Dictionary

 

Civil Law

A body of law derived and evolved directly from Roman Law, the primary feature of which is that laws are struck in writing; codified, and not determined, as in the common law, by the opinions of judges based on historic customs

Keywords

Accord and Satisfaction

The act of one party, having complied with its contractual obligation, accepting some type of compensation from the other party (usually money and of a lesser value) in lieu of enforcing the contract and holding the other party to their original obligation

Adminiculum

Latin: some evidence tendered to support something else

Aleatory Contract

A contract which depends on an uncertain event

Antichresis

The pledge of real property as security for a debt

Authentic Act

A contract or other legal document which has been properly prepared or authenticated by a court officer, such as a notary, and thereafter given enhanced evidentiary status of its authenticity

Benefit of Inventory

A right of legal or testamentary beneficiaries to an estate to demand of the administrator an inventory of the estate

Canon Law

The law of the Church; based on religious beliefs

Civil Code

A document in civil law jurisdictions that purports to be a compendium of the applicable law as it pertains to the citizen

Civil Covenant of Solidarity

A contract by two individuals of the age of majority, of different or same gender, to provide legal rights and obligations as a result of their cohabitation

Civil Liability

A civil law requirement to compensate another because of an unlawful injury to his/her person or property

Civil Union

A formal union between two people, of the same or of different genders which results in, but falls short of, marriage-like rights and obligations

Common Law

Judge-declared law, Law which exists and applies to a group on the basis of customs and legal precedents developed over hundreds of years in Britain

Complementarities

The co-existence of two or more equally authoritative systems or sources of law

Confusion

Grounds for extinguishing a contractual obligation when creditor and debtor become’s the same person

Contract

An agreement between persons which obliges each party to do or not to do a certain thing

Contract Law

That body of law which regulates the formation and enforcement of contracts

Co-ownership

A generic legal term that refers to various forms of ownership over one asset by more than one person

Delict

A civil law term which imposes liability on a person who causes injury to another or for injury caused by a person or thing under his custody

Dereliction

The enlarging of land adjacent to water by the gradual retreat of the water line

Emolument

Wages, benefits or other benefit received as compensation for holding some office or employment.

Emphyteusis

A long-term lease of land or buildings; 99 years or such similar long term, or even in perpetuity

Estover

Limited rights granted to a tenant of land to certain product of the land, mostly wood

Fault

A breach of duty or negligence and, in some circumstances, the errors or omissions of others or of things under a person's control

Force Majeure

French for an act of God; an inevitable, unpredictable act of nature, not dependent on an act of man

Fungibles

Standard commercial movable things that are sold by measure, number or weight

Furtum

Theft or a thing stolen

Gift

A transfer of property with nothing given in return

Harassment

Unsolicited words or conduct which tends to annoy alarm or abuse another person

Hereditas Damnosa

An inheritance that is more of a burden than a benefit

Heritable Obligation

A legal obligation or right which is not extinguished by the death of the person who held those rights or was liable for the obligation but are then transferred to the estate

Hypothec

A charge on property upon which an unpaid creditor may enforce payment of the debt

Immovable

Land and fixtures thereto, civil law term

Imputation of Payments

A civil law term: a system that allocates monies received from a debtor who has more than one debt and who has not, with the payment, specified to the creditor to which debt the monies are applied

Incorporeal

Legal rights which are intangible such as copyrights or patents

Jus

The law or a legal right

Lex Non Scripta

Unwritten law; the common or custom law

Mortis Omnia Solvit

Death puts an end to everything

Movable

Things not attached to land and which may be carried from place to place

Necessitas Indicit Privilegium Quoad Jura Privata

From necessity spring privileges upon private rights

Novation

Substitute a new debt for an old debt, canceling the old debt

Nudum Pactum

An empty pact; a contract for which there is no consideration

Obligations

A legal requirement established by law, contract or as a result of unlawful harm caused to the person or property of another.

Obligee

The person who is to receive the benefit of someone else's obligation

Obligor

A person who is contractually or legally, committed or obliged, to providing something to another person (the obligee)

Pacta Sunt Servanda

Agreements must be kept

Patrimony

The aggregate of things owned by a person

Paulian Action

A claim by a creditor against a third party to rescind any transfer of property made to the third party by the debtor done to frustrate enforcement of the creditor's debt

Per Capita

By the head

The proposed distribution of an estate of property to surviving specified beneficiaries only and not, in the event of pre-death of the beneficiary, to the heirs of the pre-deceased beneficiary

Preemption

A period of time fixed by law for the existence of a right

Pollicitation

An offer which has not been accepted

Potestative Condition

A condition made in a contract the fulfillment of which is entirely in the control of one of the parties to the contract

Prescription

A method of acquiring or extinguishing rights through the inaction of the legal owner

Private Law

Law which regulates the relationships between individuals

Profit à Prendre

A servitude which resembles an easement and which allows the holder to enter the land of another and to take some natural produce such as mineral deposits, fish or game, timber, crops or pasture

Property

A comprehensive collection of legal rights over a thing

Pro Possessore Habetur Qui Dolo Injuriave

He whose possession is taken away by fraud or injury will be deemed to continue to possess

Quasi-Contract

A contract implied and imposed by law resulting from certain actions of a person

Quasi-Delict

A wrong caused by negligence

Qui Jure Suo Utitur Neminem Facit Injuriam

He who exercises his legal rights harms no one

Rapina

To take away forcefully

Real Obligation

A legal obligation associated with real property

Re-causation

An application made to a judge that he/she not hear a particular case because of a real or perceived conflict of interest; that the judge recues himself (abstain) from the case

Seisin

The legal possession of property

Sequestration

The taking of someone’s property, voluntarily (by deposit) or involuntarily (by seizure), by court officers or into the possession of a third party, awaiting the outcome of a trial in which ownership of that property is at issue

Servitude

From Roman law and now a feature of civil law; equivalent to the common law's easement: access rights over the property of another

Solidary Obligation

A legal relationship where one or more of several debtors are each liable to pay the entire amount, or one or more of several creditors each able to collect the whole

Statutes

The written laws approved by legislatures, parliaments or elected or appointed houses of assembly

Subrogation

The substitution of one person to the rights of another

Synallagmatic Contract

A civil law term for a reciprocal or bilateral contract: one in which both parties provide consideration

Usufruct

The rights to the product of another's property

Vinculum Juris

Legal bound

ABC Rule

An equitable exception to the general rule that attorney fees are not awarded, and which allows an award of attorney fees as consequential damages

Abstract Instruction

An instruction given to a jury which though correct in law, is irrelevant

Abuse of Process

The use of legal process in an improper or unauthorized manner

Action

A formal demand to a court of law and of justice to resolve a dispute

Ad Damnum

To the damage

Addendum

An attachment to a written document or contract

Adminiculum

Some evidence tendered to support something else

Administration of Justice

The personnel, activity and structure of the justice system - courts and police - in the detection, investigation, apprehension, interviewing and trial of persons suspected of crime

Advocate

The Scottish law term for a barrister; one who argues cases for clients before the Court

Affiant

A person that is sworn to an affidavit; who gives evidence by way of an affidavit

Affidavit

A statement which before being signed, the person signing takes an oath that the contents are, to the best of their knowledge, true.

Affirmative Defense

A reply to a claim which alleges facts from which it results that, notwithstanding the truth of the allegations of the complaint, no cause of action exists

Aggravated Damages

Damages awarded by a court to reflect the exceptional harm done to a plaintiff of a tort action.

Amicus Curiae

A friend of the court

Appeal

To ask a more senior court or person to review a decision of a subordinate court or person

Appellant

The person who initiates an appeal of a judicial body's decision

Attorney

An alternate word for lawyers or barrister and solicitor, used mostly in the USA

Audi Alteram Partem

Literally 'hear the other side'

Audita Querela

An application to a court after judgment seeking to avoid execution of that judgment because of some event intervening between judgment and execution which compromises the judgment creditor's entitlement to execution

Backing Sheet

A back cover page to a legal document designed to show, when folded, what the legal document is and who it is from

Bad Faith

Intent to deceive

A person who intentionally tries to deceive or mislead another in order to gain some advantage

Bailiff

A person acting with legal authority in the seizure of personal property

Balance of Probabilities

Burden of proof in civil trials

Barrister

A lawyer that restricts his or her practice to the court room; a litigation specialist

Bill of Costs

A formal memorandum presented by one party to concluded litigation to the other as a proposal of costs and disbursements that the issuing party claims

Blue Ribbon Jury

A jury consisting of highly qualified persons

Bond

A written guarantee in regards to the fulfillment of a legal obligation

Builders' Lien

A statutory charge against real property by those who have contributed material or manpower to its improvement

Burden of Proof

A rule of evidence that makes a person prove a certain thing or the contrary will be assumed by the court

Calder bank Letter

A species of settlement offer delivered in the form of a letter and which can be used in the event that it is rejected and subsequent to trial or hearing of the litigation which results in terms similar to the rejected offer, costs are spoken to

Call To The Bar

The official moment that an individual is sworn or entered into a law society or state bar or court and thereafter licensed to practice law in that jurisdiction

Capacity

The power to acquire and assert legal rights

Cease and Desist Letter

A letter which advises a person to stop (cease and desist) using specified legal rights which are asserted by another

Certificate of Pending Litigation

A registration or/of a notice or warning that litigation is ongoing as to ownership of a particular piece of land or other real property

Certiorari

A formal request to a court challenging a legal decision of an administrative tribunal, judicial office or organization (eg. government) alleging that the decision has been irregular or incomplete or if there has been an error of law

Chambers

A court which sits to dispose of procedural matters

Circumstantial Evidence

Evidence which may allow a judge or jury to deduce a certain fact from other facts which have been proven

Civil Action

Any action that is not a criminal proceeding

Client-Solicitor Privilege

A right that belongs to the client of a lawyer that the latter keep any information or words spoken to him during the provision of the legal services to that client, strictly confidential

Commonality

A feature of a group of people seeking to be certified for a class action, that there are questions of law and fact common to the prospective group (class)

Common Fund

A fund recovered by a litigant or lawyer for the benefit of persons other than himself or his client, and that litigant or lawyer then entitled to a reasonable attorney's fee from the fund as a whole

Common Pleas

A court to resolve civil disputes between private citizens and not otherwise involving the Crown

Community of Interest

A term of class action law; a requirement for certification, that members of the proposed group represent a community of interests

Competency

An individual's ability to understand the nature and object of legal proceedings being presented, and to consult with counsel

Complete Diversity

A jurisdictional requirement of US district courts; that that all persons on one side of the controversy be citizens of different states than all persons on the other side

Compromise Agreement

An agreement to settle a previously existing claim with a substituted performance

Confrontation Clause

The constitutional guarantee in the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution which requires that an accused person have the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him

Consent Order

An order of the court in terms which have been contractually entered into by parties to the litigation

Contemnor

A person found to have committed contempt of court

Contempt of Court

Conduct that is disobedient, obstructive or contemptuous to the Court

Contumacy

Intentional contempt of court

Costs

A court order that the losing party in litigation must pay the successful party's expenses plus an additional allowance, the latter as a contribution towards the winner's legal fees

Costs follow the Event

An award of costs will generally flow with the result of litigation; the successful party being entitled to an order for costs against the unsuccessful party

Costs if Demanded

An award of costs which is explicitly left to the discretion of the party to whom costs are awarded

Costs in any Event of the Cause

An entitlement to costs of an interlocutory application regardless of the ultimate result of the main action

Costs in the Cause

The general rule in the law of costs that the ultimate victor at trial may get his or her costs against the loser and including all interlocutory applications

Counterclaim

A defendant's claim against a plaintiff

Court of Record

A court of law which retains written records of its proceedings and which has the ability to fine or imprison

Criminal Contempt

Contumacious behaviour or behaviour which tends to publicly depreciate the authority of the court or the administration of justice

Cross Examination

The examination of a witness called by the other side at trial and for which leading questions are permitted

Damages

A cash compensation ordered by a court to offset losses or suffering caused by another’s fault or negligence

De Bene Esse

To take something for what it is worth, such as evidence collected for the time being, in the absence of, but in anticipation of, litigation, admissibility to be determined when such thing is sought to be used against another at trial

Defendant

The individual, company or organization who defends a legal action taken by a plaintiff and against whom the court has been asked to order damages or specific corrective action redress some type of unlawful or improper action alleged by the plaintiff

Deliberative Secrecy

The intentional concealment of the process of cogitating, consulting or other private methods of arriving at a judicial decision

Demand Letter

A letter from a lawyer, on behalf of a client, that demands payment or some other action, which is allegedly due or in default

Demurrer

A mostly obsolete motion put to a trial judge after the plaintiff has completed his or her case, in which the defendant, while not objecting to the facts presented, and rather than responding by a full defence, asks the court to reject the petition right then and there because of a lack of basis in law or insufficiency of the evidence

De Novo

New

Deponent

A person who gives evidence verified by oath, as within an affidavit

Deposition

The official statement by a witness taken in writing (as opposed to testimony which where a witnesses give their perception of the facts verbally)

Dilatory Plea

A formal challenge which questions not the cause of action, but the propriety of the suit, or the mode in which the remedy is sought

Direct Contempt

Contempt of Court which is aimed expressly against the dignity or authority of the Court itself in the person of its Judges or officers

Discontinuance

A formal notice filed with the Court and served on the defendant, ending active litigation

Discovery

The making known to the other side of a law suit, of all relevant evidence

Docket

An official court record book which lists all the cases before the court and which may also note the status or action required for each case

Double Costs

A punitive measure against a litigant for that party’s failure, in all of the circumstances, to have accepted an offer to settle that should have been accepted

Double Hearsay

Recitals of statements of others within a statement that is itself hearsay; an out-of-court declaration containing another out-of-court declaration

Duces Tecum

To bring

Dying Declaration

Exception to the hearsay rule: a statement of fact made by a dying victim relating to the cause and circumstances of a homicide

Embracery

Improper influence on a juror

Essoin

A valid excuse for not appearing in Court when summoned

Evidence

Proof of fact(s) presented at a judicial hearing such as a trial

Examination for Discovery

A recorded oral examination of the other side to litigation before trial and under oath, but not before a judge, with a view to obtaining admissions or discovering facts

Examination In Chief

The questioning of your own witness under oath

Examination on Affidavit

An examination under oath of the deponent of an affidavit

Exchequer

A court of law designed to determine claims by the Crown

Ex Facie Contempt

Contempt committed outside the court

Exhibit

A document or object shown to the court as evidence in a trial

Ex Juris

Outside of the jurisdiction

Ex Parte

Outside the awareness of a party

Expert Witness

A witness with a defined area of expertise and on that basis and strictly within that area is allowed to give opinion evidence to the Court (or jury, as the case may be)

Factum

The written summary of a litigant's position to be taken and expounded upon in a judicial proceeding, including a concise summary of relevant facts and law and brief arguments with reference to authorities where applicable

Fishing Expedition

A speculative demand for information without any real expectation about the outcome of the demand or its relevance to the litigation

Forum Conveniens

The court or forum most suitable for the ends of justice

Ghostwriting

When a lawyer is hired to draft an official court document on behalf of a self-represented litigant

Habit

A regular response to a specific situation

Harmless Error

An error which beyond a reasonable doubt, did not contribute to a decision

Hearing

The presentation of evidence before an adjudicating body as may be required for a full disclosure and challenge of alleged facts

Hearsay

Evidence that is offered by a witness of which they do not have direct knowledge but, rather, their testimony is based on what others have said to them

Hired Gun

An expert with a bias or who adapts his or her expert evidence to the requirements of the party that calls him/her as a witness

Hostile Witness

A party's witness who demonstrates such adversity to answering questions that the trial judge allows leading questions to be put to that witness

Husband-Wife Privilege

A special right that married persons have to keep communications between them secret and even inaccessible to a court of law

Implied Undertaking Rule

A party to whom documents are produced within litigation will not use them for collateral or ulterior purposes.

In Camera

A closed and private session of Court or some other deliberating body

Increased Costs

A term of statute of costs which are in excess of party and party costs and which may equal or come close to completely indemnify the successful litigant.

Indigent

A poor person; not penniless but in need and who has no financial support from any other

Indirect Contempt

Contempt of court which occurs not in the presence of a judge acting judicially, but which tend to degrade the court or to obstruct or embarrass the administration of justice by the court

In Facie Contempt

Contempt of court that occurs in the face of the Court

Inhibition

A legal procedure to prevent a debtor from compromising property upon which a creditor holds a charge

In Limine

At the beginning or on the threshold

In Personam

Regarding a person; a right, action, judgment or entitlement that is attached to a specific person(s)

In Rem

Regarding a thing; proprietary in nature; a right or judgment related to the use or ownership of an item of property

Interloper

A person who, without legal right, runs a business (e.g. without mandatory licenses), or who wrongfully interferes or intercepts another's business

Interrogatories

Pre-trial numbered and written questions on relevant matters to the litigation, sent to the other side of litigation, and for which reply is mandatory

Inter Se

As between or amongst themselves

Intervener

One who is given standing in litigation even though they were not originally a party

Judicial Immunity

Absolute immunity from civil liability for official decisions or acts

Judicial Lien

A lien obtained by judgment or other judicial proceeding

Judicial Review

A process where a court of law is asked to rule on the appropriateness of the decision of an administrative agency or tribunal

Jurat

The written certification by a judicial officer that a deponent or affiant recognizes and endorses all parts of an affidavit he or she proposes to sign, and confirms that an oath has been administered in this regard to the affiant

Jure Gestionis

The private or commercial acts of a state

Jurisdiction

Legal authority to judge or to act in a given situation or case

Juror

A member of a jury; a person who has taken an oath to serve on a jury

Jury

A group of citizens randomly selected from the general population and brought together to assist justice by deciding which version, in their opinion, constitutes 'the truth' given different evidence by opposing parties

Jury Nullification

The extraordinary power of a jury to issue a verdict contrary to the law as applied to the proven facts

Jury Secrecy Rule

A rule of law which prohibits the disclosure, by a member of a jury, of statements or opinions voiced during jury deliberations

Justifiability

A necessary prerequisite of a matter put to a court of law for resolution; that an actual and substantial controversy be at hand

Kangaroo Court

A judicial proceeding or trial which has a predetermined outcome or where the basic legal rights of a party are jumped over

King's Bench

Originally, the common criminal court of the common law; later, the general superior court

Law of the case Doctrine

When a court decides upon a rule of law, that decision should continue to govern the same issues in subsequent stages in the same case.

Lawyer

An individual trained in the law and that has been certified to give legal advice or to represent others in litigation.

Leading Question

A question which suggests an answer; usually answerable by yes or no

Legal Professional Privilege

A shield against disclosure of communications between a solicitor and his/her client

Lex Fori

Latin for the law of the forum

Lex Situs

A conflict of law rule that selects the applicable law based on the venue or location of something

Liability

A legal obligation, either due now or at some time in the future

Lien

A property right which remains attached to an object that has been sold, but not totally paid for, until complete payment has been made

Limitations or Statute of Limitations

Loss of a legal right or cause of action because of the passage of time

Lis Pendens

A dispute or matter which is the subject of ongoing or pending litigation

Litigant

A person who is a party to a legal action

Litigation

A dispute is in 'litigation' (or being 'litigated') when it has become the subject of a formal court action or law suit

Litigation Privilege

Non-disclosure protection imposed on documents which come into existence after litigation commenced or in contemplation, and where they have been made with a view to such litigation, either for the purpose of obtaining advice as to such litigation, or of obtaining evidence to be used in such litigation, or of obtaining information which might lead to the obtaining of such evidence

Locus

The place; venue

Locus Standi

Legal standing before a court

Mandamus

A writ which commands an individual, organization (eg. government), administrative tribunal or court to perform a certain action, usually to correct a prior illegal action or a failure to act in the first place

Mandate Rule

An inferior court has no power or authority to deviate from the mandate issued by an appellate court

Mareva Injunction

A temporary injunction that freezes the assets of a party pending further order or final resolution by the Court

Master

A partly-empowered superior-level court judge, used mostly for interlocutory and procedural civil hearings

Medical Expert

A witness tendered to offer opinion evidence within the confines of his or her area of medical expertise

Minutes of Settlement

A formal record of a contract which settles one or more live issues before a Court

Miscarriage of Justice

A substantial wrong which occurs during a trial which so infects the proceedings as to merit quashing the result on appeal

Moot

A matter where the issue raised concerns a hypothetical or abstract question

Natural Justice

Basic or fundamental judicial rights extended to a person with rights at issue

Nemo Judex In Parte Sua

No person can judge a case in which he or she is party or in which he/she has an interest

Nolle Prosequi

No prosecution

Norwich Order

Pre-action third party discovery to an intended plaintiff without notice to the intended defendant

Notice of Motion

A formal notice to participants in litigation of an intent to seek specific relief in an action.

Oath

A religious or solemn affirmation to tell the truth or to take a certain action

Obiter Dictum

Latin: an observation by a judge on a matter not specifically before the court or not necessary in determining the issue before the court

Obstructing Justice

An act which tends to impede or thwart the administration of justice

Onus

The burden

Opening Statement

A lawyer or litigant's initial remarks at trial, to the finder of fact, either a judge or jury, setting out their road map or case theory

Open Justice

A principle of the common law that proceedings ought to be open to the public, including the contents of court files and public viewing of trials

Out-of-Court Settlement

An agreement between two litigants to settle a matter privately before the Court has rendered its decision

Overriding Error

A standard of appellate review, an error that must have altered the result or may well have altered the result

Palpable Error

A standard of appellate review, an error that is readily or plainly seen

Particulars

The material facts which a party to litigation alleges are true and which that party will seek to prove at trial in support of the relief claimed

Party and Party Costs

The standard award of costs being, in the result, a partial indemnity to the successful party to litigation for his or her litigation expenses

Past Recollection Recorded

An exception to the hearsay rule, whereby evidence of which a witness has no current recall can nonetheless be admitted for the truth of its contents as it was recorded at a time when the witness was able to verify its accuracy

Pauper's Oath

An affidavit of indigence, of poverty

Pendente Lite

During litigation

Preemptions

A period of time fixed by law for the existence of right

Per Incuriam

Through want of care

Personal Interest

An interest in either the subject matter or a relationship with the parties before a judicial body

Personal Jurisdiction

The court's authority to determine a claim affecting a specific person

Personal Knowledge

Something a witness actually saw or heard

Perverse Verdict

A decision of a jury which runs altogether contrary to the evidence presented before it

Petition

The formal, written document submitted to a court, and which asks for the court to redress what is described in the petition as being an injustice of some kind

Petitory Suit

An action in maritime law in which a person seeks to obtain a judgment as to title of a vessel independently of possession

Piecemeal Litigation

Circumstances in which more than one court is seized of the adjudication of the same issue

Pierringer Release

A proportionate share settlement agreement

Plaintiff

The person who initiates, who brings or files a case with a court; who sues

Pleadings

That core document(s) of a party to litigation in which he or she formally sets out the facts and the law which support that party's position

Plea to the Jurisdiction

A preliminary challenge to a court's authority to decide the action before it

Polygraph

A lie-detector machine

Possessory Action

Where a party entitled to possession of a vessel seeks to recover that vessel

Practice of Law

The giving of legal advice or of representation of another as agent in a court of law or through rules of court, or in the preparation of legal documents or in dispute or contractual negotiation

Precipe

An initiating document presented to a court clerk to be officially issued on behalf of the court or the covering memo or letter from the lawyer (or plaintiff) which accompanies and formally asks for the writ to be issued by the court officer

Preponderance

Evidence that persuades a judge or jury to lean to one side as opposed to the other, during the course of litigation

Prescription

A method of acquiring or extinguishing rights through the inaction of the legal owner

Present Memory Revived

A facilitative mechanism used at trial to assist a witness in recalling his or her memory, thus revived

Probative

Tending to prove

Pro Bono

For the good

Pro Se

On one’s own behalf

Purge

To apologize or the taking of such other action as may be deemed by a court of law to suffice for the purposes of vacating a charge of contempt of court

Quasi-Judicial

Administrative tribunals or government officials which, in their decision-making process, are subject to the rules of natural justice

Question of Discretion

Where an appeal predominantly takes issue with the lower court's exercise of judicial discretion

Question of Fact

Questions about what actually took place between the parties

Question of Law

Questions touching the scope, effect or application of a rule of law which the courts apply in determining the rights of parties

Question of Mixed Law and Fact

An appellate standard of review of a lower court's order where the appeal issues are divided between question(s) of fact and question(s) of law

Quo Warranto

Legal procedure taken to stop a person or organization from doing something for which it may not have the legal authority, by demanding to know by what right they exercise the controversial authority

Ratio Decidendi

Reasons for a decision

Reconvention

A rule of jurisdiction which enables a counterclaim against another who, although otherwise beyond the jurisdiction of the court, has voluntarily submitted to jurisdiction by initiating the principal action

Recross Examination

The resumption of cross-examination by the original cross-examiner in order to respond to matters that may have arisen during the re-examination of a witness

Red Herring

An irrelevant legal issue

Redirect Examination

The re-opening of an examination-in-chief after cross-examination, to cover matters that may have arisen during cross-examination

Remedy

Remedial judicial action to right a wrong or to prevent a infringement upon a legal right.

Replevin

A legal action taken to reclaim goods which have been detrained

Res Judicata

Already subject to judicial determination

Res Noviter Veniens Ad Notitiam

Fact(s) newly coming to knowledge

Respondent

The party that responds to a claim filed in court against them by a plaintiff

Retraxit

A withdrawal of a legal action

Reverse Payment

A payment by a patent holder to an infringer in consideration of the infringer's cease and desist

Rules of Court

Rules of procedure and conduct during the sitting of a court of law uniformly applicable to litigants and their lawyers, and governing the hearings of claims and motions, and defences or responses thereto.

Runaway Witness

A witness who, while under cross-examination, is unresponsive

Scandalizing the Court

Personal scurrilous abuse of a judge as a judge

Security for Costs

Payment or deposit of money or some form of security in lieu thereof, into court, by a litigant to secure the payment of such costs if such person does not prevail

Sequestered Jury

A jury which has been confined to a location where they can be shielded from outside distractions while their deliberations are ongoing

Sequestration

The taking of someone’s property, voluntarily (by deposit) or involuntarily (by seizure), by court officers or into the possession of a third party, awaiting the outcome of a trial in which ownership of that property is at issue

Sharp Practice

Prohibited conduct by a licensed lawyer in taking, or attempting to take advantage of a slip or overlooked technical matter by the other side to litigation, and to agree to reasonable requests which either prejudice his client or the interests of justice

Sine Die

Adjourned indefinitely - without setting any future date of meeting or hearing

Solicitor and Client Costs

An award of all costs associated with litigation

Solicitor and Own Client Costs

One of the most punitive awards of costs, requiring a party to pay the other's legal bill

Special Costs

A scale of costs generally equivalent to solicitor and client costs and also approaching complete indemnity to the successful litigant

Special Jury

A jury drawn to certain specifications given the alleged complexities of the matter to be tried

Standard of Review

The applicable threshold of an appealable error; often distinguishable as between questions of law, of fact, or mixed questions of fact and law

Standing

The ability to sue and speak to the Court on a controversy based on personal interest in the outcome

Stare Decisis

Stay with what has been decided

Statement of Claim

The document which sets out the plaintiff's allegations of fact and thus, engages the judicial process by seeking trial

Statement of Defense

A defendant's written answer or reply to a statement of claim, admitting or denying each and every one of the facts contained in the statement of claim and alleging such facts as the defendant wishes to assert at trial in opposition to the plaintiff's case

Limitations

A procedural rule which limits the time in which a party may bring an action for a right which has already accrued

Statute of Repose

The deadline set by statute on the assertion of a right by litigation

Statutory Lien

A lien arising solely by force of a statute on specified circumstances or conditions

Stay

To stop; to suspend; also known as a stay of proceedings; when a law suit is suspended either indefinitely or until the occurrence of a condition imposed by the court

Stenographer

An individual employed to receive and transcribe dictation

Stipulated Judgment

Consent order

Stipulation

An agreement between the parties with respect to an issue before the court

Style of Cause

The formal title of the proceedings in a court of law, usually the action number, the name of the court and the full, formal and complete name(s) of the plaintiff(s) and that of all defendant(s)

Sub Judice

Under judicial consideration

Subpoena

An order of a court which requires a person to be present at a certain time and place or suffer a penalty (subpoena means, literally, under penalty)

Summary Trial

The trial of an action by way of affidavit evidence only or by use of truncated process

Super Injunction

An injunction obtained in a secret convening of the court where in the result, the court file, the names of the parties and even the terms of the injunction order are secret except as between the parties, counsel, the judge and the court staff

Tales

The act of supplementing a jury otherwise incomplete

Talesmen

Additional jurors summoned to complete a jury

Taxation of Costs

The formal quasi-judicial review of a bill of costs or other determination of costs payable by one litigant to another

Temporal Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction of a state or of a court of law over a legal action as it may be affected by the effects or passage of time

Testimony

The oral evidence of a witness in a judicial proceeding, such as a trial

Theory of the Case

A short, succinct statement of the theme of an action as evidence will be presented organized and support at trial

Third Party

A person who is not privy to a contract or a party in a lawsuit

Transit In Rem Judicatam

Latin: The cause of action is changed into matter of record, which is of a higher nature, and the inferior remedy is merged in the higher

Trial

The resolution of a dispute by examination of evidence submitted by opposing litigants by a tribunal or Court of law, and determination of (1) guilt (in a criminal trial) or (2) of a civil dispute of fact or law

Ultra Petita

Beyond that which is sought

Ultra Vires

Without authority

Unfavorable Witness

When a witness called by a party merely gives unfavorable answers to questions posed during examination in chief, that party may not cross examine the witness but may still lead evidence in contradiction

Verdict

Truth told;

The decision of a jury

Viva Voce

By voice

Want of Prosecution

An application to a judge to dismiss a law suit alleging that the litigant has inexcusably delayed moving the litigation along and that under the circumstances, the litigation ought to be dismissed

Warrant

A document giving a person legal authority to do a certain thing

Withdrawal

A cancellation of a statement of defense or counterclaim by a defendant

Without Prejudice

A reservation made on a statement that it cannot be used against in future dealings or litigation

Witness

A person who perceives an event (by seeing, hearing, smelling or other sensory perception)

Writ

An official court document, signed by a judge or bearing an official court seal, which commands the person to whom it is addressed, to do something specific

Zealous Witness

A witness who demonstrates disproportionate enthusiasm while testifying

 

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