Dictionary of Law
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Founded: 518
separation agreement :: n. an agreement between two married people who hav ... divorce legal separation separation
separation :: n. married persons living apart, either informally ... gal separation separation agreement
paralegal :: n. a non-lawyer who performs routine tasks requiri ... h less than that for the attorneys.
divorce :: 1) n. the termination of a marriage by legal actio ... y separate property spousal support
child support :: n. court-ordered funds to be paid by one parent to ... ild custody divorce spousal support
illegal :: 1) adj. in violation of statute, regulation or ord ... . See also: alien illegal immigrant
legal aid society :: n. an organization formed to assist persons who ha ... bar association. See also: pro bono
legal age :: n. the age at which a person is responsible for hi ... so: infancy juvenile court minority
legal advertising :: n. 1) notices of probate sales and other documents ... quality of the lawyers advertising.
no fault divorce :: n. divorces (dissolutions) in which neither spouse ... and South Dakota. See also: divorce
legalese :: n. slang for the sometimes arcane, convoluted and ... rgon of lawyers and legal scholars.
commingling :: n. the act of mixing the funds belonging to one pa ... rust accounts for funds of another.
service by publication :: n. serving a summons or other legal document in a ... perty. See also: service of process
adultery :: n. consensual sexual relations when one of the par ... s and grist for scandal newspapers.
executive privilege :: n. a claim by the President or another high offici ... the Watergate scandal (1973-1974).
mediation :: n. the attempt to settle a legal dispute through a ... a settlement. See also: arbitration
nunc pro tunc :: (nuhnk proh tuhnk) adj. Latin for "now for then," ... r actuality of a bigamous marriage.
acceptance of service :: n. agreement by a defendant (or his/her attorney) ... o accept service. See also: service
putative :: adj. commonly believed, supposed or claimed. Thus ... not the last will of the deceased.
notice :: n. 1) information, usually in writing in all legal ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
mental cruelty :: n. a term, rapidly going out of fashion and out of ... history. See also: cruelty divorce
jurisdiction :: n. the authority given by law to a court to try ca ... Superior Court Supreme Court venue
domestic relations :: n. a polite term for the legal field of divorce, d ... port and alimony. See also: divorce
joint custody :: n. in divorce actions, a decision by the court (of ... em. See also: child custody divorce
illegal immigrant :: n. an alien (non-citizen) who has entered the Unit ... ion date of a visa. See also: alien
constructive notice :: n. a fiction that a person got notice even though ... personally. See also: constructive
court :: n. 1) the judge, as in "The court rules in favor o ... cost and wait of full court trials.
petition :: 1) n. a formal written request to a court for an o ... dent. See also: divorce motion writ
legal tender :: n. all money issued by the government. ... all money issued by the government.
collateral attack :: n. a legal action to challenge a ruling in another ... of paternity in the divorce action.
Bill of Rights :: n. the first ten amendments to the federal Constit ... ved to the states or to the people.
child custody :: n. a court's determination of which parent, relati ... pport custody divorce joint custody
abandonment :: n. the act of intentionally and permanently giving ... : abandon abandoned property patent
canon law :: n. laws and regulations over ecclesiastical (churc ... nduct with no religious connection.
legal services :: n. the work performed by a lawyer for a client. ... performed by a lawyer for a client.
legal :: adj., adv. according to law, not in violation of l ... law or anything related to the law.
bigamy :: n. the condition of having two wives or two husban ... d to several husbands is polyandry.
bifurcate :: v. the order or ruling of a judge that one issue i ... is necessary. See also: bifurcation
legal action :: n. any lawsuit, petition or prosecution. ... y lawsuit, petition or prosecution.
desertion :: n. the act of abandoning, particularly leaving one ... tody and other post-marital issues.
legal duty :: n. the responsibility to others to act according t ... al injuries. See also: duty of care
custody :: n. 1) holding property under one's control. 2) law ... inor child. See also: child custody
legal fiction :: n. a presumption of fact assumed by a court for co ... he law, and not law from fictions."
legal separation :: n. a court-decreed right to live apart, with the r ... n is rarely used. See also: divorce
obligation :: n. a legal duty to pay or do something. ... legal duty to pay or do something.
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
order :: 1) n. every direction or mandate of a judge or a c ... defendant. See also: judge judgment
nuisance :: n. the unreasonable, unwarranted and/or unlawful u ... evening). See also: public nuisance
order to show cause :: n. a judge's written mandate that a party appear i ... vernmental agency. See also: O.S.C.
opinion :: n. the explanation of a court's judgment. When a t ... which the author is not specified.
on the merits :: adj. referring to a judgment, decision or ruling o ... s if this mistake had not occurred.
officious intermeddler :: n. a volunteer who assists and/or benefits another ... efit. See also: Good Samaritan rule
on all fours :: adj. a reference to a lawsuit in which all the leg ... ame conclusion. See also: precedent
official misconduct :: n. improper and/or illegal acts by a public offici ... ty. See also: color of law official
new matter :: n. newly claimed facts or legal issues raised (bro ... ee also: affirmative defense answer
movant :: n. the party in a lawsuit or other legal proceedin ... or judgment). See also: motion move
multifarious :: adj., adv. reference to a lawsuit in which either ... ed misjoinder. See also: misjoinder
motion to strike :: n. a request for a judge's order to eliminate all ... be unrung." See also: motion strike
motion for a summary judgment :: n. a written request for a judgment in the moving ... strict procedures. See also: motion
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.
multiplicity of suits :: n. several actual or potential lawsuits which shou ... e can order the cases consolidated.
murder :: n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, ... premeditation second degree murder
non-feasance :: n. the failure of an agent (employee) to perform a ... . See also: malfeasance misfeasance
notice of default :: n. a notice to a borrower with property as securit ... notice of default. See also: notice
nominee :: n. 1) a person or entity who is requested or named ... ic office. See also: agent executor
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
overrule :: v. 1) to reject an attorney's objection to a quest ... : appellate court objection sustain
next friend :: n. a person (often a relative) who voluntarily hel ... filed. See also: guardian ad litem
notice to quit :: n. the notice given by a landlord (owner) to a ten ... h-to-month notice unlawful detainer
possession of stolen goods :: n. the crime of possession of goods which one know ... e legal owner. See also: possession
practice :: 1) n. custom or habit as shown by repeated action, ... s "she practices law in St. Louis."
precedent :: 1) n. a prior reported opinion of an appeals court ... to perform. See also: stare decisis
power :: n. the right, authority and ability to take some a ... g legal rights and many other acts.
postdated check :: n. a check delivered now with a written date in th ... livery of a bad check was criminal.
moot point :: n. 1) a legal question which no court has decided, ... f academic interest. See also: moot
post :: v. 1) to place a notice on the entrance or a promi ... or recording a payment. 4) to mail.
preference :: n. in bankruptcy, the payment of a debt to one cre ... nds or assets. See also: bankruptcy
premises :: n. 1) in real estate, land and the improvements on ... t). See also: real estate structure
prior restraint :: n. an attempt to prevent publication or broadcast ... e words of Sir William Blackstone).
private nuisance :: n. the interference with an individual's peaceful ... See also: nuisance public nuisance
prevailing party :: n. the winner in a lawsuit. Many contracts, leases ... ed before or after trial has begun.
presentment :: n. 1) making a demand for payment of a promissory ... ee also: Grand Jury promissory note
preponderance of the evidence :: n. the greater weight of the evidence required in ... what subjective. See also: evidence
possession :: n. 1) any article, object, asset or property which ... ctive possession. See also: possess
pleading :: n. 1) every legal document filed in a lawsuit, pet ... nswer complaint demurrer plea plead
party :: n. 1) one of the participants in a lawsuit or othe ... y real party in interest respondent
pendent jurisdiction :: n. in federal procedure, the policy that allows a ... n. (It also may be spelled: pendant
ownership :: n. legal title coupled with exclusive legal right ... st in the same thing. See also: own
owner :: n. one who has legal title or right to something. ... ke one a legal owner. See also: own
own :: v. to have legal title or right to something. Mere ... . Mere possession is not ownership.
perfect :: : (with stress on the second syllable) v. 1) to co ... perfect. See also: mechanic's lien
perfected :: adj. having completed all necessary legal steps to ... itle to property. See also: perfect
personal service :: n. delivering a summons, complaint, notice to quit ... process substituted service summons
physician-patient privilege :: n. the right and obligation of a physician to refu ... onfidential communication privilege
permissive :: adj. 1) referring to any act which is allowed by c ... ting contrary to others' standards.
perjury :: n. the crime of intentionally lying after being du ... ly made a mistake or misunderstood.
perjurer :: n. a person who intentionally lies while under an ... alse information. See also: perjury
owe :: v. to have a legal duty to pay funds to another. H ... arrived. See also: debt due payable
malfeasance :: n. intentionally doing something either legally or ... sponsibility. See also: misfeasance
laches :: n. the legal doctrine that a legal right or claim ... , breach of contract, fraud, etc.).
law :: n. 1) any system of regulations to govern the cond ... um maritime law natural law statute
kangaroo court :: n. 1) a mock court set up without legal basis, suc ... See also: star chamber proceedings
juvenile court :: n. a special court or department of a trial court ... See also: court juvenile delinquent
justice of the peace :: (JP) n. a judge who handles minor legal matters su ... ersons to qualify by taking a test.
law and motion calendar :: n. a court calendar in which only motions and spec ... special legal arguments are heard.
law book :: n. any of numerous volumes dealing with law, inclu ... : common law law Shepardize statute
let :: v. 1) to allow or permit. This is distinguished fr ... rson. See also: lease rent sublease
liability :: n. one of the most significant words in the field ... bility joint tortfeasors negligence
legitimate :: adj., adv1) legal, proper, real. 2) referring to a ... 3) v. to make proper and/or legal.
lawsuit :: n. a common term for a legal action by one person ... See also: case cause of action suit
law of the case :: n. once a judge has decided a legal question durin ... he ruling is the "law of the case."
justice :: n. 1) fairness. 2) moral rightness. 3) a scheme or ... e appellate courts. See also: court
jury trial :: n. a trial of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution in ... the final judgment. See also: jury
invitee :: n. a person who comes onto another's property, pre ... ail employees. See also: negligence
issue :: 1) n. a person's children or other lineal descenda ... the body incorporation share stock
inure :: v. result in. Commonly used in legal terminology i ... ure to the benefit of Janet Jones."
intrinsic fraud :: n. an intentionally false representation (lie) whi ... ts. See also: extrinsic fraud fraud
intervention :: n. the procedure under which a third party may joi ... rvene joinder multiplicity of suits
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.
jurist :: n. although it means any attorney or legal scholar ... jurist popularly refers to a judge.
jury :: n. one of the remarkable innovations of the Englis ... hallenge sequester venire voir dire
jurisprudence :: n. the entire subject of law, the study of law and ... e study of law and legal questions.
judge advocate :: n. a military officer with legal training who has ... ourt-martial judge advocate general
judge :: 1) n. an official with the authority and responsib ... ice justice of the peace magistrate
libel :: 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), wr ... libel per se public figure slander
lis pendens :: (lease pen-dense) n. Latin for "a suit pending," a ... ob can be penalized by court order.
ministerial act :: n. an act, particularly of a governmental employee ... exercising any individual judgment.
minor :: n. someone under legal age, which is generally 18, ... rages. See also: legal age maturity
metes and bounds :: (meets and bounds) n. a surveyor's description of ... of a parcel or lot are first drawn.
mesne profits :: n. profits which have accrued while there was a di ... ed "mesne profits." See also: mesne
McNabb-Mallory rule :: n. a federal rule of evidence in criminal trials t ... present. See also: Miranda warning
minority :: n. 1) in voting, a side with less than half the vo ... See also: legal age majority minor
Miranda warning :: n. the requirement, also called the Miranda rule, ... me such a suspect? See also: rights
monopoly :: n. a business or inter-related group of businesses ... ust laws license restraint of trade
monument :: n. 1) an established landmark which a surveyor use ... torn down or substantially altered.
M'Naughten rule :: n. a traditional "right and wrong" test of legal i ... temporary insanity Twinkie defense
misjoinder :: n. the inclusion of parties (plaintiffs or defenda ... ent transactions. See also: joinder
misappropriation :: n. the intentional, illegal use of the property or ... mbezzlement fiduciary larceny theft
maxims :: n. a collection of legal truisms which are used as ... e and the ordinary habits of life."
maturity :: n. 1) the date when the payment of the principal a ... exchange legal age promissory note
long-arm statute :: n. law which gives a local state court jurisdictio ... rt jurisdiction over the defendant.
majority :: n. 1) the age when a person can exercise all norma ... t. See also: child infancy minority
loiter :: v. to linger or hang around in a public place or b ... kenness or being a public nuisance.
litigious :: adj. referring to a person who constantly brings o ... e called "professional plaintiffs."
litigation :: n. any lawsuit or other resort to the courts to de ... termine a legal question or matter.
privilege against self incrimina-tion :: n. a right to refuse to testify against oneself in ... so: Bill of Rights taking the Fifth
malicious prosecution :: n. filing a lawsuit with the intention of creating ... vor of the victim. See also: malice
master and servant :: n. the body of law, including statutes and legal d ... lso: employment respondeat superior
matter of record :: n. anything, including testimony, evidence, ruling ... cussions not written down or taped.
marriage :: n. the joining of a male and female in matrimony b ... of time without legal formalities.
mandamus :: (man-dame-us) n. Latin for "we order," a writ (mor ... mandamus. See also: writ of mandate
malum in se :: (mal-uhm in say) adv. Latin referring to an act th ... hibitum. See also: malum prohibitum
moot :: adj. 1) unsettled, open to argument or debatable, ... st. See also: moot court moot point
quotient verdict :: n. an award of money damages set by a jury in a la ... rial motion for a new trial verdict
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
star chamber proceedings :: n. any judicial or quasi-judicial action, trial or ... ate 1960s. See also: kangaroo court
stakeholder :: n. a person having in his/her possession (holding) ... ment or agreement. See also: escrow
speaking demurrer :: n. an attempt to introduce evidence during a heari ... the operation." See also: demurrer
special verdict :: n. the jury's decisions or findings of fact with t ... utation. See also: specific finding
statutory rape :: n. sexual intercourse with a female below the lega ... majority minority molestation rape
stipulation :: n. an agreement, usually on a procedural matter, b ... g, signed and filed with the court.
substituted service :: n. accomplishing service (delivery) of legal docum ... ee also: service service of process
suit :: n. generic term for any filing of a complaint (or ... "suit in equity." See also: lawsuit
subrogor :: n. a person or entity that transfers his/her/its l ... ges. See also: subrogation subrogee
subrogee :: n. the person or entity that assumes the legal rig ... aid. See also: subrogation subrogor
subrogation :: n. assuming the legal rights of a person for whom ... also: negligence subrogee subrogor
sounds in :: adj. referring to the underlying legal basis for a ... ause of action sounds in contract."
solicitor :: n. an English attorney who may perform all legal s ... s or barristers. See also: attorney
service by mail :: n. mailing legal pleadings to opposing attorneys o ... attorney by mail. See also: service
service of process :: n. the delivery of copies of legal documents such ... by publication substituted service
service by FAX :: n. delivery of legal documents required by statute ... ee also: service service of process
service :: n. 1) paid work by another person, either by contr ... ersonal services service of process
self-help :: n. 1) obtaining relief or enforcing one's rights w ... maximizing of one's opportunities.
self-serving :: adj. referring to a question asked of a party to a ... ng declaration. See also: objection
settle :: v. to resolve a lawsuit without a final court judg ... rior to trial. See also: settlement
settlement :: n. the resolution of a lawsuit (or of a legal disp ... ult in settlement. See also: settle
similarly situated :: adj. with the same problems and circumstances, ref ... class action multiplicity of suits
small claims court :: n. a division of most municipal, city or other low ... od example of a small claims court.
silent partner :: n. a non-legal term for an investor who puts money ... partner limited partnership partner
shortening time :: n. an order of the court in response to the motion ... e notice is served within 24 hours.
sexual harassment :: n. unwanted sexual approaches (including touching, ... emale employees. See also: nuisance
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
vehicular manslaughter :: n. the crime of causing the death of a human being ... gence manslaughter reckless driving
vexatious litigation :: n. filing a lawsuit with the knowledge that it has ... lous malicious prosecution sanction
uxor :: n. Latin for "wife." In deeds and documents the te ... man and not worthy of being named.
unlawful detainer :: n. 1) keeping possession of real property without ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
unfair competition :: n. wrongful and/or fraudulent business methods to ... ctices tend to harm one's business.
unlawful :: adj. referring to any action which is in violation ... on, or established legal precedents
vigilante :: n. someone who takes the law into his/her own hand ... lester of her child is a vigilante.
waive :: v. to voluntarily give up something, including not ... the other state). See also: waiver
wiretap :: n. using an electronic device to listen in on tele ... invasion of privacy probable cause
writ of mandate :: (mandamus) n. a court order to a government agency ... al acts. See also: mandamus mandate
will contest :: n. a lawsuit challenging the validity of a will an ... so: in terrorem clause probate will
wet reckless :: n. a plea to a charge of reckless driving which wa ... conviction. See also: plea bargain
waiver :: n. the intentional and voluntary giving up of some ... ssed on the record. See also: waive
unclean hands :: n. a legal doctrine which is a defense to a compla ... ough. See also: affirmative defense
trial :: n. the examination of facts and law presided over ... at a hearing held at a later time.
surrebutal :: n. in written or oral legal argument, the response ... h until the judge stops the debate.
T.R.O. :: n. legal slang for temporary restraining order. Se ... order. See also: restraining order
surplusage :: n. a term used in analyzing legal documents and pl ... ect and, therefore, can be ignored.
supra :: (sooh-prah) Latin for "above," in legal briefs and ... d as Guinn v. United States, supra.
suppression of evidence :: n. 1) a judge's determination not to allow evidenc ... the prosecutor. See also: evidence
tainted evidence :: n. in a criminal trial, information which has been ... e search and seizure search warrant
temporary injunction :: n. a court order prohibiting an action by a party ... ry injunction. See also: injunction
title search :: n. the examination of county records for the prope ... e escrow lien title title insurance
trespass :: n. entering another person's property without perm ... for an illegal purpose is a crime.
title :: n. 1) ownership of real property or personal prope ... ink slip real property title search
third-party beneficiary :: n. a person who is not a party to a contract but h ... tract as a third-party beneficiary.
third party :: n. a person who is not a party to a contract or a ... beneficiary third-party beneficiary
self-executing :: adj. immediately effective without further action, ... party the right to try to collect.
seizure :: n. the taking by law enforcement officers of poten ... e search and seizure search warrant
interrogation :: n. questioning of a suspect or witness by law enfo ... the poisonous tree Miranda warning
ratify :: v. to confirm and adopt the act of another even th ... ligation. See also: agent principal
quo warranto :: (kwoh wahr-rahn-toe) n. the name for a writ (order ... ticles). See also: corporation writ
quiet title action :: n. a lawsuit to establish a party's title to real ... opposition. See also: notice title
quasi in rem :: adj. referring to a legal action which is primaril ... See also: in personam in rem quasi
question of law :: n. an issue arising in a lawsuit or criminal prose ... udge question of fact trier of fact
rebate :: 1) n. a discount or deduction on sales price. A se ... v. to give a discount or deduction.
rebuttal :: n. evidence introduced to counter, disprove or con ... tion, or responsive legal argument.
recusal :: n. the act of a judge or prosecutor being removed ... other good reason. See also: recuse
reliance :: n. acting upon another's statement of alleged fact ... able. See also: reasonable reliance
record :: 1) v. (ree-cored) to put a document into the offic ... eeding race to the courthouse trial
reckless driving :: n. operation of an automobile in a dangerous manne ... it. See also: reckless wet reckless
receiver :: n. 1) a neutral person (often a professional trust ... owing they were obtained illegally.
quasi corporation :: n. a business which has operated as a corporation ... poration de facto corporation quasi
quantum meruit :: : (kwahn-tuhm mare-ooh-it) n. Latin for "as much a ... uit by implying a contract existed.
process :: n. in law, the legal means by which a person is re ... service of process subpena summons
process server :: n. a person who serves (delivers) legal papers in ... table. See also: service of process
proceeding :: n. any legal filing, hearing, trial and/or judgmen ... edings," as in "legal proceedings."
procedure :: n. the methods and mechanics of the legal process. ... cases are tried and judgments made.
pro forma :: 1) prep. Latin for "as a matter of form," the phra ... se in annual sales or 6% inflation.
promissory estoppel :: n. a false statement treated as a promise by a cou ... lue of his work. See also: estoppel
promissory note :: n. a written promise by a person (variously called ... lso: interest obligee obligor usury
publication :: n. 1) anything made public by print (as in a news- ... so: defamation libel notice slander
puffing :: n. the exaggeration of the good points of a produc ... seller is possible. See also: fraud
public record :: n. any information, minutes, files, accounts or ot ... l judgment are both public records.
prosecute :: v. 1) in criminal law, to charge a person with a c ... rney General prosecution prosecutor
proper party :: n. a person or entity who has an interest (financi ... lf. See also: necessary party party
remedy :: n. the means to achieve justice in any matter in w ... gment provisional remedy settlement
removal :: n. 1) the change of a legal case from one court to ... a crime or successful impeachment.
sanction :: n. 1) a financial penalty imposed by a judge on a ... ction." See also: contempt of court
scienter :: n. Latin for "having knowledge." In criminal law, ... ents were lies and thus fraudulent.
said :: adj. a reference back to a thing that was previous ... automobile in a negligent manner."
ruling :: n. court decision on a case or any legal question. ... on on a case or any legal question.
rule :: 1) v. to decide a legal question, by a court, as i ... ee also: regulations rules of court
rule against perpetuities :: n. the legal prohibition against tying up property ... . See also: restraint on alienation
scrivener :: n. a person who writes a document for another, usu ... r practicing law without a license.
search and seizure :: n. examination of a person's premises (residence, ... robable cause search search warrant
security deposit :: n. a payment required by a landlord from a tenant ... lso: landlord and tenant lease rent
sedition :: n. the federal crime of advocacy of insurrection a ... e rare. See also: espionage treason
secret rebate :: n. a kickback of money by a business to a "preferr ... h a secret rebate. See also: rebate
secondary boycott :: n. an organized refusal to purchase the products o ... state laws and, thus, are illegal.
search warrant :: n. a written order by a judge which permits a law ... ble cause search search and seizure
roadside test :: n. a preliminary test law enforcement officers use ... g while intoxicated Miranda warning
revocation :: n. 1) mutual cancellation of a contract by the par ... c offenses. See also: contract will
Restatement of the Law :: n. a series of detailed statements of the basic la ... tracts, property, torts and trusts.
restraint of trade :: n. in antitrust law, any activity (including agree ... also: antitrust laws monopoly trust
responsible :: adj. 1) legally liable or accountable. 2) having t ... ving the ability to pay or perform.
res adjudicata :: n. a thing (legal matter) already determined by a ... es judicata. See also: res judicata
reply brief :: n. the written legal argument of the respondent (t ... ee also: appeal appellee respondent
resulting trust :: n. a trust implied by law (as determined by a cour ... See also: constructive trust trust
retainer :: n. the advance payment to an attorney for services ... e stuck with extensive unpaid fees.
reversible error :: n. a legal mistake at the trial court level which ... nt at the trial. See also: reversal
review :: n. the judicial consideration of a lower court jud ... ate court reversal reversible error
return of service :: n. written confirmation under oath by a process se ... ee also: service service of process
retroactive :: adj. referring to a court's decision or a statute ... ospective." See also: ex post facto
retraction :: n. 1) to withdraw any legal document in a lawsuit ... igation. See also: defamation libel
pro bono :: adj. short for pro bono publico, Latin for "for th ... cation organizations and charities.
in propria persona :: adj. from Latin "for one's self," acting on one's ... client and an ass for an attorney."
bar :: 1) n. collectively all attorneys, as "the bar," wh ... a room, building, or real property.
bar examination :: n. the examination given in each state by either t ... n that district. See also: attorney
bankruptcy :: n. a federal system of statutes and courts which p ... y proceedings trustee in bankruptcy
bad faith :: 1) n. intentional dishonest act by not fulfilling ... ean hands doctrine fraud good faith
attractive nuisance doctrine :: n. a legal doctrine which makes a person negligent ... ch make negligence harder to prove.
authorities :: n. 1) previous decisions by courts of appeal which ... also: brief cite decision precedent
barratry :: n. creating legal business by stirring up disputes ... ent he/she has no legitimate claim.
barrister :: n. in the United States a fancy name for a lawyer ... ome barristers. See also: solicitor
boycott :: n. organized refusal to purchase products or patro ... e laws. See also: secondary boycott
breach :: 1) n. literally, a break. A breach may be a failur ... breach of trust breach of warranty
bona fide purchaser :: n. commonly called BFP in legal and banking circle ... See also: BFP holder in due course
boilerplate :: n., adj. slang for provisions in a contract, form ... favor and/or protect the provider.
benefit of counsel :: n. having the opportunity to have an attorney and ... attorney is the person's own fault.
best evidence rule :: n. the legal doctrine that an original piece of ev ... ence in a trial. See also: evidence
attorney's work product :: n. written materials, charts, notes of conversatio ... ivileged communication work product
attorney's fee :: n. the payment for legal services. It can take sev ... ees in the particular type of case.
appellee :: n. in some jurisdictions the name used for the par ... ndent." See also: appeal respondent
arbitration :: n. a mini-trial, which may be for a lawsuit ready ... tance of the arbitrator's decision.
appellate court :: n. a court of appeals which hears appeals from low ... court of appeals. See also: appeal
appeal :: 1) v. to ask a higher court to reverse the decisio ... ng, as in "he has filed an appeal."
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
arguendo :: prep. Latin meaning "for the sake of argument," us ... rs most commonly in appeals briefs.
arrest :: v. 1) to take or hold a suspected criminal with le ... anda warning probable cause warrant
attorney-client privilege :: n. the requirement that an attorney may not reveal ... ivileged communication work product
attorney's advertising :: n. the commercials which appear on television or c ... es to handle high volume practices.
Attorney General :: n. in each state and the federal government the hi ... izenry. See also: Solicitor General
attorney :: n. 1) an agent or someone authorized to act for an ... ialize. See also: court reciprocity
association :: n. any group of people who have joined together fo ... ed, although technically redundant.
breach of contract :: n. failing to perform any term of a contract, writ ... breach breach specific performance
breaking and entering :: n. 1) the criminal act of entering a residence or ... above. See also: burglary trespass
code :: n. a collection of written laws gathered together, ... utes or laws. See also: law statute
cohabitation :: n. living together in the same residence, generall ... xual relationships as cohabitation.
cloud on title (cloud) :: n. an actual or apparent outstanding claim on the ... ion reconveyance title title report
clean hands doctrine :: n. a rule of law that a person coming to court wit ... ices. See also: affirmative defense
civil law :: n. 1) a body of laws and legal concepts which come ... generic term for non-criminal law.
class :: n. in legal (not sociological) terms, all those pe ... nt is given. See also: class action
collateral estoppel :: n. the situation in which a judgment in one case p ... ng. See also: estoppel res judicata
color of law :: n. the appearance of an act being performed based ... xtort payoffs to forget the ticket.
condone :: v. 1) to forgive, support, and/or overlook moral o ... ition that the sin is not repeated.
confession and avoidance :: n. when a defendant admits the allegations in a co ... tries to avoid their legal impact.
condemnation :: n. the legal process by which a governmental body ... eminent domain inverse condemnation
complaint :: n. the first document filed with the court (actual ... g prayer service of process summons
common law :: n. the traditional unwritten law of England, based ... plied without reference to statute.
common-law marriage :: n. an agreement between a man and woman to live to ... a marriage. See also: cohabitation
civil :: adj. 1) that part of the law that encompasses busi ... also: civil liberties civil rights
cite :: v. 1) to make reference to a decision in another c ... police officer). See also: citation
cartel :: n. 1) an arrangement among supposedly independent ... Colombia. See also: antitrust laws
cause of action :: n. the basis of a lawsuit founded on legal grounds ... property. See also: element lawsuit
carnal knowledge :: n. from Latin carnalis for "fleshly:" sexual inter ... tate. See also: rape statutory rape
caption :: n. the first section of any written legal pleading ... to the exact format of the caption.
brief :: 1) n. a written legal argument, usually in a forma ... another person. See also: precedent
bucket shop :: n. an unofficial and usually illegal betting opera ... the stock and commodities markets.
caveat emptor :: (kah-vee-ott emptor) Latin for "let the buyer bewa ... See also: consumer protection laws
cease and desist order :: n. an order of a court or government agency to a p ... ing which would damage the ecology.
churning :: n. the unethical and usually illegal practice of e ... f obtaining high sales commissions.
citation :: n. 1) a notice to appear in court due to the proba ... se is not in point." See also: cite
chancellor :: n. from the old English legal system, a chancellor ... n the same courts. See also: equity
champerty :: n. an agreement between the party suing in a lawsu ... . See also: barratry contingent fee
chambers :: n. the private office of a judge, usually close to ... s." See also: in camera in chambers
amnesty :: n. a blanket abolition of an offense by the govern ... rget the offenses. See also: pardon
American Civil Liberties Union :: n. a membership organization founded in 1920 to de ... rk, NY 10036; tel.: (212) 944-9800.
interlocutory decree :: n. a court judgment which is temporary and not int ... ppeared to waste the parties' time.
irreconcilable differences :: n. the usual basis for granting a divorce (dissolu ... See also: divorce no fault divorce
incompatible :: adj. 1) inconsistent. 2) unmatching. 3) unable to ... ch other. See also: incompatibility
incompatibility :: n. the state of a marriage in which the spouses no ... mpatible irreconcilable differences
impotence :: n. the male's inability to copulate. Impotence can ... eans inability to produce children.
in forma pauperis :: (in form-ah paw-purr-iss) adj. or adv. Latin for " ... poor defendants who have been sued.
modification :: n. a change in an existing court order or judgment ... terms of child support and custody.
parens patriae :: (paa-rens pat-tree-eye) n. Latin for "father of hi ... pport custody divorce guardian ward
widow :: n. a woman whose husband died while she was marrie ... nefits traceable to the ex-husband.
ab initio :: prep. lawyer Latin for "from the start," as "it wa ... tart," as "it was legal ab initio."
spousal support :: n. payment for support of an ex-spouse (or a spous ... but two. See also: alimony divorce
show cause order :: n. an order of the court, also called an order to ... hild. See also: order to show cause
rental value :: n. the amount which would be paid for rental of si ... alimony to be paid. See also: rent
separate property :: n. in community property states (California, Texas ... pouse. See also: community property
home rule :: n. the power of a local city or county to set up i ... state funds for local improvements.
final decree :: n. another name for a final judgment. In states wh ... together). See also: final judgment
community property :: n. property and profits received by a husband and ... and distribution separate property
cruelty :: n. the intentional and malicious infliction of phy ... ruel and unusual punishment divorce
collateral :: 1) n. property pledged to secure a loan or debt, u ... ral to the Colorado divorce action.
change of circumstances :: n. the principal reason for a court modifying (ame ... ild support divorce spousal support
alimony :: n. support paid by one ex-spouse to the other as o ... ild support divorce spousal support
attorney of record :: n. the attorney who has appeared in court and/or s ... eve have long since been completed.
decree :: n. in general, synonymous with judgment. However, ... n's estate, etc. See also: judgment
defendant :: n. 1) the party sued in a civil lawsuit or the par ... nt. See also: codefendant plaintiff
emancipation :: n. freeing a minor child from the control of paren ... vorced parent to pay child support.
extreme cruelty :: n. an archaic requirement to show infliction of ph ... ring the suffering spouse (victim).
domicile :: n. the place where a person has his/her permanent ... where its headquarters is located.
dissolution :: n. modern, gentler sounding, term for divorce, off ... lving a marriage. See also: divorce
determinable :: adj. defining something which may be terminated up ... es or no longer lives in the house.
abate :: v. to do away with a problem, such as a public or ... ty septic tank. See also: abatement
abeyance :: 1) n. when the owner- ship of property has not bee ... 2) legal jargon for "undetermined."
age of consent :: n. See also: legal age majority ... n. See also: legal age majority
agreed statement :: n. occasionally the two parties on opposite sides ... gument and not of the actual facts.
age discrimination :: n. an employer's unfair treatment of a current or ... men. See also: wrongful termination
after-acquired title :: n. title to property acquired after the owner atte ... ed title goes automatically to Sam.
affirmative action :: n. the process of a business or governmental agenc ... and state affirmative action laws.
affirmative defense :: n. part of an answer to a charge or complaint in w ... lp the defendant. See also: defense
agreement :: 1) n. any meeting of the minds, even without legal ... specific terms. See also: contract
alien :: 1) n. a person who is not a citizen of the country ... 3) v. to convey title to property.
amended pleading :: n. a changed written pleading in a lawsuit, includ ... o: amend amended complaint demurrer
American Bar Association :: n. the largest organization of American lawyers, w ... go, IL 60611; tel.: (312) 988-5522.
amended complaint :: n. what results when the party suing (plaintiff or ... cause of action complaint demurrer
alternative pleading :: n. a legal fiction in which a party to a lawsuit o ... t the defendant committed the act).
alter ego :: n. a corporation, organization or other entity set ... See also: pierce the corporate veil
adverse witness :: n. a witness in a trial who is found by the judge ... r the opposition. See also: witness
adverse party :: n. the opposite side in a lawsuit. Sometimes when ... the court rules the will was legal.
accord and satisfaction :: n. an agreement to accept less than is legally due ... h" practicality. See also: novation
accusation :: n. 1) in legal terms accusation means officially c ... im of wrongdoing by another person.
accept :: v. to receive something with approval and intentio ... ervice" (delivery) of legal papers.
abuse of process :: n. the use of legal process by illegal, malicious, ... ly correct the error and apologize.
abortion :: n. the termination of pregnancy by various means, ... ed abortion continue in the future.
abscond :: v. 1) traditionally to leave a jurisdiction (where ... as in "he absconded with the loot."
acknowledge :: v. 1) generally to admit something, whether bad, g ... recording. See also: acknowledgment
actionable :: adj. when enough facts or circumstances exist to m ... ction lawsuit malicious prosecution
adopt :: v. 1) to take on the relationship of parent to chi ... nt in a lawsuit. See also: adoption
advance :: n. a payment which is made before it is legally du ... uthor, or a note is due to be paid.
adeem :: v. to revoke a gift made in a will by destroying, ... e of my death." See also: ademption
ad litem :: adj. legal Latin meaning "for the purposes of the ... of age. See also: guardian ad litem
actual controversy :: n. a true legal dispute which leads to a genuine l ... al outcome. See also: friendly suit
confession of judgment :: n. a written agreement in which the defendant in a ... rms are fulfilled by the defendant.
confidential communication :: n. certain written communications which can be kep ... privilege privileged communication
forgery :: n. 1) the crime of creating a false document, alte ... See also: counterfeit forger fraud
fraud :: n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some ... audulent conveyance intrinsic fraud
forfeit :: v. to lose property or rights involuntarily as a p ... drunk driving. See also: forfeiture
forensic medicine :: n. research, reports and testimony in court by exp ... dical examiners. See also: forensic
foreign corporation :: n. a corporation which is incorporated under the l ... tate or Whoopee's designated agent.
forensic :: 1) adj. from Latin forensis for "belonging to the ... in legal matters, including trials.
fraud in the inducement :: n. the use of deceit or trick to cause someone to ... nt. See also: extrinsic fraud fraud
friendly suit :: n. a lawsuit filed in order to obtain a court orde ... eement in which there was an error.
good cause :: n. a legally sufficient reason for a ruling or oth ... od cause shown, the court orders:."
good faith :: n. honest intent to act without taking an unfair a ... plied to all kinds of transactions.
general counsel :: n. the chief attorney for a corporation, who is pa ... e counsel." See also: house counsel
fruit of the poisonous tree :: n. in criminal law, the doctrine that evidence dis ... property. See also: Miranda warning
frisk :: v. quickly patting down the clothes of a possible ... k women and men officers frisk men.
frivolous :: adj. referring to a legal move in a lawsuit clearl ... ing the courts to resolve disputes.
first impression :: adj. referring to a legal issue which has never be ... s for both sides to assist him/her.
finding :: n. the determination of a factual question vital ( ... e case. See also: conclusion of law
extension :: n. granting of a specific amount of extra time to ... he original expiration of the term.
extradition :: n. the surrender by one state or country of a pers ... ty. See also: fugitive from justice
exhibit :: n. 1) a document or object (including a photograph ... ncorporated into the main document.
exclusionary rule :: n. the rule that evidence secured by illegal means ... e poisonous tree motion to suppress
ex post facto :: adj. Latin for "after the fact," which refers to l ... ted before the new law was adopted.
ex rel. :: conj. abbreviation for Latin ex relatione, meaning ... . Archie Johnson v. Hardy Products.
extrajudicial :: adj. referring to actions outside the judicial (co ... gnized by the judge during a trial.
extraordinary fees :: n. attorneys' fees claimed, usually in the adminis ... n. See also: attorney's fee probate
fiduciary relationship :: n. where one person places complete confidence in ... handling. See also: fiduciary trust
file :: 1) v. to deposit with the clerk of the court a wri ... rrespondence and notes on the case.
false imprisonment :: n. depriving someone of freedom of movement by hol ... for damages. See also: false arrest
false arrest :: n. physically detaining someone without the legal ... sment. See also: false imprisonment
failure of consideration :: n. not delivering goods or services when promised ... n. See also: consideration contract
grant deed :: n. the document which transfers title to real prop ... rant grantee grantor quitclaim deed
guardian ad litem :: n. a person appointed by the court only to take le ... awsuit is filed. See also: ad litem
informed consent :: n. agreement to do something or to allow something ... . See also: consent Miranda warning
infra :: prep. Latin for "below," this is legal shorthand t ... e document. See also: citation cite
information and belief :: n. a phrase often used in legal pleadings (complai ... nswer complaint declaration perjury
in terrorem clause :: (in tehr-roar-em)n. from Latin for "in fear," a pr ... e gift. See also: will will contest
in re :: prep. short for "in regard to" or concerning. Ofte ... e Adoption of Marcus McGillicuddy."
in rem :: adj. from Latin "against or about a thing," referr ... cular person. See also: in personam
infringement :: n. 1) a trespassing or illegal entering. 2) in the ... patent plagiarism royalty trademark
injury :: n. any harm done to a person by the acts or omissi ... nction injunctive relief negligence
insurance :: n. a contract (insurance policy) in which the insu ... t clause Workers' Compensation Acts
inter alia :: (in-tur eh-lee-ah) prep. Latin for "among other th ... ime to file the action had passed."
instrument :: n. 1) a written legal document such as a contract, ... in an assault (a blunt instrument).
inspection of documents :: n. the right to examine and copy the opposing part ... evidence subpena duces tecum trial
insanity :: n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a p ... M'Naughten rule temporary insanity
abuse of discretion :: n. a polite way of saying a trial judge has made s ... partner's realistic ability to pay.
in loco parentis :: prep. (in loh-coh pah-rent-iss) Latin for "instead ... 5, if and when he needs legal help.
holdover tenancy :: n. the situation when a tenant of real estate cont ... to a lawsuit for unlawful detainer.
hometowned :: adv. legalese for a lawyer or client suffering dis ... orneys over those from out of town.
heir :: n. one who acquires property upon the death of ano ... y pretermitted heir succession will
headnote :: n. the summary of the key legal points determined ... not the court's. See also: reports
habeas corpus :: (hay-bee-us core-puss) n. Latin for "you have the ... nality of a state court conviction.
harassment :: (either harris-meant or huh-rass-meant) n. the act ... See also: harass sexual harassment
homicide :: n. the killing of a human being due to the act or ... aughter murder self-defense suicide
hornbook law :: n. lawyer lingo for a fundamental and well-accepte ... e a hornbook is a primer of basics.
impound :: v. 1) to collect funds, in addition to installment ... cases. See also: forfeit forfeiture
in limine :: (in lim-in-ay) from Latin for "at the threshold," ... otion. See also: motion to suppress
impeachment :: n. 1) discrediting a witness by showing that he/sh ... the trial itself. See also: impeach
immunity :: n. exemption from penalties, payments or legal req ... ws. See also: governmental immunity
hostile witness :: n. technically an "adverse witness" in a trial who ... so: adverse witness leading witness
evidence :: n. every type of proof legally presented at trial ... material object objection relevant
eviction :: n. a generic word for the act of expelling (kickin ... ve eviction lease unlawful detainer
creditor's claim :: n. a claim required to be filed in writing, in a p ... e also: claim in bankruptcy probate
creditor's rights :: n. the field of law dealing with the legal means a ... also: creditor debt debtor judgment
court-martial :: 1) n. a military court for trying offenses in viol ... the U.S. Court of Military Appeals.
counsel :: 1) n. a lawyer, attorney, attorney-at-law, counsel ... self is a crime. See also: attorney
corporate opportunity :: n. a business opportunity which becomes known to a ... ative action fiduciary relationship
corporation :: n. an organization formed with state governmental ... ation public corporation securities
crime :: n. a violation of a law in which there is injury t ... drugs. See also: felony misdemeanor
cross-complaint :: n. after a complaint has been filed against a defe ... g prayer service of process summons
declaratory judgment :: n. a judgment of a court which determines the righ ... ys it. See also: declaratory relief
declaratory relief :: n. a judge's determination (called a "declaratory ... ter. See also: declaratory judgment
de jure corporation :: n. a corporation in good standing under the law, a ... also: de facto corporation de jure
de facto corporation :: n. a company which operates as if it were a corpor ... also: de facto de jure ultra vires
date rape :: n. forcible sexual intercourse by a male acquainta ... physical resistance. See also: rape
de facto :: adj. Latin for "in fact." Often used in place of " ... ave not been met. See also: de jure
controlled substance :: n. a drug which has been declared by federal or st ... those who have used the substances.
contract :: 1) n. an agreement with specific terms between two ... n oral contract unilateral contract
constitution :: n. the fundamental, underlying document which esta ... ts common law constitutional rights
constructive :: adj. a legal fiction for treating a situation as i ... ctive possession constructive trust
conspirator :: n. a person or entity who enters into a plot with ... of antitrust laws. (See conspiracy
conspiracy :: n. when people work together by agreement to commi ... d conspiracy. See also: conspirator
confiscate :: v. to take one's goods or property without legal r ... affic. See also: condemnation theft
consideration :: n. 1) payment or money. 2) a vital element in the ... t of a promise). See also: contract
constructive eviction :: n. when the landlord does not go through a legal e ... e door shut. See also: constructive
construe :: v. to determine the meaning of the words of a writ ... s normal, widely accepted meanings.
continuing trespass :: n. the repeat-ed unauthorized use of anoth- er's r ... l illegal entry. See also: trespass
contra :: adj. Latin for "against" or "opposite to". This us ... he rule stated in Keeler v. Beach."
continuing objection :: n. an objection to certain questions or testimony ... ional distress. See also: objection
continuance :: n. a postponement of a date of a trial, hearing or ... continuances to discourage delays.
contingent fee :: n. a fee to a lawyer which will be due and payable ... epend on the outcome are unethical.
decriminalization :: n. the repeal or amendment of statutes which made ... gh clinics and other legal sources.
default :: 1) n. failure to respond to a summons and complain ... default judgment notice of default
election of remedies :: n. an outmoded requirement that if a plaintiff (pa ... dence has not been fully presented.
enclosure :: (inclosure)n. land bounded by a fence, wall, hedge ... oundaries and cause legal problems.
elder law :: n. a specialty in legal practice, covering estate ... t field. (definition revised: 9/02)
easement :: n. the right to use the real property of another f ... rstandings at the time of creation.
due process of law :: n. a fundamental principle of fairness in all lega ... procedural and substantive rights.
duty :: n. 1) a legal obligation, the breach of which can ... on imports. See also: duty of care
environmental law :: n. a body of state and federal statutes intended t ... imental effects on the environment.
equitable :: adj. 1) just, based on fairness and not legal tech ... es or give relief. See also: equity
estoppel :: n. a bar or impediment (obstruction) which preclud ... pel equitable estoppel estop laches
evasion of tax :: n. the intentional attempt to avoid paying taxes t ... rs. See also: estate tax income tax
erroneous :: adj. 1) in error, wrong. 2) not according to estab ... n a legal decision or court ruling.
ergo :: (air-go)conj. Latin for "therefore," often used in ... osopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650).
equitable estoppel :: n. where a court will not grant a judgment or othe ... also: clean hands doctrine estoppel
due :: n. and adj. owed as of a specific date. A popular ... ecessarily mean that a debt is due.
driving under the influence (DUI) :: n. commonly called "drunk driving," it refers to o ... (DWI), drunk driving, or a "deuce".
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
dictum :: n. Latin for "remark," a comment by a judge in a d ... cta)." See also: dicta obiter dicta
deportation :: n. the act of expelling a foreigner from a country ... s usually to the country of origin.
default judgment :: n. if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to ... See also: complaint default summons
demurrer :: n. (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint ... demurrer. See also: motion pleading
discharge in bankruptcy :: n. an order given by the bankruptcy judge, at the ... red creditors. See also: bankruptcy
discretion :: n. the power of a judge, public official or a priv ... t a variance to a zoning ordinance.
distress :: 1) n. the self-help taking of another's possession ... rice due to negative circumstances.
double taxation :: n. taxation of the same property for the same purp ... it is not discriminatory or unfair.
dispossess :: v. to eject someone from real property, either leg ... ty, either legally or by self-help.
disorderly house :: n. 1) polite term for house of prostitution. 2) pl ... tion. 2) place of illegal gambling.
discrimination :: n. unequal treatment of persons, for a reason whic ... qual rights. See also: civil rights
interest :: n. 1) any and all, partial or total right to prope ... nal property real property standing