SELECT A WORD TO VIEW THE COMPLETE DEFINITION:
n. short for "own recognizance," meaning the judge allowed a person accused in a criminal case to go free pending trial without posting bail. A person so released is often referred to as having been "OR-ed."
n. short for order to show cause.
n. 1) a swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, which would subject the oath-taker to a prosecution for the crime of perjury if he/she knowingly lies in a statement either orally in a trial or deposition or in writing. Traditionally, the oath concludes "so help me God,...
: (oh-bitter dick-tah) n. remarks of a judge which are not necessary to reaching a decision, but are made as comments, illustrations or thoughts. Generally, obiter dicta is simply dicta.
1) v. to ask the court not to allow a particular question asked of a witness by the opposing lawyer on the basis that it is either legally not permitted, confusing in its wording or improper in its "form." An attorney may also object to an answer to the question on the basis that it is not "responsi...
n. a lawyer's protest about the legal propriety of a question which has been asked of a witness by the opposing attorney, with the purpose of making the trial judge decide if the question can be asked. A proper objection must be based on one of the specific reasons for not allowing a question. These...
n. a legal duty to pay or do something.
(ah-bluh-jee) n. the person or entity to whom an obligation is owed, like the one to be paid on a promissory note.
(ah-bluh-gore) n. the person or entity who owes an obligation to another, as one who must pay on a promissory note.
adj., adv. a highly subjective reference to material or acts which display or describe sexual activity in a manner appealing only to "prurient interest," with no legitimate artistic, literary or scientific purpose. Pictures, writings, film or public acts which are found to be obscene are not protect...
obstruction of justice
n. an attempt to interfere with the administration of the courts, the judicial system or law enforcement officers, including threatening witnesses, improper conversations with jurors, hiding evidence or interfering with an arrest. Such activity is a crime.
n. 1) living in or using premises, as a tenant or owner. 2) taking possession of real property or a thing which has no known owner, with the intention of gaining ownership.
n. 1) someone living in a residence or using premises, as a tenant or owner. 2) a person who takes possession of real property or a thing which has no known owner, intending to gain ownership.
n. 1) fairly permanent trade, profession, employment, business or means of livelihood. 2) possession of real property or use of a thing.
n. an illness resulting from long-term employment in a particular type of work, such as black lung disease among miners, or cancer among asbestos installers. If the chances of being afflicted by such an illness are significantly higher than the average in the population, then a former employee may r...
n. a danger or risk inherent in certain employments or workplaces, such as deep-sea diving, cutting timber, high-rise steel construction, high-voltage electrical wiring, use of pesticides, painting bridges and many factories. The risk factor may limit insurance coverage of death or injury while at w...
occupy the field
v. to preempt (monopolize) an area of statutory law by a higher authority, such as federal preemption of bankruptcy or interstate commerce over state legislation, and state statutes or state constitution prevailing over laws of cities and counties on certain topics.
adj. reference to an attorney who is not actively involved in the day-to-day work of a law firm, but may be available in particular matters or for consultation. This designation often identifies a semi-retired partner, an attorney who occasionally uses the office for a few clients or one who only co...
adj. refers to an order of the court to take a lawsuit, petition or motion off the list of pending cases or motions which are scheduled to be heard. A case or motion will be ordered off calendar if the lawyers agree (stipulate) to drop it, if the moving party's lawyer fails to appear, if a suit is s...
n. an accused defendant in a criminal case or one convicted of a crime.
n. a crime or punishable violation of law of any type or magnitude.
n. a specific proposal to enter into an agreement with another. An offer is essential to the formation of an enforceable contract. An offer and acceptance of the offer creates the contract.
offer of proof
n. an explanation made by an attorney to a judge during trial to show why a question which has been objected to as immaterial or irrelevant will lead to evidence of value to proving the case of the lawyer's client. Often the judge will ask: "Where is this line of questions going?" and the offer of p...
n. a person or entity to whom an offer to enter into a contract is made by another (the offeror).
n. a person or entity who makes a specific proposal to another (the offeree) to enter into a contract.
n. 1) a high-level management official of a corporation or an unincorporated business, hired by the board of directors of a corporation or the owner of a business, such as a president, vice president, secretary, financial officer or chief executive officer (CEO). Such officers have the actual or app...
officer of the court
n. any person who has an obligation to promote justice and effective operation of the judicial system, including judges, the attorneys who appear in court, bailiffs, clerks and other personnel. As officers of the court lawyers have an absolute ethical duty to tell judges the truth, including avoidin...
1) adj. referring to an act, document or anything sanctioned or authorized by a public official or public agency. The term can also apply to an organizational act or product which is authorized by the organization, such as an Official Boy Scout knife or emblem, an official warranty, membership card ...
n. improper and/or illegal acts by a public official which violate his/her duty to follow the law and act on behalf of the public good. Often such conduct is under the guise or "color" of official authority.
n. a volunteer who assists and/or benefits another without contractual responsibility or legal duty to do so, but nevertheless wants compensation for his/her actions. The courts generally find that the intermeddler must rely on the equally voluntary gratitude of the recipient of the alleged benefit.
1) n. also called a "setoff," the deduction by a debtor from a claim or demand of a debt or obligation. Such an offset is based upon a counterclaim against the party making the original claim. Example: Harry Hardhead makes a claim or files a lawsuit asking for $20,000 from Danny Debtor as the final ...
n. a corporation chartered under the laws of a country other than the United States. Some countries (particularly in the Caribbean) are popular nations of incorporation since they have little corporate regulation or taxes and only moderate management fees. Professional trustees and nominal officials...
n. 1) failure to perform an act agreed to, where there is a duty to an individual or the public to act (including omitting to take care) or where it is required by law. Such an omission may give rise to a lawsuit in the same way as a negligent or improper act. 2) inadvertently leaving out a word, ph...
n. 1) an automobile insurance policy clause which provides coverage no matter who is driving the car. 2) a provision in a judgment for distribution of an estate of a deceased person, giving "all other property" to the beneficiaries named in the will.
on all fours
adj. a reference to a lawsuit in which all the legal issues are identical (or so close as to make no difference) to another case, particularly an appeals decision which is a precedent in deciding the suit before the court. Thus, an attorney will argue that the prior case of, for example, Steele v. M...
adj. in a promissory note, a requirement that the amount due must be paid when the person to whom the funds are owed demands payment (rather than upon a certain date or on installments). Such a note is called a "demand note."
prep. having been formally filed with the clerk of the court or the judge, such as a pleading is "on file."
on or about
prep. a phrase referring to a date or place used in a complaint in a lawsuit or criminal charge if there is any uncertainty at all, in order to protect the person making the allegations of fact from being challenged as being inaccurate. Thus, a complaint will read "On or about July 11, 1994, Defenda...
on or before
prep. a phrase usually found in a contract or promissory note, designating performance or payment by a particular date, but which may be done prior to that date.
on the merits
adj. referring to a judgment, decision or ruling of a court based upon the facts presented in evidence and the law applied to that evidence. A judge decides a case "on the merits" when he/she bases the decision on the fundamental issues and considers technical and procedural defenses as either incon...
on the stand
prep. testifying during a trial, in which the witness almost always sits in a chair beside the judge's bench, often raised above the floor level of the courtroom and behind a knee-high panel.
n. the conduct of judicial proceedings (trials, hearings and routine matters such as trial settings) in which the public may be present. Some hearings and discussions are held in the judge's chambers ("in camera") or with the courtroom cleared of non-participants and/or the jury such as adoptions, s...
n. the explanation by the attorneys for both sides at the beginning of the trial of what will be proved during the trial. The defendant's attorney may delay the opening statement for the defense until the plaintiff's evidence has been introduced. Unlike a "closing argument," the opening statement is...
operation of law
n. a change or transfer which occurs automatically due to existing laws and not an agreement or court order. Examples: a joint tenant obtains full title to real property when the other joint tenant dies; a spouse in a community property state will take title to all community property if the spouse d...
n. the explanation of a court's judgment. When a trial court judgment is appealed to a court of appeals, the appeals judge's opinion will be detailed, citing case precedents, analyzing the facts, the applicable law and the arguments of the attorneys for the parties. Those opinions considered by the ...
n. a right to purchase property or require another to perform upon agreed-upon terms. An option is paid for as part of a contract, but must be "exercised" in order for the property to be purchased or the performance of the other party to be required. "Exercise" of an option normally requires notice ...
conj. either; in the alternative. It is often vital to distinguish between "or" and "and." Example: Title to the Cadillac written "Mary or Bill Davidson" means either one could transfer the car, but if written "Mary and Bill Davidson," both must sign to change title.
n. an agreement made with spoken words and either no writing or only partially written. An oral contract is just as valid as a written agreement. The main problem with an oral contract is proving its existence or the terms. As one wag observed: "An oral contract is as good as the paper it's written ...
1) n. every direction or mandate of a judge or a court which is not a judgment or legal opinion (although both may include an order) directing that something be done or that there is prohibition against some act. This can range from an order that a case will be tried on a certain date, to an order t...
order to show cause
n. a judge's written mandate that a party appear in court on a certain date and give reasons, legal and/or factual, (show cause) why a particular order should not be made. This rather stringent method of making a party appear with proof and legal arguments is applied to cases of possible contempt fo...
n. a statute enacted by a city or town.
adj. regular, customary and continuing, and not unusual or extraordinary, as in ordinary expense, ordinary handling, ordinary risks or ordinary skill.
ordinary course of business
n. conduct of business within normal commercial customs and usages.
n. the authority of a court to hold a trial, as distinguished from appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals from trial judgments.
n. a child, particularly a minor, whose two natural parents are dead. In some cases, such as whether a child is eligible for public financial assistance to an orphan, "orphan" can mean a child who has lost one parent.
n. a person who has been given the appearance of being an employee or acting (an agent) for another (principal), which would make anyone dealing with the ostensible agent reasonably believe he/she was an employee or agent. This could include giving the ostensible agent stationery or forms of the com...
n. apparent authority to do something or represent another person or entity.
n. 1) the wrongful dispossession (putting out) of a rightful owner or tenant of real property, forcing the party pushed out of the premises to bring a lawsuit to regain possession. This often arises between partners (in a restaurant or store) or roommates, when one co-owner or co-tenant forces out t...
out of court
adj. referring to actions, including negotiations between parties and/or their attorneys, without any direct involvement of a judge or the judicial system. Most commonly it refers to an "out-of-court settlement" in which the parties work out a settlement agreement, which they may present to the cour...
n. moneys paid directly for necessary items by a contractor, trustee, executor, administrator or any person responsible to cover expenses not detailed by agreement. They may be recoverable from a defendant in a lawsuit for breach of contract; allowable for reimbursement by trustees, executors or adm...
n. a structure not connected with the primary residence on a parcel of property. This may include a shed, garage, barn, cabana, pool house or cottage.
n. popularly, anyone who commits serious crimes and acts outside the law.
n. an agreement in which a producer agrees to sell its entire production to the buyer, who in turn agrees to purchase the entire output, whatever that is. Example: an almond grower has a "home" for his output, and the packer of nuts is happy to have a sure-fire supply, even though it may have to sto...
v. 1) to charge more than a posted or advertised price. 2) to file a criminal complaint for crimes of greater degree than the known facts support, in an effort by the prosecutor to intimidate the accused.
v. 1) to reject an attorney's objection to a question to a witness or admission of evidence. By overruling the objection, the trial judge allows the question or evidence in court. If the judge agrees with the objection, he/she "sustains" the objection and does not allow the question or evidence. 2) ...
n. in criminal law, an action which might be innocent itself but if part of the preparation and active furtherance of a crime, can be introduced as evidence of a defendant's participation in a crime. Example: Rental of a van, purchase of explosives, obtaining a map of downtown New York City and goin...
v. to have a legal duty to pay funds to another. However, to owe does not make the amount "payable" if the date for payment has not yet arrived.
v. to have legal title or right to something. Mere possession is not ownership.
(O.R.) n. the basis for a judge allowing a person accused of a crime to be free while awaiting trial, without posting bail, on the defendant's own promise to appear and his/her reputation. The judge may consider the seriousness of the crime charged, the likelihood the defendant will always appear, t...
n. one who has legal title or right to something. Contrary to the cynical adage: "Possession is nine-tenths of the law," possession does not necessarily make one a legal owner.
n. legal title coupled with exclusive legal right to possession. Co-ownership, however, means that more than one person has a legal interest in the same thing.