative Procedure Act
n. the federal act which established the rules and regulations fo...
administrator
n. the person appointed by the court to handle the estate of some...
admiralty
n. concerning activities which occur at sea, including on small b...
admissible evidence
n. evidence which the trial judge finds is useful in helping the ...
admission
n. a statement made by a party to a lawsuit or a criminal defenda...
admission against interest
n. an admission of the truth of a fact by any person, but especia...
admission of evidence
n. a judge's acceptance of evidence in a trial.
admission of guilt
n. a statement by someone accused of a crime that he/she committe...
admission to bail
n. an order of a court in a criminal case allowing an accused def...
admit
v. 1) to state something is true in answering a complaint filed i...
adopt
v. 1) to take on the relationship of parent to child of another p...
adoption
n. the taking of a child into one's family, creating a parent to ...
adultery
n. consensual sexual relations when one of the participants is le...
advance
n. a payment which is made before it is legally due, such as befo...
advancement
n. a gift made by a person to one of his or her children or heirs...
adverse
adj. clearly contrary, such as an adverse party being the one sui...
adverse interest
n. a right or concern that is contrary to the interest or claim o...
adverse party
n. the opposite side in a lawsuit. Sometimes when there are numer...
adverse possession
n. a means to acquire title to land through obvious occupancy of ...
adverse witness
n. a witness in a trial who is found by the judge to be adverse t...
advisory opinion
n. an opinion stated by a judge or a court upon the request of a ...
affiant
n. a person who signs an affidavit and swears to its truth before...
affidavit
n. 1) any written document in which the signer swears under oath ...
affirm
v. what an appeals court does if it agrees with and confirms a lo...
affirmative action
n. the process of a business or governmental agency in which it g...
affirmative defense
n. part of an answer to a charge or complaint in which a defendan...
affix
v. 1) to attach something to real estate in a permanent way, incl...
after-acquired property
n. 1) personal or real property acquired by a debtor after he/she...
after-acquired title
n. title to property acquired after the owner attempts to sell or...
after-discovered evidence
n. evidence found by a losing party after a trial has been comple...
age discrimination
n. an employer's unfair treatment of a current or potential emplo...
age of consent
n.
agency
n. the relationship of a person (called the agent) who acts on be...
agent
n. a person who is authorized to act for another (the agent's pri...
agent for acceptance of service
n. states require that a corporation name an actual person (usual...
aggravated assault
n. the crime of physically attacking another person which results...
agreed statement
n. occasionally the two parties on opposite sides of a lawsuit or...
agreement
1) n. any meeting of the minds, even without legal obligation. 2)...
aid and abet
v. help commit a crime. A lawyer redundancy since abet means aid,...
aleatory
adj. uncertain; usually applied to insurance contracts in which p...
alias
n. 1) a name used other than the given name of a person or refere...
alibi
n. an excuse used by a person accused or suspected of a crime. In...
alien
1) n. a person who is not a citizen of the country. 2) in the Uni...
alienation
n. the transfer of title to real property, voluntarily and comple...
alienation of affections
n. convincing a wife to leave her husband, often for another man,...
alimony
n. support paid by one ex-spouse to the other as ordered by a cou...
aliquot:
(al-ee-kwoh) adj. a definite fractional share, usually applied wh...
all the estate I own
n. a phrase from a poorly drafted will which means the possession...
allegation
n. a statement of claimed fact contained in a complaint (a writte...
allege
v. to claim a fact is true, commonly in a complaint which is file...
alluvion
n. an increase in one's land from soil deposited on the shoreline...
alter ego
n. a corporation, organization or other entity set up to provide ...
alternative pleading
n. a legal fiction in which a party to a lawsuit or a defendant c...
ambiguity
n. when language has more than one meaning. If the ambiguity is o...
amend
v. to alter or change by adding, subtracting, or substituting. On...
amended complaint
n. what results when the party suing (plaintiff or petitioner) ch...
amended pleading
n. a changed written pleading in a lawsuit, including complaint o...
American Bar Association
n. the largest organization of American lawyers, which has no off...
American Civil Liberties Union
n. a membership organization founded in 1920 to defend and protec...
American Depository Receipt
n. called in the banking trade an ADR, it is a receipt issued by ...
amicus curiae
n. Latin for "friend of the court," a party or an organization in...
amnesty
n. a blanket abolition of an offense by the government, with the ...
amortization
n. a periodic payment plan to pay a debt in which the interest an...
ancillary administration
n. administration of an estate's assets in another state. An "anc...
ancillary jurisdiction
n. a term used in federal courts when the court decides matters n...
and
conj. this little word is important in law, particularly when com...
annuity
n. 1) an annual sum paid from a policy or gift. 2) short for a pu...
answer
n. in law, a written pleading filed by a defendant to respond to ...
antenuptial (prenuptial) agreement
n. a written contract between two people who are about to marry, ...
anticipatory breach
n. when a party to a contract repudiates (reneges on) his/her obl...
antitrust laws
n. acts adopted by Congress to outlaw or restrict business practi...
apparent authority
n. the appearance of being the agent of another (employer or prin...
appeal
1) v. to ask a higher court to reverse the decision of a trial co...
appear
v. for a party or an attorney to show up in court.
appearance
n. the act of a party or an attorney showing up in court. Once it...
appellant
n. the party who appeals a trial court decision he/she/it has los...
appellate court
n. a court of appeals which hears appeals from lower court decisi...
appellee
n. in some jurisdictions the name used for the party who has won ...
appraise
v. to professionally evaluate the value of property includ- ing r...
appraiser
n. a professional who makes appraisals of the value of property. ...
appreciate
v. to increase in value over a period of time through the natural...
appreciation
n. the increase in value through the natural course of events as ...
approach
v. short for "approach the bench," as in "may I approach, your ho...
approach the bench
v. an attorney's movement from the counsel table to the front of ...
approach the witness
v. a request by an attorney to the judge for permission to go up ...
appurtenant
adj. pertaining to something that attaches. In real property law ...
arbiter
n. in some jurisdictions the name for a referee appointed by the ...
arbitrary
adj. not supported by fair or substantial cause or reason. Most o...
arbitration
n. a mini-trial, which may be for a lawsuit ready to go to trial,...
arbitrator
n. one who conducts an arbitration, and serves as a judge who con...
arguendo
prep. Latin meaning "for the sake of argument," used by lawyers i...
argumentative
adj. the characterization of a question asked by the opposing att...
arm's length
adj. the description of an agreement made by two parties freely a...
arraign
v. to bring a criminal defendant before the court, at which time ...
arraignment
n. the hearing in which a person charged with a crime is arraigne...
arrears
n. money not paid when due, usually the sum of a series of unpaid...
arrest
v. 1) to take or hold a suspected criminal with legal authority, ...
arrest warrant
n. a judge's order to law enforcement officers to arrest and brin...
arson
n. the felony crime of intentionally burning a house or other bui...
article
n. a paragraph or section of any writing such as each portion of ...
articles of impeachment
n. the charges brought (filed) to impeach a public official. In r...
articles of incorporation
n. the basic charter of a corporation which spells out the name, ...
as is
adj. description of a condition in a sales contract in which the ...
assault
1) v. the threat or attempt to strike another, whether successful...
assault and battery
n. the combination of the two crimes of threat (assault) and actu...
assess
v. to set a value on property, usually for the purpose of calcula...
asset
n. generally any item of property that has monetary value, includ...
assign
1) v. to transfer to another person any asset such as real proper...
assigned risk
n. a person whose official driving record (accidents and tickets)...
assignee
n. a person to whom property is transferred by sale or gift, part...
assignment
n. the act of transferring an interest in property or some right ...
assignment for benefit of creditors
n. a method used for a debtor to work out a payment schedule to h...
Associate Justice
n. a member of the U.S. Supreme Court appointed by the President ...
association
n. any group of people who have joined together for a particular ...
assume
v. to take over the liability for a debt on a promissory note, wh...
assumption
n. the act of taking over a debt as part of payment for property ...
assumption of risk
n. 1) taking a chance in a potentially dangerous situation. This ...
assured
n. the person or entity that is insured, often found in insurance...
at will employment
n. a provision found in many employment contracts which suggest t...
attached
adj. 1) referring to two buildings which are connected, or equipm...
attachment
n. the seizing of money or property prior to getting a judgment i...
attempt
v. and n. to actually try to commit a crime and have the ability ...
attest
v. 1) to confirm (usually in writing) that a document is genuine....
attestation
n. the act of witnessing a signature for the purpose of declaring...
attorney
n. 1) an agent or someone authorized to act for another. 2) a per...
attorney at law (or attorney-at-law)
n. (or attorney-at-law) a slightly fancier way of saying attorney...
Attorney General
n. in each state and the federal government the highest ranking l...
attorney of record
n. the attorney who has appeared in court and/or signed pleadings...
attorney's advertising
n. the commercials which appear on television or crowd the yellow...
attorney's fee
n. the payment for legal services. It can take several forms 1) h...
attorney's work product
n. written materials, charts, notes of conversations and investig...
attorney-client privilege
n. the requirement that an attorney may not reveal communications...
attorney-in-fact
n. someone specifically named by another through a written "power...
attractive nuisance doctrine
n. a legal doctrine which makes a person negligent for leaving a ...
audit
n. an examination by a trained accountant of the financial record...
auditor
n. an accountant who conducts an audit to verify the accuracy of ...
authorities
n. 1) previous decisions by courts of appeal which provide legal ...
authority
n. permission, a right coupled with the power to do an act or ord...
authorize
v. to officially empower someone to act.
avulsion
n. the change in the border of two properties due to a sudden cha...
award
1) n. the decision of an arbitrator or commissioner (or any non-j...
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
1) n. the money or bond put up to secure the release of a person ...
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 ...
bailee
n. a person, also called a custodian, with whom some article is l...
bailiff
n. 1) a court official, usually a deputy sheriff, who keeps order...
bailment
n. 1) the act of placing property in the custody and control of a...
bailor
n. a person who leaves goods in the custody of another, usually u...
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)...
bank
n. 1) an officially chartered institution empowered to receive de...
bankruptcy
n. a federal system of statutes and courts which permits persons ...
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
1) n. collectively all attorneys, as "the bar," which comes from ...
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...
bargain
n. 1) a mutual agreement or contract between two parties which is...
barratry
n. creating legal business by stirring up disputes and quarrels, ...
barrister
n. in the United States a fancy name for a lawyer or attorney. In...
basis
n. the original cost of an asset to be used to determine the amou...
battery
n. the actual intentional striking of someone, with intent to har...
beach bum trust provision
n. a requirement in a trust that a beneficiary can only receive p...
bearer
n. anyone holding something, such as a check, promissory note, ba...
bearer paper
n. negotiable instrument (e.g. a bond) which is payable to whoeve...
belief
n. convinced of the truth of a statement or allegation. In a comm...
bench
n. 1) general term for all judges, as in "the bench," or for the ...
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...
beneficiary
n. a broad definition for any person or entity (like a charity) w...
benefit
1) n. any profit or acquired right or privilege, primarily throug...
benefit of counsel
n. having the opportunity to have an attorney and legal advice in...
bequeath
v. to give personal property under provisions of a will (as disti...
bequest
n. the gift of personal property under the terms of a will. Beque...
best evidence rule
n. the legal doctrine that an original piece of evidence, particu...
bestiality
n. copulation by a human with an animal, which is a crime in all ...
beyond a reasonable doubt
adj. part of jury instructions in all criminal trials, in which t...
BFP
n. slang for bona fide purchaser, which means someone who purchas...
bias
n. the predisposition of a judge, arbitrator, prospective juror, ...
bid
n. an offer to purchase with a specific price stated. It includes...
bifurcate
v. the order or ruling of a judge that one issue in a case can be...
bifurcation
n. the act of a judge in dividing issues before a trial so that o...
bigamy
n. the condition of having two wives or two husbands at the same ...
bilateral contract
n. an agreement in which the parties exchange promises for each t...
bill
n. 1) what is commonly called a "check" by which the signer requi...
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,...
binder
n. a written statement of the key terms of an agreement, in parti...
blackmail
n. the crime of threatening to reveal embarrassing, disgraceful o...
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...
boilerplate
n., adj. slang for provisions in a contract, form or legal pleadi...
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...
bond
n. 1) written evidence of debt issued by a company with the terms...
bondsman
n. 1) someone who sells bail bonds. 2) a surety (guarantor or ins...
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...
bottomry
n. a mortgage contract in which a ship and/or its freight is pled...
boycott
n. organized refusal to purchase products or patronize a store to...
breach
1) n. literally, a break. A breach may be a failure to perform a ...
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 ...
bribery
n. the crime of giving or taking money or some other valuable ite...
brief
1) n. a written legal argument, usually in a format prescribed by...
broker
n. in general, a person who arranges contracts between a buyer an...
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
n. anything that results in a restrictive load upon something. Th...
burden of proof
n. the requirement that the plaintiff (the party bringing a civil...
burglary
n. the crime of breaking and entering into a structure for the pu...
business
n. any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does no...
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...
bylaws
n. the written rules for conduct of a corporation, association, p...
C.I.F.
n. the total of cost, insurance and freight charges to be paid on...
calendar
1) n. the list of cases to be called for trial before a particula...
calendar call
n. the hearing at which a case is set for trial.
call
n. the demand by a corporation that a stockholder pay an installm...
calumny
n. the intentional and generally vicious false accusation of a cr...
cancel
v. to cross out, annul, destroy, void and/or rescind a document. ...
cancellation
cancel
caning
n. a punishment for crimes employed in certain Asian countries (n...
canon law
n. laws and regulations over ecclesiastical (church) matters deve...
cap
n. slang for maximum, as the most interest that can be charged on...
capital
1) n. from Latin for caput, meaning "head," the basic assets of a...
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...
capitalization
n. 1) the act of counting anticipated earnings and expenses as ca...
capitalized value
n. anticipated earnings which are discounted (given a lower value...
capricious
adv., adj. unpredictable and subject to whim, often used to refer...
caption
n. the first section of any written legal pleading (papers) to be...
care
n. in law, to be attentive, prudent and vigilant. Essentially, ca...
careless
adj., adv. 1) negligent. 2) the opposite of careful. A careless a...
carnal knowledge
n. from Latin carnalis for "fleshly:" sexual intercourse between ...
carrier
n. in general, any person or business which transports property o...
carryback
n. in taxation accounting, using a current tax year's deductions,...
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...
carryover
n. in taxation accounting, using a tax year's deductions, busines...
cartel
n. 1) an arrangement among supposedly independent corporations or...
case
n. short for a cause of action, lawsuit, or the right to sue (as ...
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...
casual
adj. defining something that happens by chance, without being for...
casualty
n. 1) an accident which could not have been foreseen or guarded a...
casualty loss
n. in taxation, loss due to damage which qualifies for a casualty...
cause
from Latin causa 1) v. to make something happen. 2) n. the reason...
cause of action
n. the basis of a lawsuit founded on legal grounds and alleged fa...
caveat
n. (kah-vee-ott) from Latin caveat for "let him beware." 1) a war...
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...
certiorari
n. (sersh-oh-rare-ee) a writ (order) of a higher court to a lower...
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
n. the right of each attorney in a jury trial to request that a j...
challenge for cause
n. a request that a prospective juror be dismissed because there ...
chambers
n. the private office of a judge, usually close to the courtroom ...
champerty
n. an agreement between the party suing in a lawsuit (plaintiff) ...
chancellor
n. from the old English legal system, a chancellor is a judge who...
chancery
n. a court that can order acts performed. Today chancery courts a...
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...
charge
n. 1) in a criminal case, the specific statement of what crime th...
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...
charity
n. 1) in general the sentiment of benevolence, doing good works, ...
charter
n. the name for articles of incorporation in some states, as in a...
chattel
n. an item of personal property which is movable, as distin-guish...
chattel mortgage
n. an outmoded written document which made a chattel (tangible pe...
check
n. a draft upon a particular account in a bank, in which the draw...
Chief Justice
n. the presiding judge of any State Supreme Court and the U.S. Su...
child
n. 1) a person's natural offspring. 2) a person 14 years and unde...
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 ...
churning
n. the unethical and usually illegal practice of excessive buying...
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...
citation
n. 1) a notice to appear in court due to the probable commission ...
cite
v. 1) to make reference to a decision in another case to make a l...
citizen
n. person who by place of birth, nationality of one or both paren...
civil
adj. 1) that part of the law that encompasses business, contracts...
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
1) v. to make a demand for money, for property, or for enforcemen...
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
n. in legal (not sociological) terms, all those persons in the sa...
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...
clerk
n. 1) an official or employee who handles the business of a court...
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
n. the final step in the sale and purchase of real estate in whic...
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...
co-trustee
n. a trustee of a trust when there is more than one trustee servi...
code
n. a collection of written laws gathered together, usually coveri...
Code of Professional Responsibility
n. a set of rules governing the ethical conduct of attorneys in t...
codefendant
n. when more than one person or entity is sued in one lawsuit, ea...
codicil
n. a written amendment to a person's will, which must be dated, s...
codify
v. to arrange and label a system of laws.
cohabitation
n. living together in the same residence, generally either as hus...
coinsurance
n. an insurance policy in which the insurance company insures onl...
collateral
1) n. property pledged to secure a loan or debt, usually funds or...
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...
collusion
n. where two persons (or business entities through their officers...
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...
comaker
n. when two or more people sign a check or a promissory note, eac...
comity
n. when one court defers to the jurisdiction of another in a case...
commencement of action
n. an action (a lawsuit) commences (begins officially) when the p...
comment
n. a statement made by a judge or an attorney during a trial whic...
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...
commingling
n. the act of mixing the funds belonging to one party with those ...
commission
n. 1) a fee paid based on a percentage of the sale made by an emp...
commitment
n. a judge's order sending someone to jail or prison, upon convic...
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...
commutation
n. the act of reducing a criminal sentence resulting from a crimi...
commute a sentence
v.
company
n. any formal business entity for profit, which may be a corporat...
comparative negligence
n. a rule of law applied in accident cases to determine responsib...
compensation
n. 1) payment for work performed, by salary, wages, commission or...
compensatory damages
n. damages recovered in payment for actual injury or economic los...
competent
adj. 1) in general, able to act in the circumstances, including t...
complainant
n. a person or entity who begins a lawsuit by filing a complaint ...
complaint
n. the first document filed with the court (actually with the Cou...
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
1) n. an agreement between opposing parties to settle a dispute o...
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'...
concealment
n. fraudulent failure to reveal information which someone knows a...
conclusion
n. 1) in general, the end. 2) in a trial, when all evidence has b...
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...
condemn
v. 1) for a public agency to determine that a building is unsafe ...
condemnation
n. the legal process by which a governmental body exercises its r...
condemnation action
n. a lawsuit brought by a public agency to acquire private proper...
condition
n. a term or requirement stated in a contract, which must be met ...
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...
condominium
n. title to a unit of real property which, in reality, is the air...
condone
v. 1) to forgive, support, and/or overlook moral or legal failure...
confess
v. in criminal law, to voluntarily state that one is guilty of a ...
confession
n. the statement of one charged with a crime that he/she committe...
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...
confiscate
v. to take one's goods or property without legal right, although ...
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...
confrontation
n. 1) fight or argument. 2) the right of a criminal defendant "to...
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
1) n. a voluntary agreement to another's proposition. 2) v. to vo...
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 ...
conservatee
n. a person whom a court has determined because of physical or me...
conservator
n. a guardian and protector appointed by a judge to protect and m...
consideration
n. 1) payment or money. 2) a vital element in the law of contract...
consign
v. 1) to deliver goods to a merchant to sell on behalf of the par...
consignee
n. a person or business holding another's goods for sale or for d...
consignment
n. the act of consigning goods to one who will sell them for the ...
consortium
n. 1) a group of separate businesses or business people joining t...
conspiracy
n. when people work together by agreement to commit an illegal ac...
conspirator
n. a person or entity who enters into a plot with one or more oth...
constable
n. a law officer for a particular area such as a rural township, ...
constitution
n. the fundamental, underlying document which establishes the gov...
constitutional rights
n. rights given or reserved to the people by the U.S. Constitutio...
construction
n. the act of a lawyer or court in interpreting and giving meanin...
constructive
adj. a legal fiction for treating a situation as if it were actua...
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...
construe
v. to determine the meaning of the words of a written document, s...
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...
contiguous
adj. connected or "next to", usually meaning adjoining pieces of ...
contingency
n. an event that might not occur.
contingent
adj. possible, but not certain.
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 ...
continuance
n. a postponement of a date of a trial, hearing or other court ap...
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...
contra
adj. Latin for "against" or "opposite to". This usage is usually ...
contract
1) n. an agreement with specific terms between two or more person...
contract of adhesion
n.
contractor
n. 1) a person or entity that enters into a contract. 2) commonly...
contribution
n. 1) donation to a charity or political campaign. 2) the sharing...
contributory negligence
n. a doctrine of common law that if a person was injured in part ...
control
1) n. the power to direct, manage, oversee and/or restrict the af...
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...
controversy
n. 1) disagreement, argument or quarrel. 2) a dispute, which must...
conversion
n. a civil wrong (tort) in which one converts another's property ...
convey
v. to transfer title (official ownership) to real property (or an...
conveyance
n. a generic term for any written document which transfers (conve...
convict
1) v. to find guilty of a crime after a trial. 2) n. a person who...
conviction
n. the result of a criminal trial in which the defendant has been...
cooperative
n. an association of individual businesses, farmers, ranchers or ...
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 ...
copartner
n. one who is a member of a partnership. The prefix "co" is a red...
copyright
1) n. the exclusive right of the author or creator of a literary ...
coroner
n. a county official with the responsibility to determine the cau...
corporate opportunity
n. a business opportunity which becomes known to a corporate offi...
corporation
n. an organization formed with state governmental approval to act...
corpus
n. 1) Latin for body. 2) the principal (usually money, securities...
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...
corroborate
v. to confirm and sometimes add substantiating (reinforcing) test...
corroborating evidence
n. evidence which strengthens, adds to, or confirms already exist...
cosign
v. to sign a promissory note or other obligation in order to shar...
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...
costs
n. shorthand for court costs.
cotenancy
n. the situation when more than one person has an interest in rea...
cotenant
n. one who holds an interest in real property together with one o...
counsel
1) n. a lawyer, attorney, attorney-at-law, counsellor, counsellor...
counsellor
n. a licensed attorney.
count
n. each separate statement in a complaint which states a cause of...
counter offer
n. an offer made in response to a previous offer by the other par...
counterclaim
n. a retaliatory claim by a defendant against a plaintiff in a la...
counterfeit
1) adj. describing a document, particularly money, which is forge...
counterpart
n. in the law of contracts, a written paper which is one of sever...
course
n. in the midst of or actively involved in at that time, as "in t...
course of employment
adj. actively involved in a person's employment at a particular t...
court
n. 1) the judge, as in "The court rules in favor of the plaintiff...
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.
court-martial
1) n. a military court for trying offenses in violation of army, ...
covenant
1) n. a promise in a written contract or a deed of real property....
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...
credibility
n. whether testimony is worthy of belief, based on competence of ...
credible witness
n. a witness whose testimony is more than likely to be true based...
creditor
n. a person or entity to whom a debt is owed.
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
n. a violation of a law in which there is injury to the public or...
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
1) n. a popular term for anyone who has committed a crime, whethe...
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...
cross-complaint
n. after a complaint has been filed against a defendant for damag...
cross-examination
n. the opportunity for the attorney (or an unrepresented party) t...
cruel and unusual punishment
n. governmental penalties against convicted criminal defendants w...
cruelty
n. the intentional and malicious infliction of physical or psycho...
cruelty to animals
n. the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death on a...
culpability
culpable
culpable
adj. sufficiently responsible for criminal acts or negligence to ...
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...
curtesy
n. in old common law, the right of a surviving husband to a life ...
custody
n. 1) holding property under one's control. 2) law enforcement of...
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...
D.A.
n. slang for District Attorney.
d.b.a.
n. short for "doing business as," when a person or entity uses a ...
D.U.I.
n. short for driving under the influence of alcohol.
D.W.I.
n. 1) short for driving while intoxicated. 2) abbreviation for dy...
damages
n. the amount of money which a plaintiff (the person suing) may b...
dangerous
adj. unsafe, hazardous, fraught with risk. It can be negligence f...
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...
dealer
n. anyone who buys goods or property for the purpose of selling a...
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...
debenture
n. a form of bond certificate issued by a corporation to show fun...
debt
n. 1) a sum of money due to another. 2) obligation to deliver par...
debtor
n. 1) a person or entity that owes an amount of money or favor to...
debtor in possession
n. in bankruptcy proceedings when a debtor has filed for the righ...
deceased
1) adj. dead. 2) n. the person who has died, as used in the handl...
decedent
n. the person who has died, sometimes referred to as the "decease...
deceit
n. dishonesty, fraudulent conduct, false statements made knowing ...
deception
n. the act of misleading another through intentionally false stat...
decide
v. for a judge, arbitrator, court of appeals or other magistrate ...
decision
n. judgment, decree or determination of findings of fact and/or o...
declarant
n. the person making a statement, usually written and signed by t...
declaration
n. 1) any statement made, particularly in writing. 2) a written s...
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...
decree
n. in general, synonymous with judgment. However, in some areas o...
decriminalization
n. the repeal or amendment of statutes which made certain acts cr...
dedication
n. the giving of land by a private person or entity to the govern...
deduction
n. an expenditure which an income tax payer may subtract from gro...
deed
1) n. the written document which transfers title (ownership) or a...
deed of trust
n. a document which pledges real property to secure a loan, used ...
defalcation
v. from Latin for "deduction," withholding or misappropriating fu...
defamation
n. the act of making untrue statements about another which damage...
default
1) n. failure to respond to a summons and complaint served on a p...
default judgment
n. if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to a complaint in...
defeasance
n. an antiquated word for a document which terminates the effect ...
defect
n. an imperfection, quite often so great that the machinery or wr...
defective
adj. not being capable of fulfilling its function, ranging from a...
defective title
n. an apparent title to real property which fails because a claim...
defendant
n. 1) the party sued in a civil lawsuit or the party charged with...
defense
n. 1) a general term for the effort of an attorney representing a...
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 ...
deficit
n. a shortage, less than is due, or in the case of a business or ...
defraud
v. to use deceit, falsehoods or trickery to obtain money, an obje...
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...
delegate
1) v. to assign authority to another. 2) n. a person chosen to at...
deleterious
adj. harmful.
deliberate
1) adj. (dee-lib-er-et) done with care and intention or premedita...
deliberation
n. the act of considering, discussing and, hopefully, reaching a ...
delinquent
1) adj. not paid in full amount or on time. 2) n. short for an un...
deliver
v. to actually hand an object, money or document to another.
delivery
n. the actual handing to another of an object, money or document ...
demand
1) v. to claim as a need, requirement or entitlement, as in to de...
demand note
n. a promissory note which is payable any time the holder of the ...
demise
1) v. an old-fashioned expression meaning to lease or transfer (c...
demonstrative evidence
n. actual objects, pictures, models and other devices which are s...
demurrer
n. (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint filed in a law...
denial
n. a statement in the defendant's answer to a complaint in a laws...
dependent
1) n. a person receiving support from another person (such as a p...
depletion
n. when a natural resource (particularly oil) is being used up. T...
deponent
n. a person testifying (stating answers in response to questions)...
deportation
n. the act of expelling a foreigner from a country, usually becau...
depose
v. 1) to ask questions of a witness or a party to a lawsuit at a ...
deposition
n. the taking and recording of testimony of a witness under oath ...
depreciate
v. in accounting, to reduce the value of an asset each year theor...
depreciation
n. the actual or theoretical gradual loss of value of an asset (p...
depreciation reserve
n. a business fund in which the probable replacement cost of equi...
derelict
n. something or someone who is abandoned, such as a ship left to ...
dereliction
n. 1) abandoning possession, which is sometimes used in the phras...
derivative action
n. a lawsuit brought by a corporation shareholder against the dir...
descent
n. the rules of inheritance established by law in cases in which ...
descent and distribution
n. the system of laws which determine who will inherit and divide...
desert
v. to intentionally abandon a person or thing.
desertion
n. the act of abandoning, particularly leaving one's spouse and/o...
determinable
adj. defining something which may be terminated upon the occurren...
deuce
n. slang term for a drunk driving conviction. The term originated...
devise
1) v. an old-fashioned word for giving real property by a will, a...
devisee
n. a person who receives a gift of real property by a will. The d...
devolution
n. 1) the transfer of title to real property by the automatic ope...
devolve
v. when property is automatically transferred from one party to a...
dicta
n. the plural of dictum.
dictum
n. Latin for "remark," a comment by a judge in a decision or ruli...
diligence
n. reasonable care or attention to a matter, which is good enough...
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...
director
n. a member of the governing board of a corporation or associatio...
disability
n. 1) a condition which prevents one from performing all usual ph...
disbar
v. to remove an attorney from the list of practicing attorneys fo...
disbarment
n. the ultimate discipline of an attorney, which is taking away h...
discharge
v. 1) to perform one's duties. 2) to dismiss someone from a job. ...
discharge in bankruptcy
n. an order given by the bankruptcy judge, at the conclusion of a...
disclaimer
n. 1) denial or renunciation by someone of his/her title to prope...
discount
n. the payment of less than the full amount due on a promissory n...
discovery
n. the entire efforts of a party to a lawsuit and his/her/its att...
discretion
n. the power of a judge, public official or a private party (unde...
discrimination
n. unequal treatment of persons, for a reason which has nothing t...
disfigure
v. to cause permanent change in a person's body, particularly by ...
dishonor
v. to refuse to pay the face amount of a check or the amount due ...
disinherit
v. to intentionally take actions to guarantee that a person who w...
disinheritance
n. the act of disinheriting.
disjunctive allegations
n. the attempt to claim in a civil lawsuit that one thing "or" an...
dismiss
v. the ruling by a judge that all or a portion (one or more of th...
dismissal
n. 1) the act of voluntarily terminating a criminal prosecution o...
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...
disposition
n. the court's final determination of a lawsuit or criminal charg...
dispossess
v. to eject someone from real property, either legally or by self...
dissent
n. 1) the opinion of a judge of a court of appeals, including the...
dissenting opinion
n.
dissolution
n. modern, gentler sounding, term for divorce, officially used in...
dissolution of corporation
n. termination of a corporation, either a) voluntarily by resolut...
distinguish
v. to argue that the rule in one appeals court decision does not ...
distress
1) n. the self-help taking of another's possessions in order to f...
distribute
v. 1) the dividing up of those assets of an estate or trust when ...
distribution
n. the act of dividing up the assets of an estate or trust, or pa...
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...
diversion
n. in criminal procedure, a system for giving a chance for a firs...
diversity of citizenship
n. when opposing parties in a lawsuit are citizens of different s...
divestiture
n. the court-ordered or voluntary giving up of a possession or ri...
divestment
n. the act of stripping one's investment from an entity.
dividend
n. a portion of profit, usually based on the number of shares of ...
divorce
1) n. the termination of a marriage by legal action, requiring a ...
DNA
n. scientifically, deoxyribonucleic acid, a chromosomal double ch...
docket
1) n. the cases on a court calendar. 2) n. brief notes, usually w...
document
n. a popular generic word among lawyers for any paper with writin...
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 ...
domicile
n. the place where a person has his/her permanent principal home ...
dominant estate
n. in real estate law, the property retained when the owner split...
dominant tenement
n.
donation
n. gift. If made to a qualified non-profit charitable, religious,...
donative intent
n. conscious desire to make a gift, as distinguished from giving ...
donee
n. a person or entity receiving an outright gift or donation.
donor
n. a person or entity making a gift or donation.
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...
dower
n. an old English common law right of a widow to one-third of her...
dowry
n. from the days when a groom expected to profit from a marriage,...
draft
1) n. a bill of exchange or check in which one party (including a...
dram shop rule
n. a statute (Dram Shop Act) or case law in 38 states which makes...
draw
v. 1) to prepare any document. 2) specifically to have prepared a...
drawee
n. the party who is to be paid on a bill of exchange or check.
drawer
n. the person who signs a bill of exchange.
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
n. and adj. owed as of a specific date. A popular legal redundanc...
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.
duress
n. the use of force, false imprisonment or threats (and possibly ...
duty
n. 1) a legal obligation, the breach of which can result in liabi...
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...
easement
n. the right to use the real property of another for a specific p...
egress
n. way of departure. A word usually used in conjunction with "acc...
EIR
n. popular acronym for environmental impact report, required by m...
ejectment
n. a lawsuit brought to remove a party who is occupying real prop...
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...
eleemosynary
(eh-luh-moss-uh-nary) adj. charitable, as applied to a purpose or...
element
n. 1) an essential requirement to a cause of action (the right to...
emancipation
n. freeing a minor child from the control of parents and allowing...
embezzlement
n. the crime of stealing the funds or property of an employer, co...
embezzler
n. a person who commits the crime of embezzlement by fraudulently...
emblements
n. crops to which a tenant who cultivated the land is entitled by...
emergency
n. a sudden, unforeseen happening which requires action to correc...
eminent domain
n. the power of a governmental entity (federal, state, county or ...
emolument
n. salary, wages and benefits paid for employment or an office he...
emotional distress
n. an increasingly popular basis for a claim of damages in lawsui...
employee
n. a person who is hired for a wage, salary, fee or payment to pe...
employer
n. a person or entity which hires the services of another called ...
employment
n. the hiring of a person for compensation. It is important to de...
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...
enclosure
(inclosure)n. land bounded by a fence, wall, hedge, ditch or othe...
encroach
v. to build a structure which is in whole or in part across the p...
encroachment
n. the act of building a structure which is in whole or in part o...
encumbrance
(incumbrance)n. a general term for any claim or lien on a parcel ...
endorse (indorse)
v. 1) to sign one's name to the back of a check, bill of exchange...
endorsement
(indorsement)n. 1) the act of the owner or payee signing his/her ...
endowment
n. the creation of a fund, often by gift or bequest from a dead p...
enjoin
v. for a court to order that someone either do a specific act, ce...
enjoyment
n. 1) to exercise a right. 2) pleasure. 3) the use of funds or oc...
enter a judgment
v. to officially record a judgment on the "judgment roll," which ...
entity
n. a general term for any institution, company, corporation, part...
entrapment
n. in criminal law, the act of law enforcement officers or govern...
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
adj. 1) just, based on fairness and not legal technicalities. 2) ...
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
n. 1) a venerable group of rights and procedures to provide fairn...
equity of redemption
n. the right of a mortgagor (person owing on a loan or debt again...
equivalent
: n., adj. equal in value, force or meaning.
ergo
(air-go)conj. Latin for "therefore," often used in legal writings...
erroneous
adj. 1) in error, wrong. 2) not according to established law, par...
error
n. a mistake by a judge in procedure or in substantive law, durin...
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...
escheat
n. from old French eschete, which meant "that which falls to one,...
escrow
1) n. a form of account held by an "escrow agent" (an individual,...
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...
espionage
n. the crime of spying on the federal government and/or transferr...
esquire
n. a form of address showing that someone is an attorney, usually...
estate
n. 1) all that one owns in real estate and other assets. 2) commo...
estate by entirety
n. tenancy by the entirety
estate tax
n. generally a federal tax on the transfer of a dead person's ass...
estop
v. to halt, bar or prevent.
estoppel
n. a bar or impediment (obstruction) which precludes a person fro...
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...
eviction
n. a generic word for the act of expelling (kicking out) someone ...
evidence
n. every type of proof legally presented at trial (allowed by the...
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...
examination
n. 1) the questioning of a witness by an attorney. Direct examina...
exception
n. 1) a formal objection during trial ("We take exception, or sim...
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...
exchange
1) v. to trade or barter property, goods and/or services for othe...
excise
n. a tax upon manufacture, sale or for a business license or char...
exclusionary rule
n. the rule that evidence secured by illegal means and in bad fai...
exculpatory
adj. applied to evidence which may justify or excuse an accused d...
excusable neglect
n. a legitimate excuse for the failure of a party or his/her lawy...
execute
v. 1) to finish, complete or perform as required, as in fulfillin...
executed
1) adj. to have been completed. (Example: "it is an executed cont...
execution
n. 1) the act of getting an officer of the court to take possessi...
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...
executor
n. the person appointed to administer the estate of a person who ...
executory
adj. something not yet performed or done. Examples: an executory ...
executory interest
n. an interest in property (particularly real estate) which will ...
executrix
(pl. executrices) n. Latin for female executor. However, the term...
exemplary damages
n. often called punitive damages, these are damages requested and...
exemption
n. 1) in income taxation, a credit given for each dependent, blin...
exhibit
n. 1) a document or object (including a photograph) introduced as...
expectancy
n. a possibility of future enjoyment of something one counts on r...
expense
n. in business accounting and business taxation, any current cost...
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
adj. direct, unambiguous, distinct language, particularly in a co...
express contract
n. a contract in which all elements are specifically stated (offe...
expropriation
n. a taking of property or rights by governmental authority such ...
extension
n. granting of a specific amount of extra time to make a payment,...
extenuating circumstances
n. surrounding factors (sometimes called mitigation) which make a...
extinguishment
n. the cancellation or destruction of a right, quite often becaus...
extortion
n. obtaining money or property by threat to a victim's property o...
extradition
n. the surrender by one state or country of a person charged with...
extrajudicial
adj. referring to actions outside the judicial (court) system, su...
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...
eyewitness
n. a person who has actually seen an event and can so testify in ...
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
n. an actual thing or happening, which must be proved at trial by...
fact finder (finder of fact)
n. in a trial of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution, the jury or j...
factor
n. 1) a salesman who sells in his/her own name on behalf of other...
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
n. 1) husband, wife and children. 2) all blood relations. 3) all ...
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
n. 1) absolute title in land, from old French, fief, for "payment...
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...
felon
n. a person who has been convicted of a felony, which is a crime ...
felonious
adj. referring to an act done with criminal intent. The term is u...
felony
n. 1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a...
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
1) n. from the Latin fiducia, meaning "trust," a person (or a bus...
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...
file
1) v. to deposit with the clerk of the court a written complaint ...
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...
finding
n. the determination of a factual question vital (contributing) t...
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...
fixture
n. a piece of equipment which has been attached to real estate in...
flight
n. running away or hiding by a person officially accused of a cri...
floating easement
n. an easement (a right to use another's property for a particula...
FOB
1) adj. short for free on board, meaning shipped to a specific pl...
for value received
prep. a phrase used in a promissory note, a bill of exchange or a...
forbearance
n. an intentional delay in collecting a debt or demanding perform...
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
n. the system by which a party who has loaned money secured by a ...
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
1) adj. from Latin forensis for "belonging to the forum," ancient...
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...
forensics
n. public speaking or argumentation.
foreseeability
n. reasonable anticipation of the possible results of an action, ...
foreseeable risk
n. a danger which a reasonable person should anticipate as the re...
forfeit
v. to lose property or rights involuntarily as a penalty for viol...
forfeiture
n. loss of property due to a violation of law.
forger
n. a person who commits the crime of forgery, by making false doc...
forgery
n. 1) the crime of creating a false document, altering a document...
fornication
n. sexual intercourse between a man and woman who are not married...
forthwith
adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and statutes, meanin...
forum
n. a court which has jurisdiction to hold a trial of a particular...
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
1) n. a right granted by the government to a person or corporatio...
franchise tax
n. a state tax on corporations or businesses.
fraud
n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some dishonest means...
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 ...
freehold
n. any interest in real property which is a life estate or of unc...
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...
frisk
v. quickly patting down the clothes of a possible criminal suspec...
frivolous
adj. referring to a legal move in a lawsuit clearly intended mere...
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...
garnish
v. to obtain a court order directing a party holding funds (such ...
garnishee
n. a person or entity, quite often a bank or employer, which rece...
garnishment
n. the entire process of petitioning for and getting a court orde...
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
n. the voluntary transfer of property (including money) to anothe...
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...
goods
n. items held for sale in the regular course of business, as in a...
goodwill
n. the benefit of a business having a good reputation under its n...
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
v. to transfer real property from a title holder (grantor) or hol...
grant deed
n. the document which transfers title to real property or a real ...
grantee
n. the party who receives title to real property (buyer, recipien...
grantor
n. the party who transfers title in real property (seller, giver)...
grantor-grantee index
n. a set of books and/or computerized lists found in the office o...
gratuitous
adj. or adv. voluntary or free.
gravamen
n. Latin for "to weigh down," the basic gist of every claim (caus...
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 ...
guarantee
1) v. to pledge or agree to be responsible for another's debt or ...
guarantor
n. a person or entity that agrees to be responsible for another's...
guaranty
v. and n. an older spelling of guarantee, which the renowned Oxfo...
guardian
n. a person who has been appointed by a judge to take care of a m...
guardian ad litem
n. a person appointed by the court only to take legal action on b...
guest
n. 1) in general, a person paying to stay in a hotel, motel or in...
guest statute
n. a state law which sets standards of care by the driver of a ca...
guilty
adj. having been convicted of a crime or having admitted the comm...
habeas corpus
(hay-bee-us core-puss) n. Latin for "you have the body," it is a ...
habitable
adj. referring to a residence that is safe and can be occupied in...
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...
harass
(either harris or huh-rass) v. systematic and/or continual unwant...
harassment
(either harris-meant or huh-rass-meant) n. the act of systematic ...
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...
headnote
n. the summary of the key legal points determined by an appeals c...
hearing
n. any proceeding before a judge or other magistrate (such as a h...
hearsay
n. 1) second-hand evidence in which the witness is not telling wh...
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
n. one who acquires property upon the death of another, based on ...
heir apparent
n. the person who is expected to receive a share of the estate of...
heiress
n. feminine heir, often used to denote a woman who has received a...
heirs of the body
n. descendants of one's bloodline, such as children or grandchild...
held
v. decided or ruled, as "the court held that the contract was val...
hereditament
n. any kind of property which can be inherited. This is old-fashi...
hidden asset
n. an item of value which does not show on the books of a busines...
highway
n. any public street, road, turnpike or canal which any member of...
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
n. a general term for anyone in possession of property, but usual...
holder in due course
n. one holding a check or promissory note, received for value (he...
holding
1) n. any ruling or decision of a court. 2) n. any real property ...
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...
homestead
1) n. the house and lot of a homeowner which the head of the hous...
hometowned
adv. legalese for a lawyer or client suffering discrimination by ...
homicide
n. the killing of a human being due to the act or omission of ano...
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 ...
hotchpot
n. the putting together, blending or mixing of various properties...
house counsel
n. any attorney who works only for a particular business.
household
n. a family living together, all of whom need not be related.
hung jury
n. slang for a hopelessly deadlocked jury in a criminal case, in ...
hypothecate
v. from Greek for "pledge," a generic term for using property to ...
i.e.
prep. abbreviation for id est, which is Latin for "that is" or "t...
illegal
1) adj. in violation of statute, regulation or ordinance, which m...
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 ...
immaterial
adj. a commonly heard objection to introducing evidence in a tria...
immediately
adv. 1) at once. 2) in orders of the court or in contracts it mea...
immunity
n. exemption from penalties, payments or legal requirements, gran...
impanel
v. to select and install a jury.
impaneling
n. the act of selecting a jury from the list of potential jurors,...
impeach
v. 1) to discredit the testimony of a witness by proving that he/...
impeachment
n. 1) discrediting a witness by showing that he/she is not tellin...
impleader
n. a procedural device before trial in which a party brings a thi...
implied
adj., adv. referring to circumstances, conduct or statements of o...
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...
impossibility
n. when an act cannot be performed due to nature, physical impedi...
impotence
n. the male's inability to copulate. Impotence can be grounds for...
impound
v. 1) to collect funds, in addition to installment payments, from...
improvement
n. any permanent structure on real property, or any work on the p...
impute
v. 1) to attach to a person responsibility (and therefore financi...
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 ...
incapacity
adj. 1) not being able to perform any gainful employment due to c...
incest
n. sexual intercourse between close blood relatives, including br...
inchoate
adj. or adv. referring to something which has begun but has not b...
incidental beneficiary
n. someone who obtains a benefit as the result of the main purpos...
income
n. money, goods or other economic benefit received. Under income ...
income tax
n. a tax on an individual's net income, after deductions for vari...
incompatibility
n. the state of a marriage in which the spouses no longer have th...
incompatible
adj. 1) inconsistent. 2) unmatching. 3) unable to live together a...
incompetency
n. the condition of lacking the ability to handle one's affairs d...
incompetent
adj. 1) referring to a person who is not able to manage his/her a...
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
v. 1) to obtain an official charter or articles of incorporation ...
incorporate by reference
v. to include language from another document or elsewhere in a do...
incorporation
n. the act of incorporating an organization.
incorporeal
adj. referring to a thing which is not physical, such as a right....
incriminate
v. to make a statement in which one admits that he/she has commit...
incumbrance
n.
indecent exposure
n. the crime of displaying one's genitalia to one or more other p...
indefeasible
adj. cannot be altered or voided, usually in reference to an inte...
indemnify
v. to guarantee against any loss which another might suffer. Exam...
indemnity
n. the act of making someone "whole" (give equal to what they hav...
indenture
n. a type of real property deed in which two parties agree to con...
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...
indicia
n. (in-dish-yah) from Latin for "signs," circumstances which tend...
indictable offense
n. a crime (offense) for which a Grand Jury rules that there is e...
indictment
n. a charge of a felony (serious crime) voted by a Grand Jury bas...
indigent
1) n. a person so poor and needy that he/she cannot provide the n...
indispensable party
n. a person or entity which must be included in a lawsuit so that...
indorse
v.
indorsement
n.
infancy
n. although the popular use of the word means the early years of ...
inference
n. a rule of logic applied to evidence in a trial, in which a fac...
information
n. an accusation or criminal charge brought by the public prosecu...
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...
infra
prep. Latin for "below," this is legal shorthand to indicate that...
infringement
n. 1) a trespassing or illegal entering. 2) in the law of patents...
ingress
1) n. entrance. 2) n. the right to enter. 3) v. the act of enteri...
inherit
v. to receive all or a portion of the estate of an ancestor upon ...
inheritance
n. whatever one receives upon the death of a relative due to the ...
injunction
n. a writ (order) issued by a court ordering someone to do someth...
injunctive relief
n. a court-ordered act or prohibition against an act or condition...
injury
n. any harm done to a person by the acts or omissions of another....
innocent
adj. without guilt (not guilty). Usually the plea which an accuse...
innuendo
n. from Latin innuere, "to nod toward." In law it means "an indir...
inquest
n. 1) an investigation and/or a hearing held by the coroner (a co...
insanity
n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot di...
insanity defense
n. the claim of a defendant in a criminal prosecution that he/she...
insertion
n. the addition of language at a place within an existing typed o...
insider
n. someone who has a position in a business or stock brokerage, w...
insider trading
n. the use of confidential information about a business gained th...
insolvency
n. 1) the condition of having more debts (liabilities) than total...
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 ...
instruction
n. an explanation of the law governing a case which the judge giv...
instrument
n. 1) a written legal document such as a contract, lease, deed, w...
insufficient evidence
n. a finding (decision) by a trial judge or an appeals court that...
insurance
n. a contract (insurance policy) in which the insurer (insurance ...
insured
n. 1) the person or entity who will be compensated for loss by an...
insurer
n. an insurance company which agrees to pay someone who pays them...
intangible property
n. items such as stock in a company which represent value but are...
integration
n. 1) adopting a writing as part of an agreement, e.g. "the parti...
intent
n. mental desire and will to act in a particular way, including w...
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...
interest
n. 1) any and all, partial or total right to property or for the ...
interim order
n. a temporary order of the court pending a hearing, trial, a fin...
interlineation
n. the act of writing between the lines of a document, usually to...
interlocutory
adj. provisional and not intended to be final. This usually refer...
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...
interpleader
n. the procedure when two parties are involved in a lawsuit over ...
interrogation
n. questioning of a suspect or witness by law enforcement authori...
interrogatories
n. a set of written questions to a party to a lawsuit asked by th...
interstate commerce
n. commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or tra...
intervene
v. to obtain the court's permission to enter into a lawsuit which...
intervening cause
n. an event which occurs between the original improper or dangero...
intervention
n. the procedure under which a third party may join an on-going l...
intestacy
n. the condition of having died without a valid will. In such a c...
intestate
adj. referring to a situation where a person dies without leaving...
intestate succession
n. the distribution when a person dies without leaving a valid wi...
intoxication
n. 1) the condition of being drunk as the result of drinking alco...
intrinsic fraud
n. an intentionally false representation (lie) which is part of t...
inure
v. result in. Commonly used in legal terminology in the phrase: "...
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...
invest
v. to put money into a business or buy property or securities for...
investment
n. the money put into use for profit, or the property or business...
invitee
n. a person who comes onto another's property, premises or busine...
involuntary
adj. or adv. without intent, will or choice. Participation in a c...
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...
irrelevant
adj. not important, pertinent, or germane to the matter at hand o...
irreparable damage or injury
n. the type of harm which no monetary compensation can cure or pu...
issue
1) n. a person's children or other lineal descendants such as gra...
J
n. abbreviation for Judge, as in the Hon. William B. Boone, J.
Jane Doe
n. 1) a fictitious name used for a possible female defendant who ...
jaywalking
n. walking across a street outside of marked cross-walks, and not...
JD
n. short for Juris Doctor, identifying the holder as having re-ce...
jeopardy
n. peril, particularly danger of being charged with or convicted ...
jobber
n. a merchant who buys products (usually in bulk or lots) and the...
John Doe
n. 1) a fictitious name used for a possible male defendant who is...
joinder
n. the joining together of several lawsuits or several parties al...
joinder of issue
n. that point in a lawsuit when the defendant has challenged (den...
joint
adj., adv. referring to property, rights or obligations which are...
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
1) n. an official with the authority and responsibility to presid...
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
n. the final decision by a court in a lawsuit, criminal prosecuti...
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
adj., adv. 1) referring to a judge, court or the court system. 2)...
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...
jurat
(jur-at) n. Latin for "been sworn," the portion of an affidavit i...
Juris Doctor
(J.D.) n. the law degree granted upon graduation by many univers...
jurisdiction
n. the authority given by law to a court to try cases and rule on...
jurisdictional amount
n. the range between the minimum and maximum amount of money or v...
jurisprudence
n. the entire subject of law, the study of law and legal question...
jurist
n. although it means any attorney or legal scholar, jurist popula...
juror
n. any person who actually serves on a jury. Lists of potential j...
jury
n. one of the remarkable innovations of the English common law (f...
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
n. 1) fairness. 2) moral rightness. 3) a scheme or system of law ...
justice of the peace
(JP) n. a judge who handles minor legal matters such as misdemean...
justiciable
n. referring to a matter which is capable of being decided by a c...
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 ...
K
n. the shorthand symbol for "contract" used almost universally by...
kangaroo court
n. 1) a mock court set up without legal basis, such as a fraterni...
kidnapping
(also spelled kidnaping) n. the taking of a person against his/he...
kin
n. blood relative.
labor and materials
(time and materials) n. what some builders or repair people contr...
laches
n. the legal doctrine that a legal right or claim will not be enf...
land
n. real property, real estate (and all that grows thereon), and t...
landlady
n. female of landlord or owner of real property from whom one ren...
landlocked
adj. referring to a parcel of real property which has no access o...
landlord
n. a person who owns real property and rents or leases it to anot...
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...
lapse
1) v. to fail to occur, particularly a gift made in a will. 2) v....
larceny
n. the crime of taking the goods of another person without permis...
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
n. 1) any system of regulations to govern the conduct of the peop...
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.
lawsuit
n. a common term for a legal action by one person or entity again...
lay a foundation
v. in evidence, to provide to the judge the qualification of a wi...
leading
1) v. short for "leading the witness," in which the attorney duri...
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...
lease
1) n. a written agreement in which the owner of property (either ...
leasehold
n. the real estate which is the subject of a lease (a written ren...
legacy
n. a gift of personal property or money to a beneficiary (legatee...
legal
adj., adv. according to law, not in violation of law or anything ...
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.
legalese
n. slang for the sometimes arcane, convoluted and specialized jar...
legatee
n. a person or organization receiving a gift of an object or mone...
legitimate
adj., adv1) legal, proper, real. 2) referring to a child born to ...
lemon law
n. statutes adopted in some states to make it easier for a buyer ...
lessee
n. the person renting property under a written lease from the own...
lesser crime
n.
lesser-included offense
n. in criminal law, a crime which is proved by the same facts as ...
lessor
n. the owner of real property who rents it to a lessee pursuant t...
let
v. 1) to allow or permit. This is distinguished from "against one...
letter of credit
n. a document issued by a bank guaranteeing to provide a customer...
letters
n. shorthand for letters testamentary or letters of administratio...
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...
leverage
1) n. the use of borrowed money to purchase real estate or busine...
levy
1) v. to seize (take) property upon a writ of execution (an order...
lewd and lascivious
adj., adv. references to conduct which includes people living tog...
liability
n. one of the most significant words in the field of law, liabili...
liable
adj. responsible or obligated. Thus, a person or entity may be li...
libel
1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadc...
libel per se
n. broadcast or written publication of a false statement about an...
liberty
n. freedom from restraint and the power to follow one's own will ...
license
1) n. governmental permission to perform a particular act (like g...
licensee
n. a person given a license by the government or under private ag...
licensor
n. a person who gives another a license, particularly a private p...
lie detector test
n. a popular name for a polygraph which tests the physiological r...
lien
n. any official claim or charge against property or funds for pay...
lienor
n. a person who holds a lien on another's property or funds.
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, ...
lineup
n. a law enforcement method used in an attempt to have a witness ...
liquidate
v. to sell the assets of a business, paying bills and dividing th...
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...
litigant
n. any party to a lawsuit. This means plaintiff, defendant, petit...
litigation
n. any lawsuit or other resort to the courts to determine a legal...
litigious
adj. referring to a person who constantly brings or prolongs lega...
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...
locus
(low-cuss) n. Latin for "place," it means "place which" this or t...
loiter
v. to linger or hang around in a public place or business where o...
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
n. 1) the value placed on injury or damages due to an accident ca...
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...
magistrate
n. 1) a generic term for any judge of a court, or anyone official...
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...
maim
v. to inflict a serious bodily injury, including mutilation or an...
majority
n. 1) the age when a person can exercise all normal legal rights,...
make
v. 1) to create something. 2) to sign a check, promissory note, b...
make one whole
v. to pay or award damages sufficient to put the party who was da...
maker
n. 1) the person who signs a check or promissory note, which make...
malfeasance
n. intentionally doing something either legally or morally wrong ...
malice
n. a conscious, intentional wrongdoing either of a civil wrong li...
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...
malpractice
n. An act or continuing conduct of a professional which does not ...
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...
mandamus
(man-dame-us) n. Latin for "we order," a writ (more modernly call...
mandate
n. 1) any mandatory order or requirement under statute, regulatio...
mandatory
adj., adv. absolutely demanded or required.
mandatory joinder
n. the required inclusion of a party in a lawsuit whom the court ...
manifest
1) adj., adv. completely obvious or evident. 2) n. a written list...
Mann Act
n. a federal statute making it a crime to transport a woman acros...
manslaughter
n. the unlawful killing of another person without premeditation o...
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...
mark
n. an "X" made by a person who is illiterate or too weak to sign ...
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...
marriage
n. the joining of a male and female in matrimony by a person qual...
marshal
1) n. a federal court official who may serve papers and act as a ...
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
n. 1) employer, in the area of law known as "master and servant,"...
master and servant
n. the body of law, including statutes and legal decisions which ...
material
adj. relevant and significant. In a lawsuit, "material evidence" ...
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...
maturity
n. 1) the date when the payment of the principal amount owed unde...
maxims
n. a collection of legal truisms which are used as "rules of thum...
may
v. a choice to act or not, or a promise of a possibility, as dist...
mayhem
1) n. the criminal act of disabling, disfiguring or cutting off o...
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...
mediation
n. the attempt to settle a legal dispute through active participa...
mediator
n. a person who conducts mediation. A mediator is usually a lawye...
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...
memorandum
n. 1) a brief writing, note, summary or outline. 2) A "memorandum...
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...
merchantable
adj. a product of a high enough quality to make it fit for sale. ...
merger
n. 1) in corporate law, the joining together of two corporations ...
mesne
: (mean, with a silent s) adj. from Norman French for intermediat...
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...
minor
n. someone under legal age, which is generally 18, except for cer...
minority
n. 1) in voting, a side with less than half the votes. 2) a term ...
minutes
n. 1) the written record of meetings, particularly of boards of d...
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...
misadventure
n. a death due to unintentional accident without any violation of...
misappropriation
n. the intentional, illegal use of the property or funds of anoth...
misdemeanor
n. a lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time fo...
misfeasance
n. management of a business, public office or other responsibilit...
misjoinder
n. the inclusion of parties (plaintiffs or defendants) or causes ...
misnomer
n. the wrong name.
misprision of a felony
n. the crime of concealing another's felony (serious crime) from ...
misrepresentation
n. the crime of misstating facts to obtain money, goods or benefi...
mistake
n. 1) an error in comprehending facts, meaning of words or the la...
mistrial
n. the termination of a trial before its normal conclusion becaus...
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...
modification
n. a change in an existing court order or judgment made necessary...
modus operandi
(mode-us ah-purr-and-ee or ah-purr-and-eye) n. from Latin, a crim...
moiety
: (moy-et-tee) n. half. Generally a reference to interest in real...
molestation
n. the crime of sexual acts with children up to the age of 18, in...
monopoly
n. a business or inter-related group of businesses which controls...
month-to-month
adj. referring to a tenancy in which the tenant pays monthly rent...
monument
n. 1) an established landmark which a surveyor uses as part of a ...
moot
adj. 1) unsettled, open to argument or debatable, specifically ab...
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...
moratorium
n. 1) any suspension of activity, particularly voluntary suspensi...
mortgage
n. a document in which the owner pledges his/her/its title to rea...
mortgagee
n. the person or business making a loan that is secured by the re...
mortgagor
n. the person who has borrowed money and pledged his/her real pro...
motion
n. a formal request made to a judge for an order or judgment. Mot...
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...
motive
n. in criminal investigation the probable reason a person committ...
mouthpiece
n. old-fashioned slang for one's lawyer.
movant
n. the party in a lawsuit or other legal proceeding who makes a m...
move
v. to make a motion in court applying for a court order or judgme...
multifarious
adj., adv. reference to a lawsuit in which either party or variou...
multiplicity of suits
n. several actual or potential lawsuits which should be joined to...
municipal
adj. referring to an incorporated or chartered city or town.
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...
murder
n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, ma...
mutual
adj., adv. referring to anything in which both parties have recip...
mutual wills
n. wills made by two people (usually spouses, but could be "partn...
N.O.V.
adj. shorthand acronym of Latin for non obstante veredicto (nahn ...
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
adj., adv. 1) essen- tial. 2) less forcefully, it can mean conven...
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
n. failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable ...
negligence per se
(purr say) n. negligence due to the violation of a public duty, s...
negligent
adj., adv. careless in not fulfilling responsibility.
negotiable instrument
n. check, promissory note, bill of exchange, security or any docu...
negotiation
n. 1) the transfer of a check, promissory note, bill of exchange ...
net
: n., adj. the amount of money or value remaining after all costs...
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...
nihil
(ni [as in it]-hill) n. from Latin for nothing.
nil
n. from Latin nihil, nothing or zero.
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 ...
nominee
n. 1) a person or entity who is requested or named to act for ano...
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-contiguous
adj. referring to two or more parcels of real property which are ...
non-discretionary trust
n. a trust in which the trustee is directed to invest only in spe...
non-feasance
n. the failure of an agent (employee) to perform a task he/she ha...
non-profit corporation
n. an organization incorporated under state laws and approved by ...
non-suit
n. a ruling by the judge in a lawsuit either when the plaintiff (...
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
notary public
notary public
n. a person authorized by the state in which the person resides t...
note
n. a promissory note, a written statement of debt by one or more ...
notice
n. 1) information, usually in writing in all legal proceedings, o...
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 ...
novation
n. agreement of parties to a contract to substitute a new contrac...
noxious
adj. harmful to health, often referring to nuisances.
nugatory
adj. of no force or effect; invalid. Example: a statute which is ...
nuisance
n. the unreasonable, unwarranted and/or unlawful use of property,...
nullity
n. something which may be treated as nothing, as if it did not ex...
nunc pro tunc
(nuhnk proh tuhnk) adj. Latin for "now for then," this refers to ...
O.R.
n. short for "own recognizance," meaning the judge allowed a pers...
O.S.C.
n. short for order to show cause.
oath
n. 1) a swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing b...
obiter dicta
: (oh-bitter dick-tah) n. remarks of a judge which are not necess...
object
1) v. to ask the court not to allow a particular question asked o...
objection
n. a lawyer's protest about the legal propriety of a question whi...
obligation
n. a legal duty to pay or do something.
obligee
(ah-bluh-jee) n. the person or entity to whom an obligation is ow...
obligor
(ah-bluh-gore) n. the person or entity who owes an obligation to ...
obscene
adj., adv. a highly subjective reference to material or acts whic...
obstruction of justice
n. an attempt to interfere with the administration of the courts,...
occupancy
n. 1) living in or using premises, as a tenant or owner. 2) takin...
occupant
n. 1) someone living in a residence or using premises, as a tenan...
occupation
n. 1) fairly permanent trade, profession, employment, business or...
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 ...
offender
n. an accused defendant in a criminal case or one convicted of a ...
offense
n. a crime or punishable violation of law of any type or magnitud...
offer
n. a specific proposal to enter into an agreement with another. A...
offer of proof
n. an explanation made by an attorney to a judge during trial to ...
offeree
n. a person or entity to whom an offer to enter into a contract i...
offeror
n. a person or entity who makes a specific proposal to another (t...
officer
n. 1) a high-level management official of a corporation or an uni...
officer of the court
n. any person who has an obligation to promote justice and effect...
official
1) adj. referring to an act, document or anything sanctioned or a...
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...
offset
1) n. also called a "setoff," the deduction by a debtor from a cl...
offshore corporation
n. a corporation chartered under the laws of a country other than...
omission
n. 1) failure to perform an act agreed to, where there is a duty ...
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...
opinion
n. the explanation of a court's judgment. When a trial court judg...
option
n. a right to purchase property or require another to perform upo...
or
conj. either; in the alternative. It is often vital to distinguis...
oral contract
n. an agreement made with spoken words and either no writing or o...
order
1) n. every direction or mandate of a judge or a court which is n...
order to show cause
n. a judge's written mandate that a party appear in court on a ce...
ordinance
n. a statute enacted by a city or town.
ordinary
adj. regular, customary and continuing, and not unusual or extrao...
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...
orphan
n. a child, particularly a minor, whose two natural parents are d...
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...
ouster
n. 1) the wrongful dispossession (putting out) of a rightful owne...
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...
outbuilding
n. a structure not connected with the primary residence on a parc...
outlaw
n. popularly, anyone who commits serious crimes and acts outside ...
output contract
n. an agreement in which a producer agrees to sell its entire pro...
overcharge
v. 1) to charge more than a posted or advertised price. 2) to fil...
overrule
v. 1) to reject an attorney's objection to a question to a witnes...
overt act
n. in criminal law, an action which might be innocent itself but ...
owe
v. to have a legal duty to pay funds to another. However, to owe ...
own
v. to have legal title or right to something. Mere possession is ...
own recognizance
(O.R.) n. the basis for a judge allowing a person accused of a cr...
owner
n. one who has legal title or right to something. Contrary to the...
ownership
n. legal title coupled with exclusive legal right to possession. ...
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...
palimony
n. a substitute for alimony in cases in which the couple were not...
pander
1) v. to solicit customers for a prostitute. 2) n. a pimp, who pr...
panderer
n. 1) a person who panders or solicits for a prostitute. 2) some ...
panel
n. the list of people selected to appear for jury duty.
paper hanger
n. slang for a person who criminally writes and cashes "bad" chec...
par
n. 1) an equal level. 2) the face value of a stock or bond, print...
paralegal
n. a non-lawyer who performs routine tasks requiring some knowled...
paramount title
n. a right to real property which prevails over any other person'...
parcel
n. a defined piece of real estate, usually resulting from the div...
pardon
1) v. to use the executive power of a Governor or President to fo...
parens patriae
(paa-rens pat-tree-eye) n. Latin for "father of his country," the...
parent
n. the lawful and natural father or mother of a person. The word ...
parental neglect
n. a crime consisting of acts or omissions of a parent (including...
pari delicto
adj. equal fault.
parish
n. 1) a geographic area served by a church (particularly Catholic...
parody
n. the humorous use of an existing song, play, or writing which c...
parol
adj. oral.
parol evidence rule
n. if there is evidence in writing (such as a signed contract) th...
parole
n. 1) the release of a convicted criminal defendant after he/she ...
partial
adj. not complete or entire.
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...
participate
v. to invest and then receive a part or share, as in business pro...
partition
n. a lawsuit which one co-owner of real property can file to get ...
partner
n. 1) one of the co-owners and investors in a "partnership" which...
partnership
n. a business enterprise entered into for profit which is owned b...
party
n. 1) one of the participants in a lawsuit or other legal proceed...
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...
passenger
n. a rider who has paid a fare on a train, bus, airline, taxi, sh...
passion
n.
passive
adj. referring to being inactive. A "passive trustee" is one who ...
patent
1) adj. obvious. Used in such expressions as a "patent defect" in...
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...
pawn
v. to pledge an item of personal property as security for a loan,...
pay
v. to deliver money owed.
payable
1) adj. referring to a debt which is due. A debt may be owed, but...
payable on demand
adj. a debt on a promissory note or bill of exchange which must b...
payee
n. the one named on a check or promissory note to receive payment...
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...
payor
(payer) n. the party who must make payment on a promissory note.
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 ...
peculation
n. misappropriation of public (government) funds or property.
pecuniary
adj. relating to money, as in "pecuniary loss."
pedophilia
n. an obsession with children as sex objects. Overt acts, includi...
peeping tom
n. a person who stealthily peeks into windows, holes in restroom ...
peer
n. an equal. A "jury of one's peers," to which criminal defendant...
peer review
n. an examination and evaluation of the performance of a professi...
penal
adj. referring to criminality, as in defining "penal code" (the l...
penalty
n. 1) in criminal law, a money fine or forfeiture of property ord...
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...
penitentiary
n. a state or federal prison in which convicts are held for commi...
people
n. the designation for the prosecuting government in a criminal t...
per
prep. from Latin for "by means of" or simply, "by" as in "per day...
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
adj. absolute, final and not entitled to delay or reconsideration...
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...
perfect
: (with stress on the second syllable) v. 1) to complete; to take...
perfected
adj. having completed all necessary legal steps to achieve a resu...
perform
v. 1) to fulfill one's obligations under a contract. 2) to comply...
performance
n. fulfillment of one's obligations required by contract. Specifi...
perjurer
n. a person who intentionally lies while under an oath administer...
perjury
n. the crime of intentionally lying after being duly sworn (to te...
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...
permissive
adj. 1) referring to any act which is allowed by court order, leg...
permit
1) v. to allow by silence, agreement or giving a license. 2) n. a...
perpetuity
n. forever.
person
n. 1) a human being. 2) a corporation treated as having the right...
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...
personalty
n. movable assets (things, including animals) which are not real ...
petit jury
n. old-fashioned name for the jury sitting to hear a lawsuit or c...
petition
1) n. a formal written request to a court for an order of the cou...
petitioner
n. one who signs and/or files a petition.
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...
picketing
n. standing or parading near a business or government office usua...
pierce the corporate veil
v. to prove that a corporation exists merely as a completely cont...
pilferage
n. a crime of theft of little things, usually from shipments or b...
pimp
n. a person who procures a prostitute for customers or vice versa...
pink slip
n. 1) slang for official automobile registration certificate, due...
piracy
n. the crime of robbery of ships or boats on the oceans. Accusati...
plagiarism
n. taking the writings or literary concepts (a plot, characters, ...
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
n. the party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint with t...
plaintiff's attorney
n. the attorney who represents a plaintiff (the suing party) in a...
plea
n. 1) in criminal law, the response by an accused defendant to ea...
plea bargain
n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between the defendant and...
plea in abatement
n.
plead
v. 1) in civil lawsuits and petitions, to file any document (plea...
pleading
n. 1) every legal document filed in a lawsuit, petition, motion a...
pledge
v. to deposit personal property as security for a personal loan o...
plenary
adj. full, complete, covering all matters, usually referring to a...
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) ...
polygamy
n. having more than one wife or husband at the same time, usually...
polygraph
n. a lie detector device, from Greek for "many" (poly) "message" ...
pornography
n. pictures and/or writings of sexual activity intended solely to...
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...
possess
v. to own, have title to, occupy, physically hold or have under e...
possession
n. 1) any article, object, asset or property which one owns, occu...
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
v. 1) to place a notice on the entrance or a prominent place on r...
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...
pot
n. slang for marijuana, an illeg- al narcotic.
pour over will
n. a will of a person who has already executed a trust in which a...
power
n. the right, authority and ability to take some action or accomp...
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...
practicable
adj. when something can be done or performed.
practice
1) n. custom or habit as shown by repeated action, as in "it is t...
pray
v. to formally request judicial judgment, relief and/or damages a...
prayer
n. the specific request for judgment, relief and/or damages at th...
precatory
adj. referring to a wish or advisory suggestion which does not ha...
precedent
1) n. a prior reported opinion of an appeals court which establis...
predecease
v. to die before someone else, as "if my brother, Harry, should p...
preemption
n. the rule of law that if the federal government through Congres...
preemptive right
n. the right of a shareholder in a corporation to have the first ...
preference
n. in bankruptcy, the payment of a debt to one creditor rather th...
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...
premeditation
n. planning, plotting or deliberating before doing something. Pre...
premises
n. 1) in real estate, land and the improvements on it, a building...
premium
n. 1) payment for insurance coverage either in a lump sum or by i...
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...
prescription
n. the method of acquiring an easement upon another's real proper...
prescriptive easement
n. an easement upon another's real property acquired by continued...
presentment
n. 1) making a demand for payment of a promissory note when it is...
presiding judge
n. 1) in both state and federal appeals court, the judge who chai...
presumption
n. a rule of law which permits a court to assume a fact is true u...
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 ...
primogeniture
n. from Latin for "first born," the ancient rule from feudal Engl...
principal
n. 1) main person in a business. 2) employer, the person hiring a...
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...
prior(s)
n. slang for a criminal defendant's previous record of criminal c...
priority
n. the right to be first or ahead of the rights or claims of othe...
privacy
n. the right to be free of unnecessary public scrutiny or to be l...
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
n. a special benefit, exemption from a duty, or immunity from pen...
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, ...
privity
n. contact, connection or mutual interest between parties. The te...
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...
probate
1) n. the process of proving a will is valid and thereafter admin...
probation
n. a chance to remain free (or serve only a short time) given by ...
probative
adj. in evidence law, tending to prove something. Thus, testimony...
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...
procedure
n. the methods and mechanics of the legal process. These include ...
proceeding
n. any legal filing, hearing, trial and/or judgment in the ongoin...
process
n. in law, the legal means by which a person is required to appea...
process server
n. a person who serves (delivers) legal papers in lawsuits, eithe...
proctor
n. 1) in admiralty (maritime) law, an attorney. 2) person who kee...
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.
proffer
v. to offer evidence in a trial.
prohibition
n. forbidding an act or activity. A court order forbidding an act...
promise
1) n. a firm agreement to perform an act, refrain from acting or ...
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...
promoter
n. a person who puts together a business, particularly a corporat...
promotional stock
n. stock issued in a newly formed corporation and given to a prom...
proof
n. confirmation of a fact by evidence. In a trial, proof is what ...
proper party
n. a person or entity who has an interest (financial or protectio...
property
n. anything that is owned by a person or entity. Property is divi...
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
adj. referring to ownership.
proprietary interest
n. a total or partial ownership.
proprietary rights
n. those rights which go with ownership of real property or a bus...
proprietor
n. the owner of anything, but particularly the owner of a busines...
prosecute
v. 1) in criminal law, to charge a person with a crime and therea...
prosecution
n. 1) in criminal law, the government attorney charging and tryin...
prosecutor
n. generic term for the government's attorney in a criminal case,...
prospectus
n. a detailed statement by a corporation required when there is a...
prostitute
n. a person who receives payment for sexual intercourse or other ...
prostitution
n. the profession of performing sexual acts for money. Prostituti...
protective custody
n. the act of law enforcement officials in placing a person in a ...
protest
1) v. to complain in some public way about any act already done o...
prove
v. to present evidence and/or logic that makes a fact seem certai...
provisional remedy
n. a generic term for any temporary order of a court to protect a...
proviso
n. a term or condition in a contract or title document.
proximate cause
n. a happening which results in an event, particularly injury due...
proxy
n. 1) someone who is authorized to serve in one's place at a meet...
prudent man rule
n. the requirement that a trustee, investment manager of pension ...
public
1) n. the people of the nation, state, county, district or munici...
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...
publication
n. 1) anything made public by print (as in a news- paper, magazin...
publish
v. to make public to at least one other person by any means.
puffing
n. the exaggeration of the good points of a product, a business, ...
punitive damages
n. (synony- mous with exemplary damages), damages awarded in a la...
putative
adj. commonly believed, supposed or claimed. Thus a putative fath...
quantum meruit
: (kwahn-tuhm mare-ooh-it) n. Latin for "as much as he deserved,"...
quash
v. to annul or set aside. In law, a motion to quash asks the judg...
quasi
: (kway-zeye, kwah-zee) adj., adv. from Latin for "as if," almost...
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...
quasi-criminal
adj. a reference to a court's right to punish for actions or omis...
quasi-judicial
adj., adv. referring to the actions of an agency, boards or other...
Queen's Bench
n. 1) the highest court in Great Britain during the reign of a Qu...
query
n. common lawyer lingo for a question to be answered.
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...
quit
v. to leave, used in a written notice to a tenant to leave the pr...
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...
quorum
n. the number of people required to be present before a meeting c...
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...
racketeering
n. the federal crime of conspiring to organize to commit crimes, ...
ransom
1) n. money paid to a kidnapper in demand for the release of the ...
rape
1) n. the crime of sexual intercourse (with actual penetration of...
ratable
adj. taxable according to value, such as an estate or property.
ratification
n. confirmation of an action which was not pre-approved and may n...
ratify
v. to confirm and adopt the act of another even though it was not...
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...
realty
n. a short form of "real estate."
reasonable
adj., adv. in law, just, rational, appropriate, ordinary or usual...
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 (...
rebate
1) n. a discount or deduction on sales price. A secret rebate giv...
rebuttable presumption
n. since a presumption is an assumption of fact accepted by the c...
rebuttal
n. evidence introduced to counter, disprove or contradict the opp...
recapture
n. in income tax, the requirement that upon sale of property the ...
receipt
n. a written and signed acknowledgment by the recipient of paymen...
receiver
n. 1) a neutral person (often a professional trustee) appointed b...
receivership
n. the process of appointment by a court of a receiver to take cu...
recess
n. a break in a trial or other court proceedings or a legislative...
recidivist
n. a repeat criminal offender, convicted of a crime after having ...
reciprocal discovery
n. the exchange of documents, lists of witnesses, and other infor...
reciprocity
n. mutual exchange of privileges between states, nations, busines...
reckless
adj. in both negligence and criminal cases, careless to the point...
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...
reconveyance
n. in those states which use deeds of trust as a mortgage on real...
record
1) v. (ree-cored) to put a document into the official records of ...
recording acts
n. the statutes of each state which established the keeping of of...
records
n. in business, particularly corporations, all the written busine...
recoupment
n. the right of a defendant in a lawsuit to demand deduction from...
recourse
n. the right to demand payment to the writer of a check or bill o...
recover
v. to receive a money judgment in a lawsuit.
recoverable
adj. referring to the amount of money to which a plaintiff (the p...
recovery
n. the amount of money and any other right or property received b...
recusal
n. the act of a judge or prosecutor being removed or voluntarily ...
recuse
v. to refuse to be a judge (or for a judge to agree to a request ...
redeem
v. to buy back, as when an owner who had mortgaged his/her real p...
redemption
n. the act of redeeming, buying back property by paying off a loa...
reentry
n. taking back possession and going into real property which one ...
referee
n. a person to whom a judge refers a case to take testimony or ac...
referendum
n. the process by which the repeal or approval of an existing sta...
reformation
n. the correction or change of an existing document by court orde...
refresh one's memory
v. to use a document, exhibit or previous testimony in order to h...
register
n. in corporations, the record of shareholders, and issuance and ...
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...
regulations
n. rules and administrative codes issued by governmental agencies...
rehearing
n. conducting a hearing again based on the motion of one of the p...
rejection of claim
n. in probate law (administration of an estate of a person who di...
release
1) v. to give up a right as releasing one from his/her obligation...
release on one's own recognizance
v. for a judge to allow a criminal defendant pre-trial freedom wi...
relevancy
n.
relevant
adj. having some reasonable connection with, and in regard to evi...
reliance
n. acting upon another's statement of alleged fact, claim or prom...
reliction
n. gradual change of water line on real property which gives the ...
relief
n. generic term for all types of benefits which an order or judgm...
remainder
n. in real property law, the interest in real property that is le...
remainderman
n. the person who will receive a remainder in real property.
remand
v. to send back. An appeals court may remand a case to the trial ...
remedy
n. the means to achieve justice in any matter in which legal righ...
remise
v. to give up something, sometimes used in quitclaim deeds.
remittitur
n. 1) a judge's order reducing a judgment awarded by a jury when ...
remote
adj., adv. extremely far off or slight. Evidence may be so remote...
removal
n. 1) the change of a legal case from one court to another, as fr...
renewal
n. keeping an existing arrangement in force for an additional per...
rent
1) v. to hire an object or real property for a period of time (or...
rental value
n. the amount which would be paid for rental of similar property ...
renunciation
n. 1) giving up a right, such as a right of inheritance, a gift u...
reorganization
n. the implementation of a business plan to restructure a corpora...
repair
v. to restore to former condition or in some contracts to operati...
repeal
1) v. to annul an existing law, by passage of a repealing statute...
replevin
n. under common law, the right to bring a lawsuit for recovery of...
reply brief
n. the written legal argument of the respondent (trial court winn...
reports
n. the published decisions of appeals courts in all states and fe...
repossess
v. to take back property through judicial processes, foreclosure,...
represent
v. 1) to act as the agent for another. 2) to act as a client's at...
representation
n. 1) the act of being another's agent. 2) acting as an attorney ...
representative
1) n. an agent. 2) n. in probate law, a generic term for an execu...
reprieve
n. a temporary delay in imposition of the death penalty (a punish...
repudiation
n. denial of the existence of a contract and/or refusal to perfor...
reputation
n. a person's good name, honor or what the community thinks of hi...
reputed
adj. referring to what is accepted by general public belief, whet...
request
1) v. to ask or demand a judge to act (such as issuing a writ) or...
requirements contract
n. a contract between a supplier (or manufacturer) and a buyer, i...
res
(rayz)n. Latin, "thing." In law lingo res is used in conjunction ...
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...
resale
n. selling again, particularly at retail. 2) adj. referring to sa...
rescind
v. to cancel a contract, putting the parties back to the position...
rescission
n. the cancellation of a contract by mutual agreement of the part...
rescue doctrine
n. the rule of law that if a rescuer of a person hurt or put in p...
reservation
n. a provision in a deed which keeps (reserves) to the grantor so...
reserve
v. to keep for oneself a right or a portion of the real property ...
reserve fund
n. a fund of money created to take care of maintenance, repairs o...
residence
n. 1) the place where one makes his/her home. However, a person m...
resident
n. a person who lives in a particular place. However, the term is...
residuary bequest
n. in a will, the gift of whatever is left (the residue) after sp...
residue
n. in a will, the assets of the estate of a person who has died w...
resisting arrest
n. the crime of using physical force (no matter how slight in the...
resolution
n. a determination of policy of a corporation by the vote of its ...
respondeat superior
(rehs-pond-dee-at superior) n. Latin for "let the master answer,"...
respondent
n. 1) the party who is required to answer a petition for a court ...
responsible
adj. 1) legally liable or accountable. 2) having the ability to p...
Restatement of the Law
n. a series of detailed statements of the basic law in the United...
restitution
n. 1) returning to the proper owner property or the monetary valu...
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...
restriction
n. any limitation on activity, by statute, regulation or contract...
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 ...
result
n. common lawyer lingo for outcome of a lawsuit.
resulting trust
n. a trust implied by law (as determined by a court) that a perso...
retainer
n. the advance payment to an attorney for services to be performe...
retire
v. 1) to stop working at one's occupation. 2) to pay off a promis...
retraction
n. 1) to withdraw any legal document in a lawsuit or other legal ...
retrial
n. a new trial granted upon the motion of the losing party, based...
retroactive
adj. referring to a court's decision or a statute enacted by a le...
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...
reversal
n. the decision of a court of appeal ruling that the judgment of ...
reversible error
n. a legal mistake at the trial court level which is so significa...
reversion
n. in real property, the return to the grantor or his/her heirs o...
reverter
n. synonymous with reversion.
review
n. the judicial consideration of a lower court judgment by an app...
revival
n. 1) requesting a court to reinstate the force of an old judgmen...
revocation
n. 1) mutual cancellation of a contract by the parties to it. 2) ...
revoke
v. to annul or cancel an act, particularly a statement, document ...
RICO
n.
rider
n. 1) an attachment to a document which adds to or amends it. Typ...
right
1) n. an entitlement to something, whether to concepts like justi...
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...
rights
n. 1) plural of right, which is the collection of entitlements wh...
riot
n. 1) technically a turbulent and violent disturbance of peace by...
riparian
adj. referring to the banks of a river or stream.
riparian rights
n. the right of the owner of the land forming the bank of a river...
ripe
adj. in constitutional law, referring to a law case appealed from...
risk
n. chances of danger or loss, particularly of property covered by...
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...
robbery
n. 1) the direct taking of property (including money) from a pers...
rogatory letters
n. a written request by a judge to a judge in another state askin...
royalty
n. a percentage of gross or net profit or a fixed amount per sale...
rule
1) v. to decide a legal question, by a court, as in: "I rule that...
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...
ruling
n. court decision on a case or any legal question.
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.
said
adj. a reference back to a thing that was previously mentioned or...
sale
n. transfer of something (and title to it) in return for money (o...
salvage
1) v. to save goods. 2) n. payment to a person or group which sav...
sanction
n. 1) a financial penalty imposed by a judge on a party or attorn...
satisfaction
n. receiving payment or performance of what is due.
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...
scienter
n. Latin for "having knowledge." In criminal law, it refers to kn...
scintilla
n. Latin for "spark." Scintilla is commonly used in reference to ...
scope of employment
n. actions of an employee which further the business of the emplo...
scrivener
n. a person who writes a document for another, usually for a fee....
seal
n. a device which creates an impression upon paper or melted wax,...
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
v. 1) to examine another's premises (including a vehicle) to look...
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...
securities
n. generic term for shares of stock, bonds and debentures issued ...
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...
sedition
n. the federal crime of advocacy of insurrection against the gove...
seduction
n. the use of charm, salesmanship, promises, gifts and flattery t...
seisin
(sees-in) n. an old feudal term for having both possession and ti...
seized
(seised) n. 1) having ownership, commonly used in wills as "I giv...
seizure
n. the taking by law enforcement officers of potential evidence i...
self-dealing
n. in the stock market, using secret "inside" information gained ...
self-defense
n. the use of reasonable force to protect oneself or members of t...
self-executing
adj. immediately effective without further action, legislation or...
self-help
n. 1) obtaining relief or enforcing one's rights without resortin...
self-incrimination
n. making statements or producing evidence which tends to prove t...
self-serving
adj. referring to a question asked of a party to a lawsuit or a s...
sell
v. to transfer possession and ownership of goods or other propert...
seller
n. one who sells goods or other property to a buyer (purchaser).
senior lien
n. the first security interest (lien or claim) placed upon proper...
sentence
1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted of a crime. A se...
separate property
n. in community property states (California, Texas, Arizona, Idah...
separation
n. married persons living apart, either informally by one leaving...
separation agreement
n. an agreement between two married people who have agreed to liv...
sequester
v. to keep separate or apart. In so-called "high-profile" crimina...
sequestration
n. the act of a judge issuing an order that a jury or witness be ...
seriatim
(sear-ee-ah-tim) prep. Latin for "one after another" as in a seri...
servant
n. an employee of an employer, technically one who works for a ma...
service
n. 1) paid work by another person, either by contract or as an em...
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...
services
n. work performed for pay.
servient estate
n. real property which has an easement or other use imposed upon ...
session
n. 1) a meeting (or "sitting") of a court for a particular period...
set
v. to schedule, as to "set a case for trial."
set aside
v. to annul or negate a court order or judgment by another court ...
setoff
(offset) n. a claim by a defendant in a lawsuit that the plaintif...
setting
n. the action of a court, clerk or commissioner in scheduling a t...
settle
v. to resolve a lawsuit without a final court judgment by negotia...
settlement
n. the resolution of a lawsuit (or of a legal dispute prior to fi...
settlor
n. the person who creates a trust by a written trust declaration,...
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 (...
severance
n. 1) a separating by court order, such as separate trials for cr...
sex offender
n. generic term for all persons convicted of crimes involving sex...
sexual harassment
n. unwanted sexual approaches (including touching, feeling, gropi...
shall
v. 1) an imperative command as in "you shall not kill." 2) in som...
share
n. 1) a portion of a benefit from a trust, estate, claim or busin...
share and share alike
adj. referring to the equal division of a benefit from an estate,...
shareholder
n. the owner of one or more shares of stock in a corporation, com...
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...
Shepardize
n. a method of locating reports of appeals decisions based on pri...
sheriff
n. the top law enforcement officer for a county, usually elected ...
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...
sidebar
n. 1) physically, an area in front of or next to the judge's benc...
sign
v. 1) to write one's signature on a document, including an "X" by...
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...
situs
n. Latin for "location," be it where the crime or accident took p...
slander
n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an...
small claims court
n. a division of most municipal, city or other lowest local court...
sodomy
n. anal copulation by a man inserting his penis in the anus eithe...
sole proprietorship
n. a business owned by one person, as distinguished from a partne...
solicitation
n. the crime of encouraging or inducing another to commit a crime...
solicitor
n. an English attorney who may perform all legal services except ...
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 ...
solvency
n. 1) having sufficient funds or other assets to pay debts. 2) ha...
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
adj. referring to a particular purpose, person or happening. In l...
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 ...
stakeholder
n. a person having in his/her possession (holding) money or prope...
standard of care
n. the watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reaso...
standing
n. the right to file a lawsuit or file a petition under the circu...
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
n. 1) the federal or state government and any of its departments,...
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
n. a federal or state written law enacted by the Congress or stat...
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
n. a court-ordered short-term delay in judicial proceedings to gi...
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.
stipulation
n. an agreement, usually on a procedural matter, between the atto...
stock
1) n. inventory (goods) of a business meant for sale (as distingu...
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...
stockholder
n. shareholder in a corporation.
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...
street
n. a roadway in an urban area, owned and maintained by the munici...
strict construction
(narrow construction) n. interpreting the Constitution based on a...
strict liability
n. automatic responsibility (without having to prove negligence) ...
strike
1) v. to remove a statement from the record of the court proceedi...
structure
n. anything built by man/woman, from a shed to a highrise or a br...
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...
subcontractor
n. a person or business which has a contract (as an "independent ...
subject to
adj. referring to the acquisition of title to real property upon ...
sublease
n. the lease to another of all or a portion of premises by a tena...
submitted
n. the conclusion of all evidence and argument in a hearing or tr...
subordination
n. allowing a debt or claim which has priority to take second pos...
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
(subpoena): (suh-pea-nah) n. an order of the court for a witness ...
subpena duces tecum
: (suh-pea-nah dooh-chess-take-uhm or dooh-kess-take-uhm): a cour...
subpoena
n. the original spelling of subpena, still commonly used.
subrogation
n. assuming the legal rights of a person for whom expenses or a d...
subrogee
n. the person or entity that assumes the legal right to attempt t...
subrogor
n. a person or entity that transfers his/her/its legal right to c...
subscribe
v. 1) to sign at the end of a document. The courts have been flex...
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
n. putting one person in place of another, in particular replacem...
substitution of attorney
n. a document in which the party to a lawsuit states that his/her...
succession
n. the statutory rules of inheritance of a dead person's estate w...
successive sentences
n. in criminal law, the imposition of the penalty for each of sev...
suffering
n. the pain, hurt, inconvenience, embarrassment and/or inability ...
sui generis
(sooh-ee jen-ur-iss) n. Latin for "one of a kind," unique.
suicide
n. the intentional killing of oneself. Ironically, in most states...
suit
n. generic term for any filing of a complaint (or petition) askin...
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...
summation
n. the final argument of an attorney at the close of a trial in w...
summons
n. a document issued by the court at the time a lawsuit is filed,...
Superior Court
n. the name used in 16 states for the basic county trial court.
supersedeas
(sooh-purr-said-ee-uhs) Latin for "you shall desist," an order (w...
superseding cause
n. the same as an "intervening cause" or "supervening cause," whi...
supplemental
adj. referring to anything that is added to complete something, p...
suppression of evidence
n. 1) a judge's determination not to allow evidence to be admitte...
supra
(sooh-prah) Latin for "above," in legal briefs and decisions it r...
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...
surcharge
n. an additional charge of money made because it was omitted in t...
surety
n. a guarantor of payment or performance if another fails to pay ...
surplusage
n. a term used in analyzing legal documents and pleadings to refe...
surrebutal
n. in written or oral legal argument, the response to the other p...
surrender
v. 1) to turn over possession of real property, either voluntaril...
surrogate
n. 1) a person acting on behalf of another or a substitute, inclu...
surrogate court
n. a court in a few states (including New York) with jurisdiction...
survivor
n. a person who outlives another, as in "to my sons, Arnold and Z...
survivorship
n. the right to receive full title or ownership due to having sur...
suspended sentence
n. in criminal law, a penalty applied by a judge to a defendant c...
sustain
v. in trial practice, for a judge to agree that an attorney's obj...
swear
v. 1) to declare under oath that one will tell the truth (sometim...
swindle
v. to cheat through trick, device, false statements or other frau...
syndicate
n. a joint venture among individuals and/or corporations to accom...
T.R.O.
n. legal slang for temporary restraining order.
tainted evidence
n. in a criminal trial, information which has been obtained by il...
take
v. to gain or obtain possession, including the receipt of a legac...
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
n. a governmental assessment (charge) upon property value, transa...
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
n. the right to occupy real property permanently, for a time whic...
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 ...
tenant
n. a person who occupies real property owned by another based upo...
tender
1) v. to present to another person an unconditional offer to ente...
tenement
n. 1) a term found in older deeds or in boiler-plate deed languag...
tentative trust
n. a bank account deposited in the name of the depositor "in trus...
tenure
n. 1) in real property, the right to possess the property. 2) in ...
term
n. 1) in contracts or leases, a period of time, such as five year...
testacy
n. dying with a will (a testament). It is compared to "intestacy,...
testamentary
adj. pertaining to a will.
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 ...
testator
n. a person who has written a will which is in effect at the time...
testatrix
n. female form of testator, although distinguishing between gende...
testify
v. to give oral evidence under oath in answer to questions posed ...
testimony
n. oral evidence given under oath by a witness in answer to quest...
theft
n. the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionall...
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 ...
timely
adj. within the time required by statute, court rules or contract...
title
n. 1) ownership of real property or personal property, which stan...
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...
toll
v. 1) to delay, suspend or hold off the effect of a statute. Exam...
tontine
n. a rare agreement among several persons who agree that each wil...
tools of trade
n. in bankruptcy law, the equipment a person requires in order to...
tort
n. from French for "wrong," a civil wrong or wrongful act, whethe...
tort claims act
n. a federal or state act which, under certain conditions, waives...
tortfeasor
n. a person who commits a tort (civil wrong), either intentionall...
tortious
adj. referring to an act which is a tort (civil wrong).
trade
1) n. a business or occupation for profit, particularly in retail...
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...
trademark
n. a distinctive design, picture, emblem, logo or wording (or com...
trader
in U.S. income tax law, a person who deals in property as a busin...
transcript
n. the written record of all proceedings, including testimony, in...
transfer
n. 1) the movement of property from one person or entity to anoth...
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...
treason
n. the crime of betraying one's country, defined in Article III, ...
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...
treaty
n. a pact between nations which, if entered into by the United St...
treble damages
n. tripling damages allowed by state statute in certain types of ...
trespass
n. entering another person's property without permission of the o...
trial
n. the examination of facts and law presided over by a judge (or ...
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...
tribunal
n. any court, judicial body or board which has quasi-judicial fun...
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
n. an entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain pe...
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
n. a person or entity who holds the assets (corpus) of a trustee ...
trustee in bankruptcy
n. a person appointed by a bankruptcy court to supervise the affa...
trustor
n. the creator of a trust (who normally places the original asset...
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 ...
UCC-1
n. a financing agreement form for using personal property (e.g. e...
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...
unconscionable
adj. referring to a contract or bargain which is so unfair to a p...
unconstitutional
adj. referring to a statute, governmental conduct, court decision...
under the influence
n. one of many phrases for being drunk on alcoholic beverages or ...
underwrite
v. 1) to agree to pay an obligation which may arise from an insur...
underwriter
n. a company or person which/who underwrites an insurance policy,...
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
adj. referring to any action which is in violation of a statute, ...
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
n. the right to enjoy the benefits of real property or personal p...
use tax
n. a state tax on goods purchased in another state for use in the...
usurious
adj. referring to the interest on a debt which exceeds the maximu...
usury
n. a rate of interest on a debt which is exorbitant and in excess...
utter
v. 1) to issue a forged document. 2) to speak.
uxor
n. Latin for "wife." In deeds and documents the term "et ux." is ...
vacate
v. 1) for a judge to set aside or annul an order or judgment whic...
vagrancy
n. moving about without a means to support oneself, without a per...
valuable consideration
n. a necessary element of a contract, which confers a benefit on ...
variance
n. 1) an exception to a zoning ordinance, authorized by the appro...
vehicular manslaughter
n. the crime of causing the death of a human being due to illegal...
vendee
n. a buyer, particularly of real property.
vendor
n. a seller, particularly of real property.
venire
(ven-eer-ay) n. the list from which jurors may be selected.
venue
n. 1) the proper or most convenient location for trial of a case....
verdict
n. the decision of a jury after a trial, which must be accepted b...
verification
n. the declaration under oath or upon penalty of perjury that a s...
vest
v. to give an absolute right to title or ownership, including rea...
vested
adj. referring to having an absolute right or title, when previou...
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...
vigilante
n. someone who takes the law into his/her own hands by trying and...
viz
prep. to wit, or namely. Example: "There were several problems, v...
void
adj. referring to a statute, contract, ruling or anything which i...
void for vagueness
adj. referring to a statute defining a crime which is so vague th...
voidable
adj. capable of being made void. Example: a contract entered into...
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...
waive
v. to voluntarily give up something, including not enforcing a te...
waiver
n. the intentional and voluntary giving up of something, such as ...
wanton
adj. 1) grossly negligent to the extent of being recklessly uncon...
ward
n. 1) a person (usually a minor) who has a guardian appointed by ...
warrant
1) n. an order (writ) of a court which directs a law enforcement ...
warranty
n. a written statement of good quality of merchandise, clear titl...
warranty deed
n. a deed to real property which guarantees that the seller owns ...
waste
n. 1) any damage to real property by a tenant which lessens its v...
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...
whiplash
n. a common neck and/or back injury suffered in automobile accide...
white collar crime
n. a generic term for crimes involving commercial fraud, cheating...
widow
n. a woman whose husband died while she was married to him and wh...
widow's election
n. the choice a widow makes between accepting what her husband le...
widower
n. a man whose wife died while he was married to her and who has ...
will
n. a written document which leaves the estate of the person who s...
will contest
n. a lawsuit challenging the validity of a will and/or its terms....
willful
adj. referring to acts which are intentional, conscious and direc...
willfully
adv. referring to doing something intentionally, purposefully and...
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...
wiretap
n. using an electronic device to listen in on telephone lines, wh...
withdrawal
n. 1) in criminal law, leaving a conspiracy to commit a crime bef...
witness
1) n. a person who testifies under oath in a trial (or a depositi...
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
n. a written order of a judge requiring specific action by the pe...
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...
zoning
n. a system of developing a city or county plan in which various ...

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

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