Dictionary of Law

court :: legal definition

Court - n. 1) the judge, as in "The court rules in favor of the plaintiff." 2) any official tribunal (court) presided over by a judge or judges in which legal issues and claims are heard and determined. In the United States there are essentially two systems: federal courts and state courts. The basic federal court system has jurisdiction over cases involving federal statutes, constitutional questions, actions between citizens of different states, and certain other types of cases. Its trial courts are District Courts in one or more districts per state, over which there are District Courts of Appeal (usually three-judge panels) to hear appeals from judgments of the District Courts within the "circuit." There are 10 geographic circuits throughout the nation. Appeals on constitutional questions and other significant cases are heard by the Supreme Court, but only if that court agrees to hear the case. There are also special federal courts such as bankruptcy and tax courts with appeals directed to the District Courts. Each state has local trial courts, which include courts for misdemeanors (non-penitentiary crimes), smaller demand civil actions (called municipal, city, justice or some other designation), and then courts, usually set up in each county (variously called Superior, District, County, Common Pleas courts and called Supreme Court in New York) to hear felonies (crimes punished by state prison terms), estates, divorces and major lawsuits. The highest state court is called the State Supreme Court, except in New York and Maryland, which call them Court of Appeals. Some 29 states have intermediate appeals courts which hear appeals from trial courts which will result in final decisions unless the State Supreme Court chooses to consider the matter. Some states have speciality courts such as family, surrogate and domestic relations. Small claims courts are an adjunct of the lowest courts handling lesser disputes (although California's limit is $5,000) with no representation by attorneys and short and somewhat informal trials conducted by judges, commissioners or lawyers. The great number of law cases and lawyers' procedural maneuvers has clogged courts' calendars and has induced many states or local courts to set up mediation, arbitration, mandatory settlement conferences and other formats to encourage settlement or early judgments without the cost and wait of full court trials.

Related Law Terms

abortion :: n. the termination of pregnancy by various means, ... ed abortion continue in the future.
abstract of judgment :: n. a written summary of a judgment which states ho ... aying the debt. See also: levy lien
abuse of discretion :: n. a polite way of saying a trial judge has made s ... partner's realistic ability to pay.
accessory :: n. a second-string player who helps in the commiss ... responsible. See also: aid and abet
acknowledgment :: n. the section at the end of a document where a no ... me leases and various other papers.
actionable :: adj. when enough facts or circumstances exist to m ... ction lawsuit malicious prosecution
adjuster :: n. an employee (usually a non-lawyer) of an insura ... e company in approving settlements.
administrative law :: n. the procedures created by administrative agenci ... judge Administrative Procedure Act
administrative law judge :: n. a professional hearing officer who works for th ... higher pay in being called "judge."
Administrative Procedure Act :: n. the federal act which established the rules and ... strative hearing administrative law
administrator :: n. the person appointed by the court to handle the ... e also: administer executor probate
admissible evidence :: n. evidence which the trial judge finds is useful ... olving violence. See also: evidence
admission to bail :: n. an order of a court in a criminal case allowing ... lient. See also: bail bail bondsman
adoption :: n. the taking of a child into one's family, creati ... the child are met. See also: adopt
adverse possession :: n. a means to acquire title to land through obviou ... o: possession prescriptive easement
adverse witness :: n. a witness in a trial who is found by the judge ... r the opposition. See also: witness
advisory opinion :: n. an opinion stated by a judge or a court upon th ... o: actual controversy friendly suit
alimony :: n. support paid by one ex-spouse to the other as o ... ild support divorce spousal support
amend :: v. to alter or change by adding, subtracting, or s ... mended pleading statute stipulation
ancillary jurisdiction :: n. a term used in federal courts when the court de ... ine. See also: pendent jurisdiction
answer :: n. in law, a written pleading filed by a defendant ... emurrer general denial verification
antitrust laws :: n. acts adopted by Congress to outlaw or restrict ... so: price fixing restraint of trade
appeal :: 1) v. to ask a higher court to reverse the decisio ... ng, as in "he has filed an appeal."
appearance :: n. the act of a party or an attorney showing up in ... neral appearance special appearance
appellate court :: n. a court of appeals which hears appeals from low ... court of appeals. See also: appeal
approach the bench :: v. an attorney's movement from the counsel table t ... ake a recess to go to the restroom.
arbitration :: n. a mini-trial, which may be for a lawsuit ready ... tance of the arbitrator's decision.
arbitrator :: n. one who conducts an arbitration, and serves as ... he other two. See also: arbitration
arrest :: v. 1) to take or hold a suspected criminal with le ... anda warning probable cause warrant
Associate Justice :: n. a member of the U.S. Supreme Court appointed by ... acquitted.) See also: Supreme Court
attachment :: n. the seizing of money or property prior to getti ... bond. See also: writ of attachment
attempt :: v. and n. to actually try to commit a crime and ha ... felt he tried but did not succeed.
attorney :: n. 1) an agent or someone authorized to act for an ... ialize. See also: court reciprocity
Attorney General :: n. in each state and the federal government the hi ... izenry. See also: Solicitor General
attorney of record :: n. the attorney who has appeared in court and/or s ... eve have long since been completed.
authorities :: n. 1) previous decisions by courts of appeal which ... also: brief cite decision precedent
bail :: 1) n. the money or bond put up to secure the relea ... bond bail bondsman own recognizance
bank :: n. 1) an officially chartered institution empowere ... erred to as "in bank" or "en banc."
bankruptcy :: n. a federal system of statutes and courts which p ... y proceedings trustee in bankruptcy
bankruptcy court :: n. the specialized federal court in which bankrupt ... : bankruptcy bankruptcy proceedings
bankruptcy proceedings :: n. the bankruptcy procedure is: a) filing a petiti ... ankruptcy court claim in bankruptcy
bar association :: n. an organization of lawyers. There are two types ... oluntary organization of attorneys.
bar examination :: n. the examination given in each state by either t ... n that district. See also: attorney
bias :: n. the predisposition of a judge, arbitrator, pros ... ire. See also: hometowned voir dire
bifurcate :: v. the order or ruling of a judge that one issue i ... is necessary. See also: bifurcation
Bill of Rights :: n. the first ten amendments to the federal Constit ... ved to the states or to the people.
brief :: 1) n. a written legal argument, usually in a forma ... another person. See also: precedent
calendar :: 1) n. the list of cases to be called for trial bef ... clerk of the court calendars cases.
capital offense :: n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the ... . See also: bail capital punishment
capital punishment :: n. execution (death) for a capital offense. The U. ... or death. See also: capital offense
case :: n. short for a cause of action, lawsuit, or the ri ... ny, the court stated the rule as:."
case law :: n. reported decisions of appeals courts and other ... es. See also: case system precedent
case of first impression :: n. a case in which a question of interpretation of ... rts may be examined as a guideline.
case system :: n. the method of studying law generally used in Am ... Langdell and soon became standard.
certiorari :: n. (sersh-oh-rare-ee) a writ (order) of a higher c ... cedents (previously decided cases).
chambers :: n. the private office of a judge, usually close to ... s." See also: in camera in chambers
Chief Justice :: n. the presiding judge of any State Supreme Court ... nks of existing Associate Justices.
child custody :: n. a court's determination of which parent, relati ... pport custody divorce joint custody
circuit courts :: n. a movable court in which the judge holds court ... alled the Circuit Courts of Appeal.
citation :: n. 1) a notice to appear in court due to the proba ... se is not in point." See also: cite
civil :: adj. 1) that part of the law that encompasses busi ... also: civil liberties civil rights
civil calendar :: n. the list of lawsuits (cases) that are approachi ... y sent to trial. See also: calendar
claim against a governmental agency :: n. any time one believes he/she has a right to pay ... orter than other types of lawsuits.
class action :: n. a lawsuit filed by one or more people on behalf ... ees usually require court approval.
clean hands doctrine :: n. a rule of law that a person coming to court wit ... ices. See also: affirmative defense
clerk :: n. 1) an official or employee who handles the busi ... stocking shelves, or counter sales.
comity :: n. when one court defers to the jurisdiction of an ... of cases to which comity may apply.
common law :: n. the traditional unwritten law of England, based ... plied without reference to statute.
community property :: n. property and profits received by a husband and ... and distribution separate property
comparative negligence :: n. a rule of law applied in accident cases to dete ... utory negligence damages negligence
competent :: adj. 1) in general, able to act in the circumstanc ... all bases. See also: evidence will
complaint :: n. the first document filed with the court (actual ... g prayer service of process summons
conclusion :: n. 1) in general, the end. 2) in a trial, when all ... onclusion of fact conclusion of law
conclusion of fact :: n. in a trial, the final result of an analysis of ... quested. See also: finding judgment
conclusion of law :: n. a judge's final decision on a question of law w ... aw if requested. See also: judgment
concurrent sentences :: n. sentences for more than one crime which are to ... ith the longest period controlling.
conflict of law :: n. a situation in which both state and federal law ... y arose. See also: forum preemption
consent decree :: n. an order of a judge based upon an agreement, al ... he same. See also: consent judgment
conservator :: n. a guardian and protector appointed by a judge t ... ies. See also: conservatee guardian
constitution :: n. the fundamental, underlying document which esta ... ts common law constitutional rights
constitutional rights :: n. rights given or reserved to the people by the U ... e also: Bill of Rights constitution
consumer protection laws :: n. almost all states and the federal government ha ... rranty product liability securities
contempt of court :: n. there are essentially two types of contempt: a) ... roduce evidence. See also: sanction
contingent fee :: n. a fee to a lawyer which will be due and payable ... epend on the outcome are unethical.
continuing objection :: n. an objection to certain questions or testimony ... ional distress. See also: objection
corporate opportunity :: n. a business opportunity which becomes known to a ... ative action fiduciary relationship
count :: n. each separate statement in a complaint which st ... also: cause of action common counts
counterclaim :: n. a retaliatory claim by a defendant against a pl ... d. See also: answer cross-complaint
court costs :: n. fees for expenses that the courts pass on to at ... ee also: cost bill prevailing party
court of appeals :: n. any court (state or federal) which hears appeal ... eals courts. See also: appeal court
Court of Customs and Patent Appeals :: n. a federal court established (1929) to hear appe ... lso: Customs Court patent trademark
court-martial :: 1) n. a military court for trying offenses in viol ... the U.S. Court of Military Appeals.
criminal calendar :: n. the list of criminal cases to be called in cour ... e plea preliminary hearing sentence
cross-complaint :: n. after a complaint has been filed against a defe ... g prayer service of process summons
cross-examination :: n. the opportunity for the attorney (or an unrepre ... examination testimony trial witness
Customs Court :: n. a federal court established (1926) to hear appe ... Court of Customs and Patent Appeals
damages :: n. the amount of money which a plaintiff (the pers ... liquidated damages special damages
de novo :: adj. Latin for "anew," which means starting over, ... n, de novo. See also: trial de novo
declaratory judgment :: n. a judgment of a court which determines the righ ... ys it. See also: declaratory relief
dedication :: n. the giving of land by a private person or entit ... perty. See also: quiet title action
default judgment :: n. if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to ... See also: complaint default summons
deficiency judgment :: n. a judgment for an amount not covered by the val ... o: foreclosure judicial foreclosure
demurrer :: n. (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint ... demurrer. See also: motion pleading
deposition :: n. the taking and recording of testimony of a witn ... See also: deponent depose discovery
directed verdict :: n. a verdict by a jury based on the specific direc ... element judgment jury trial verdict
disability :: n. 1) a condition which prevents one from performi ... ct, or being insane or incompetent.
disbar :: v. to remove an attorney from the list of practici ... legal ethics. (See moral turpitude
discrimination :: n. unequal treatment of persons, for a reason whic ... qual rights. See also: civil rights
dismiss :: v. the ruling by a judge that all or a portion (on ... nst that party. See also: dismissal
dismissal :: n. 1) the act of voluntarily terminating a crimina ... f the settlement. See also: dismiss
dissent :: n. 1) the opinion of a judge of a court of appeals ... sagreement with prevailing thought.
District Attorney (D.A.) :: n. an elected official of a county or a designated ... dent and serve at his/her pleasure.
district court :: n. 1) in the federal court system, a trial court f ... urt in some states. See also: court
diversity of citizenship :: n. when opposing parties in a lawsuit are citizens ... unt in controversy exceeds $10,000.
DNA :: n. scientifically, deoxyribonucleic acid, a chromo ... is strongly in favor of admission.
docket :: 1) n. the cases on a court calendar. 2) n. brief n ... r or make notes on action in court.
double jeopardy :: n. placing someone on trial a second time for an o ... that occurred thirty years earlier.
eminent domain :: n. the power of a governmental entity (federal, st ... ngs. See also: condemn condemnation
equal opportunity :: 1) n. a right supposedly guaranteed by both federa ... be so. See also: affirmative action
equal protection of the law :: n. the right of all persons to have the same acces ... laws." See also: due process of law
equity :: n. 1) a venerable group of rights and procedures t ... ry enjoin equitable injunction writ
error :: n. a mistake by a judge in procedure or in substan ... or. See also: harmless error remand
ex parte :: (ex par-tay, but popularly, ex party) adj. Latin m ... and place of any ex parte hearing.
ex post facto :: adj. Latin for "after the fact," which refers to l ... ted before the new law was adopted.
examination :: n. 1) the questioning of a witness by an attorney. ... irect examination testimony witness
excusable neglect :: n. a legitimate excuse for the failure of a party ... See also: default default judgment
execution :: n. 1) the act of getting an officer of the court t ... so: death penalty writ of execution
extradition :: n. the surrender by one state or country of a pers ... ty. See also: fugitive from justice
extraordinary fees :: n. attorneys' fees claimed, usually in the adminis ... n. See also: attorney's fee probate
federal courts :: n. the court system which handles civil and crimin ... rans' appeals. See also: bankruptcy
federal question :: n. one basis for filing a lawsuit in federal distr ... ves the federal court jurisdiction.
Federal Tort Claims Act :: n. a statute (1948) which removed the power of the ... diction to federal district courts.
felony :: n. 1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishabl ... ion. See also: misdemeanor sentence
fictitious defendants :: n. when a party suing (plaintiff) is not sure if h ... are not permitted in federal cases.
file :: 1) v. to deposit with the clerk of the court a wri ... rrespondence and notes on the case.
final settlement :: n. an agreement reached by the parties to a lawsui ... rneys present. See also: settlement
finding :: n. the determination of a factual question vital ( ... e case. See also: conclusion of law
first impression :: adj. referring to a legal issue which has never be ... s for both sides to assist him/her.
foreclosure :: n. the system by which a party who has loaned mone ... ced sale mortgage notice of default
forum non conveniens :: (for-uhm nahn cahn-vee-nee-ehns) n. Latin for a fo ... most convenient location for trial.
fugitive from justice :: n. a person convicted or accused of a crime who hi ... extradition. See also: extradition
full faith and credit :: n. the provision in Article IV, Section 1 of the U ... "foreign" (out-of-state) judgment.
gag order :: n. a judge's order prohibiting the attorneys and t ... st day in office, January 22, 1993.
general appearance :: n. an attorney's representation of a client in cou ... case. See also: special appearance
general partner :: n. 1) usually one of the owners and operators of a ... ted partnership partner partnership
governmental immunity :: n. the doctrine from English common law that no go ... o: Federal Tort Claims Act immunity
Grand Jury :: n. a jury in each county or federal court district ... arge indictment preliminary hearing
grand larceny :: n. the crime of theft of another's property (inclu ... f the loot. See also: larceny theft
gravamen :: n. Latin for "to weigh down," the basic gist of ev ... o: cause of action charge complaint
guardian :: n. a person who has been appointed by a judge to t ... torship. See also: conservator ward
habeas corpus :: (hay-bee-us core-puss) n. Latin for "you have the ... nality of a state court conviction.
harmless error :: n. an error by a judge in the conduct of a trial w ... ar to be harmless." See also: error
hearing :: n. any proceeding before a judge or other magistra ... e hearing preliminary hearing trial
hearsay rule :: n. the basic rule that testimony or documents whic ... interest dying declaration hearsay
home rule :: n. the power of a local city or county to set up i ... state funds for local improvements.
hostile possession :: n. occupancy of a piece of real property coupled w ... verse possession quiet title action
hostile witness :: n. technically an "adverse witness" in a trial who ... so: adverse witness leading witness
hung jury :: n. slang for a hopelessly deadlocked jury in a cri ... also: dismissal jury mistrial trial
impaneling :: n. the act of selecting a jury from the list of po ... e juror jury panel venire voir dire
in personam :: adj. (in purr-soh-nam) from Latin for "directed to ... here. See also: in rem jurisdiction
incest :: n. sexual intercourse between close blood relative ... ily genes carrying such weaknesses.
indictment :: n. a charge of a felony (serious crime) voted by a ... ictable offense preliminary hearing
indigent :: 1) n. a person so poor and needy that he/she canno ... person who is very poor and needy.
information :: n. an accusation or criminal charge brought by the ... Jury indictment preliminary hearing
injunction :: n. a writ (order) issued by a court ordering someo ... t. See also: injunctive relief writ
insanity :: n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a p ... M'Naughten rule temporary insanity
insolvency :: n. 1) the condition of having more debts (liabilit ... the property. See also: bankruptcy
insufficient evidence :: n. a finding (decision) by a trial judge or an app ... l court. See also: evidence finding
interlocutory decree :: n. a court judgment which is temporary and not int ... ppeared to waste the parties' time.
interrogatories :: n. a set of written questions to a party to a laws ... ing. See also: deposition discovery
interstate commerce :: n. commercial trade, business, movement of goods o ... and the I.C.C. may soon be history.
irrelevant :: adj. not important, pertinent, or germane to the m ... ce immaterial incompetent objection
joinder :: n. the joining together of several lawsuits or sev ... er misjoinder multiplicity of suits
joinder of issue :: n. that point in a lawsuit when the defendant has ... matters are to be decided by trial.
joint and several :: adj. referring to a debt or a judgment for neglige ... ution contributory negligence joint
joint powers agreement :: n. a contract between a city, a county and/or a sp ... istrict or other government entity.
judge :: 1) n. an official with the authority and responsib ... ice justice of the peace magistrate
judgment :: n. the final decision by a court in a lawsuit, cri ... ous with judgment. See also: decree
judgment creditor :: n. the winning plaintiff in a lawsuit to whom the ... 's rights judgment prevailing party
judgment notwithstanding the verdict :: (N.O.V.) n. reversal of a jury's verdict by the tr ... veredicto. See also: N.O.V. verdict
jurisdiction :: n. the authority given by law to a court to try ca ... Superior Court Supreme Court venue
jurisdictional amount :: n. the range between the minimum and maximum amoun ... equirements. See also: jurisdiction
jury :: n. one of the remarkable innovations of the Englis ... hallenge sequester venire voir dire
jury fees :: n. the rather minimal amount paid each day to juro ... ees as a court cost. See also: jury
jury trial :: n. a trial of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution in ... the final judgment. See also: jury
justice :: n. 1) fairness. 2) moral rightness. 3) a scheme or ... e appellate courts. See also: court
juvenile court :: n. a special court or department of a trial court ... See also: court juvenile delinquent
juvenile delinquent :: n. a person who is under age (usually below 18), w ... low as 14. See also: juvenile court
kangaroo court :: n. 1) a mock court set up without legal basis, suc ... See also: star chamber proceedings
larceny :: n. the crime of taking the goods of another person ... : grand larceny petty larceny theft
last clear chance :: n. a rule of law in determining responsibility for ... contributory negligence negligence
law :: n. 1) any system of regulations to govern the cond ... um maritime law natural law statute
law book :: n. any of numerous volumes dealing with law, inclu ... : common law law Shepardize statute
lawsuit :: n. a common term for a legal action by one person ... See also: case cause of action suit
leading :: 1) v. short for "leading the witness," in which th ... tness leading the witness objection
leading question :: n. a question asked of a witness by an attorney du ... e also: cross-examination objection
legal aid society :: n. an organization formed to assist persons who ha ... bar association. See also: pro bono
levy :: 1) v. to seize (take) property upon a writ of exec ... heriff's sale tax writ of execution
libel :: 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), wr ... libel per se public figure slander
lien :: n. any official claim or charge against property o ... ord's lien mechanic's lien mortgage
limited partnership :: n. a special type of partnership which is very com ... mited liability partner partnership
lis pendens :: (lease pen-dense) n. Latin for "a suit pending," a ... ob can be penalized by court order.
living will :: n. also called "a durable power of attorney," it i ... upport. See also: power of attorney
long cause :: n. a lawsuit in which it is estimated that a trial ... dar call court calendar short cause
long-arm statute :: n. law which gives a local state court jurisdictio ... rt jurisdiction over the defendant.
lower court :: n. 1) any court of lesser rank, such as municipal ... ruled Defendant had no basis for:."
magistrate :: n. 1) a generic term for any judge of a court, or ... ce of the peace preliminary hearing
malpractice :: n. An act or continuing conduct of a professional ... eed. See also: errors and omissions
mandamus :: (man-dame-us) n. Latin for "we order," a writ (mor ... mandamus. See also: writ of mandate
mandate :: n. 1) any mandatory order or requirement under sta ... See also: mandamus writ of mandate
Mann Act :: n. a federal statute making it a crime to transpor ... is five years in a federal prison.
marshal :: 1) n. a federal court official who may serve paper ... tablish priorities among creditors.
Miranda warning :: n. the requirement, also called the Miranda rule, ... me such a suspect? See also: rights
misjoinder :: n. the inclusion of parties (plaintiffs or defenda ... ent transactions. See also: joinder
mistrial :: n. the termination of a trial before its normal co ... from the beginning. See also: trial
modification :: n. a change in an existing court order or judgment ... terms of child support and custody.
mortgage :: n. a document in which the owner pledges his/her/i ... losure notice of default trust deed
motion :: n. a formal request made to a judge for an order o ... g, an oral motion may be permitted.
motion for a new trial :: n. a request made by the loser for the case to be ... hstanding the verdict motion N.O.V.
motion for a summary judgment :: n. a written request for a judgment in the moving ... strict procedures. See also: motion
municipal court :: n. a lower court which usually tries criminal misd ... nd/or small claims. See also: court
murder :: n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, ... premeditation second degree murder
N.O.V. :: adj. shorthand acronym of Latin for non obstante v ... notwithstanding the verdict verdic
negligence :: n. failure to exercise the care toward others whic ... gence per se res ipsa loquitur tort
nisi prius :: : (nee-see pree-us) adj. Latin for "unless first," ... : original jurisdiction trial court
no contest :: n. in criminal law, a defendant's plea in court th ... : nolo contendere plea plea bargain
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
nolle prosequi :: (no-lay pro-say-kwee) n. Latin for "we shall no lo ... nocent and declared nolle prosequi.
non-suit :: n. a ruling by the judge in a lawsuit either when ... the defendant. See also: dismissal
not guilty :: n. 1) plea of a person who claims not to have comm ... t guilty by reason of insanity plea
not guilty by reason of insanity :: n. plea in court of a person charged with a crime ... fense not guilty temporary insanity
notary public :: n. a person authorized by the state in which the p ... he state which appoints the notary.
notice :: n. 1) information, usually in writing in all legal ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
nunc pro tunc :: (nuhnk proh tuhnk) adj. Latin for "now for then," ... r actuality of a bigamous marriage.
object :: 1) v. to ask the court not to allow a particular q ... he contract..." See also: objection
objection :: n. a lawyer's protest about the legal propriety of ... ng question object overrule sustain
offer of proof :: n. an explanation made by an attorney to a judge d ... rial irrelevant objection testimony
officer of the court :: n. any person who has an obligation to promote jus ... also: attorney bailiff clerk judge
on all fours :: adj. a reference to a lawsuit in which all the leg ... ame conclusion. See also: precedent
on the merits :: adj. referring to a judgment, decision or ruling o ... s if this mistake had not occurred.
open court :: n. the conduct of judicial proceedings (trials, he ... which are usually held in chambers.
opinion :: n. the explanation of a court's judgment. When a t ... which the author is not specified.
order :: 1) n. every direction or mandate of a judge or a c ... defendant. See also: judge judgment
out of court :: adj. referring to actions, including negotiations ... is dismissed. See also: settlement
overrule :: v. 1) to reject an attorney's objection to a quest ... : appellate court objection sustain
own recognizance :: (O.R.) n. the basis for a judge allowing a person ... n recognizance. See also: bail O.R.
paid into court :: adj. referring to money deposited with the clerk o ... differences. See also: interpleader
palimony :: n. a substitute for alimony in cases in which the ... the relationship. See also: alimony
pendent jurisdiction :: n. in federal procedure, the policy that allows a ... n. (It also may be spelled: pendant
peremptory challenge :: n. the right of the plaintiff and the defendant in ... challenge for cause jury voir dire
peremptory writ of mandate :: (or mandamus) n. a final order of a court to any g ... ve writ. See also: mandamus mandate
perjury :: n. the crime of intentionally lying after being du ... ly made a mistake or misunderstood.
petition :: 1) n. a formal written request to a court for an o ... dent. See also: divorce motion writ
plain error :: n. a mistake by the trial court found by a court o ... ire reversal of the trial decision.
plea :: n. 1) in criminal law, the response by an accused ... raignment plead preliminary hearing
plea bargain :: n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between th ... the ban. See also: cop a plea plea
police court :: n. in some states a type of municipal court which ... municipal court preliminary hearing
political question :: n. the determination by a court (particularly the ... ne-vote," as constitutional issues.
power of attorney :: n. a written document signed by a person giving an ... y, as in a real estate transaction.
precedent :: 1) n. a prior reported opinion of an appeals court ... to perform. See also: stare decisis
preemption :: n. the rule of law that if the federal government ... cs control may parallel each other.
preliminary hearing :: n. in criminal law, a hearing to determine if a pe ... nment charge Grand Jury information
presiding judge :: n. 1) in both state and federal appeals court, the ... and chairs meetings of the judges.
privileged communication :: n. statements and conversations made under circums ... See also: attorney-client privilege
privileges and immunities :: n. the fundamental rights that people enjoy in fre ... t impinge on constitutional rights.
pro hac vice :: : (proh hock vee-chay) prep. Latin for "this time ... association with a local attorney.
probate :: 1) n. the process of proving a will is valid and t ... e also: administrator executor will
procedure :: n. the methods and mechanics of the legal process. ... cases are tried and judgments made.
promissory note :: n. a written promise by a person (variously called ... lso: interest obligee obligor usury
proof :: n. confirmation of a fact by evidence. In a trial, ... doubt preponderance of the evidence
proper party :: n. a person or entity who has an interest (financi ... lf. See also: necessary party party
prosecute :: v. 1) in criminal law, to charge a person with a c ... rney General prosecution prosecutor
prosecution :: n. 1) in criminal law, the government attorney cha ... se). See also: prosecute prosecutor
prostitution :: n. the profession of performing sexual acts for mo ... so: pander panderer pimp prostitute
public defender :: n. an elected or appointed public official (usuall ... to convicted indigents for appeals.
question of fact :: n. in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution, an issue ... also: finding judge question of law
question of law :: n. an issue arising in a lawsuit or criminal prose ... udge question of fact trier of fact
qui tam action :: : (kwee tam) n. from Latin for "who as well," a la ... technical violations and/or errors.
quiet title action :: n. a lawsuit to establish a party's title to real ... opposition. See also: notice title
quorum :: n. the number of people required to be present bef ... ly set by statute. See also: bylaws
quotient verdict :: n. an award of money damages set by a jury in a la ... rial motion for a new trial verdict
rape :: 1) n. the crime of sexual intercourse (with actual ... See also: date rape statutory rape
reasonable doubt :: n. not being sure of a criminal defendant's guilt ... also: preponderance of the evidence
record :: 1) v. (ree-cored) to put a document into the offic ... eeding race to the courthouse trial
regulations :: n. rules and administrative codes issued by govern ... es usually have similar procedures.
release on one's own recognizance :: v. for a judge to allow a criminal defendant pre-t ... ourtroom slang. See also: bail O.R.
remand :: v. to send back. An appeals court may remand a cas ... ee also: appeal preliminary hearing
remedy :: n. the means to achieve justice in any matter in w ... gment provisional remedy settlement
remittitur :: n. 1) a judge's order reducing a judgment awarded ... party on appeal). See also: remand
removal :: n. 1) the change of a legal case from one court to ... a crime or successful impeachment.
reply brief :: n. the written legal argument of the respondent (t ... ee also: appeal appellee respondent
reports :: n. the published decisions of appeals courts in al ... ilable in almost all law libraries.
respondent :: n. 1) the party who is required to answer a petiti ... "appellant") in the appeals court.
reversal :: n. the decision of a court of appeal ruling that t ... e of damages is ordered to dismiss.
review :: n. the judicial consideration of a lower court jud ... ate court reversal reversible error
ripe :: adj. in constitutional law, referring to a law cas ... or more issues raised by the case.
rogatory letters :: n. a written request by a judge to a judge in anot ... also: deposition testimony witness
rule :: 1) v. to decide a legal question, by a court, as i ... ee also: regulations rules of court
rules of court :: n. a set of procedural regulations adopted by cour ... s counsel. See also: procedure rule
sanction :: n. 1) a financial penalty imposed by a judge on a ... ction." See also: contempt of court
satisfaction of judgment :: n. a document signed by a judgment creditor (the p ... ord. See also: abstract of judgment
search and seizure :: n. examination of a person's premises (residence, ... robable cause search search warrant
sentence :: 1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted o ... ence restitution suspended sentence
service of process :: n. the delivery of copies of legal documents such ... by publication substituted service
set aside :: v. to annul or negate a court order or judgment by ... "set aside" the original dismissal.
settlement :: n. the resolution of a lawsuit (or of a legal disp ... ult in settlement. See also: settle
Shepardize :: n. a method of locating reports of appeals decisio ... m prior case law. See also: reports
sheriff :: n. the top law enforcement officer for a county, u ... ." See also: bailiff sheriff's sale
shield laws :: n. statutes enacted in some states which declare t ... See also: privileged communication
short cause :: n. a lawsuit which is estimated by the parties (us ... l be reset later as a "long cause."
shortening time :: n. an order of the court in response to the motion ... e notice is served within 24 hours.
sidebar :: n. 1) physically, an area in front of or next to t ... See also: approach the bench bench
small claims court :: n. a division of most municipal, city or other low ... od example of a small claims court.
solicitor :: n. an English attorney who may perform all legal s ... s or barristers. See also: attorney
special appearance :: n. the representation by an attorney of a person i ... anged. See also: general appearance
special circumstances :: n. in criminal cases, particularly homicides, acti ... urant. See also: capital punishment
special master :: n. a person appointed by the court to carry out an ... ting to the judge. See also: master
special prosecutor :: n. an attorney from outside of the government sele ... Robert Bork finally discharged Cox.
speedy trial :: n. in criminal prosecutions, the right of a defend ... hurt by the waiver. See also: trial
standing :: n. the right to file a lawsuit or file a petition ... so: actual controversy jurisdiction
star chamber proceedings :: n. any judicial or quasi-judicial action, trial or ... ate 1960s. See also: kangaroo court
stare decisis :: : (stah-ree duh-sigh-sis) n. Latin for "to stand b ... pellate court lower court precedent
state action :: n. in federal Civil Rights Acts, dating back to 18 ... for damages. See also: civil rights
status conference :: n. a pre-trial meeting of attorneys before a judge ... g a trial date. See also: discovery
statute of limitations :: n. a law which sets the maximum period which one c ... ies. See also: demurrer laches toll
strike :: 1) v. to remove a statement from the record of the ... ing the business, factory or store.
suit :: n. generic term for any filing of a complaint (or ... "suit in equity." See also: lawsuit
summary adjudication of issues :: n. a court order ruling that certain factual issue ... is made. See also: summary judgment
summary judgment :: n. a court order ruling that no factual issues rem ... tion summary adjudication of issues
supersedeas :: (sooh-purr-said-ee-uhs) Latin for "you shall desis ... . See also: appeal court of appeals
supra :: (sooh-prah) Latin for "above," in legal briefs and ... d as Guinn v. United States, supra.
supremacy clause :: n. Article VI, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, ... f involving a constitutional issue.
Supreme Court :: n. 1) the highest court in the United States, whic ... rt in other states. See also: court
sustain :: v. in trial practice, for a judge to agree that an ... /she will "overrule" the objection.
tax :: n. a governmental assessment (charge) upon propert ... unified estate and gift tax use tax
Tax Court :: n. a federal agency with courts in major cities wh ... Appeals. See also: court income tax
temporary injunction :: n. a court order prohibiting an action by a party ... ry injunction. See also: injunction
temporary insanity :: n. in a criminal prosecution, a defense by the acc ... diminished capacity insanity intent
testimony :: n. oral evidence given under oath by a witness in ... tion evidence testify trial witness
toll :: v. 1) to delay, suspend or hold off the effect of ... bridge or take passage on a ferry.
tort claims act :: n. a federal or state act which, under certain con ... . See also: Federal Tort Claims Act
transcript :: n. the written record of all proceedings, includin ... unless transcription is requested.
trial :: n. the examination of facts and law presided over ... at a hearing held at a later time.
trial court :: n. the court which holds the original trial, as di ... a court of appeals. See also: trial
trial de novo :: n. a form of appeal in which the appeals court hol ... from small claims court judgments.
trust :: n. an entity created to hold assets for the benefi ... testamentary trust trustee trustor
unconstitutional :: adj. referring to a statute, governmental conduct, ... ee also: constitution Supreme Court
variance :: n. 1) an exception to a zoning ordinance, authoriz ... process." See also: dismissal proof
venue :: n. 1) the proper or most convenient location for t ... ion. See also: forum non conveniens
verdict :: n. the decision of a jury after a trial, which mus ... nt quotient verdict special verdict
void :: adj. referring to a statute, contract, ruling or a ... udgment is void. See also: voidable
voir dire :: (vwahr [with a near-silent "r"] deer) n. from Fren ... t witness jury peremptory challenge
warrant :: 1) n. an order (writ) of a court which directs a l ... e search and seizure search warrant
will :: n. a written document which leaves the estate of t ... will and testament probate testator
writ of coram nobis :: : (writ of core-uhm noh-bis) n. from Latin for "in ... ment if known at the time of trial.
youthful offenders :: n. under-age people accused of crimes who are proc ... alty. See also: juvenile delinquent

Popular Law Searches

legal definition ministerial act :: n. an act, particularly of a governmental employee ... exercising any individual judgment.
chancery legal definition :: n. a court that can order acts performed. Today ch ... ts in most states. See also: equity
testamentary disposition legal definition :: n. how the terms of a will divide the testator's ( ... named beneficiaries. See also: will
contract of sufferance :: n. a "hold-over" tenancy after a lease has expired ... y tenancy at will unlawful detainer
forthwith legal definition :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
forthwith definition legal :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
what is to wit in a legal contract :: prep. that is to say. Example: "the passengers in ... tty Bumgartner and Sherry Younger."
mirror wills legal definition :: n. the wills of a husband and wife which are ident ... d each names the other as executor.
clean hands doctrine latin :: n. a rule of law that a person coming to court wit ... ices. See also: affirmative defense
sine qua non only relates to contract law :: (see-nay kwah nahn) prep. Latin for "without which ... qua non of the injury to Playmate.

Other Law Terms - C

C.I.F. :: n. the total of cost, insurance and freight charge ... aid on goods purchased and shipped.
calendar :: 1) n. the list of cases to be called for trial bef ... clerk of the court calendars cases.
calendar call :: n. the hearing at which a case is set for trial. ... g at which a case is set for trial.
call :: n. the demand by a corporation that a stockholder ... assessment on shares already owned.
calumny :: n. the intentional and generally vicious false acc ... 's reputation. See also: defamation
cancel :: v. to cross out, annul, destroy, void and/or resci ... g, so that it cannot be used again.
cancellation :: cancel ... cancel
caning :: n. a punishment for crimes employed in certain Asi ... last century in the United States.
canon law :: n. laws and regulations over ecclesiastical (churc ... nduct with no religious connection.
cap :: n. slang for maximum, as the most interest that ca ... "adjustable rate" promissory note.
capital :: 1) n. from Latin for caput, meaning "head," the ba ... count capital assets stock in trade
capital account :: n. the record which lists all basic assets of a bu ... or the alleged value of good will.
capital assets :: n. equipment, property, and funds owned by a busin ... . See also: capital capital account
capital expenditure :: n. payment by a business for basic assets such as ... y intended to improve productivity.
capital gains :: n. the difference between the sales price and the ... so: basis delayed exchange exchange
capital investment :: capital expenditure ... capital expenditure
capital offense :: n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the ... . See also: bail capital punishment
capital punishment :: n. execution (death) for a capital offense. The U. ... or death. See also: capital offense
capital stock :: n. the original amount paid by investors into a co ... price. See also: corporation stock
capitalization :: n. 1) the act of counting anticipated earnings and ... for conversion into capital assets.