legal terms

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you’ve possibly heard the metaphor, “it’s all greek to me,” when someone doesn’t understand or is absolutely flummoxed by a subject or scenario. the regulation is “greek” to many human beings: it’s often misunderstood and prison terminology is misused by the general public.

take, for example, the person who comes domestic to locate that their domestic has been damaged into while they have been away and their television, stereo and different assets were taken. they cellphone the police and proclaim, “i’ve been robbed!” in reality, considering that they were no longer domestic and the belongings were now not taken from their person or the on the spot region of their character, they had been no longer robbed; alternatively, their home changed into burglarized. the confusion is understandable, given that people watch a number of television and actors frequently dramatically moan, “i’ve been robbed!” every so often they’re accurate, but extra frequently the term is utilized in error. this is without difficulty defined considering maximum screenwriters haven’t long gone to law college. one simplified difference is that robbery is a person-on-person crime. housebreaking is a assets crime.

other often confused terms are attack and battery. a person who has just been punched by using any other man may additionally scream that he’s been assaulted. in truth, the presence of real physical contact approach that he’s been battered. if you have trouble remembering that you could consider it like this: in case you are physically hit via a baseball bat, you have been battered.

similarly, sure phrases can suggest various of factors, relying upon the context. take “lynch” as an instance. in step with california penal code 405a, a lynching is “the taking through a rebellion of any character from the lawful custody of any peace officer.” but, the word “lynch” can also talk to killing someone with out criminal authority, normally with the aid of striking; and, “lynch law” refers to punishment of presumed crimes or offenses, typically via loss of life, with out due technique of law. as you could see, the manner a time period is used frequently dictates what it approach; so, whilst you’re going via these phrases, remember the fact that there may be versions in legal definitions.

as a paralegal you may want to grow to be acquainted with felony phrases and specifically familiar with terms used in the area of regulation you turn out to be running in. must you figure for a public defender, prosecutor or criminal defense lawyer you will be coping with more phrases referring to crook law. in case you work with corporations you will need to pay attention on company regulation, contractual phrases and the uniform business code (ucc). this identical precept holds true for running with tax attorneys, family law or property regulation. expertise criminal terminology is vital for information the law itself and well making use of it in studies, legal analysis, record instruction and compliance with neighborhood, nation and federal judicial systems.

here are a few terms to get you began:

adjective regulation (or procedural regulation): that area of the law that deals with procedural regulations of evidence, pleadings and exercise.

administrative law: the vicinity of regulation that issues government agencies.

cause of movement: the motive for which a plaintiff documents a grievance or suit against a person. this can be negligence, breach of agreement, malpractice or defamation, to call a few. a cause of motion is divided into factors, and each detail need to be proved to win the case.

civil law: 1) a commonplace term for all non-criminal regulation, usually because it applies to settling disputes between non-public citizens or entities. 2) a body of legal guidelines and felony ideas derived from roman law as opposed to english commonplace regulation. (english common regulation is the basis of country felony structures in the u.s., aside from louisiana.)

compensatory damages: damages which are recovered for harm or financial loss. as an example, if someone is injured in a car twist of fate and the birthday celebration who injures them has to pay compensatory damages, the birthday party at fault need to cowl price of factors which includes the ambulance, doctors’ bills, hospital stays, remedy, physical therapy and misplaced wages.

constitutional law: law prescribed by using the written federal and nation constitutions, as well as the interpretation and implementation of this law.

contract: an settlement between two or more events to do or chorus from doing something; this regularly includes a promise of some thing in return for something of fee. there are each written and oral contracts, though in some states oral contracts have little or no standing.

demurrer (dee-muhr-ur): a formal reaction to a criticism filed in a lawsuit, pleading for dismissal and pronouncing, in impact, that although the facts are actual, there is no prison basis for a lawsuit. examples encompass a lacking vital detail of reality, or a complaint that is doubtful. the choose can agree and “go away to amend,” giving the claimant the possibility to amend the grievance. if it is not amended to the judge’s delight, the demurrer is granted. (some states use a motion to dismiss.)

depose: to testify or deliver beneath oath or sworn affidavit.

diligence: reasonable care or attention to a remember; for example, searching both ways before intending after preventing at a stop sign, washing your fingers earlier than cooking food in a eating place or working in a sanatorium or checking brakes and different mechanical additives on tour buses at everyday durations. due diligence denotes what a everyday, accountable man or woman might do under the equal conditions.

prison: a extreme crime punishable via demise or at least twelve months in a nation or federal jail. felonies encompass arson, rape, perjury and homicide. while theft is involved, the value of that which was stolen determines whether or not the offense is considered a misdemeanor or felony.

laws: a gadget of regulations governing the conduct of a community, country, society or state on the way to provide regular order and justice. within the u.s., laws can be statutes, ordinances or policies, and are normally enacted by way of the legislative branch at a country or federal degree, or by means of a department of the government with authorization from a regulation already installed.

malfeasance: doing some thing illegal or morally incorrect. malfeasance includes dishonesty and abuse of authority.

mens rea (menz ray-ah) latin for a “guilty mind”; mens rea is used to describe a culpable state of mind, the criminal intent of the individual whilst committing an criminal act. for some crimes, this motive have to have been present for someone to be guilty of the crime.

misdemeanor: a crime less extreme than a felony, punishable via or imprisonment for less than a 12 months.

prima facie (pry-mah fay-shah): latin for “at the start appearance,” or “on its face,” prima facie refers to what may be presumed after the first disclosure.

prima facie case: a case wherein, upon first appearance, the statistics themselves prove the case.

provisional remedy: a transient courtroom order to defend someone from similarly or irreparable harm even as similarly prison action is pending. for instance, a brief restraining order is a provisional treatment to help preserve someone safe until a listening to to determine if a permanent restraining order is needed; likewise, a brief injunction to forestall the destruction of a building can maintain it from being destroyed while the court decides whether or not it’s miles a landmark.

punitive damages: damages provided over and above compensatory damages for punishment. if the act inflicting the injury become dedicated out of negligence or malice, punitive damages serve not handiest as a punishment, however as an example or deterrent to others. it additionally helps placed the injured birthday celebration on a degree gambling discipline. for instance, an man or woman who loses a leg whilst hit by using a under the influence of alcohol driver cannot be offered a brand new leg, however a financial award can assist that character face the resultant barriers.

stare decisis: latin for “to stand by way of matters decided,” to stick to precedents of in advance instances as assets of law. while an trouble has already been ruled upon by way of a courtroom, other cases related to the equal trouble have to obtain the same reaction from that court docket or lower courts.

statute: a written regulation surpassed via congress or another legislative frame.

title: the legal basis ownership of real or personal assets or a report that serves as serves as proof of this possession. deeds for actual property, and titles for motors and boats are examples of titles.

title abstract: a records of possession that establishes the present state of a identify.

identify seek: an examination of public information to determine the kingdom of a identify and verify that the vendor of a belongings is its criminal proprietor. a cloud on the title inclusive of a lien, an unrecorded proprietor or differing property descriptions on preceding deeds can be a cause to cancel a buy on a assets.

tort: from the french phrase for “wrong,” a tort is a wrongful or unlawful act, whether intentional or accidental, wherein an damage takes place to some other. an intentional tort can also be a criminal offense, which include battery, fraud or robbery. tort regulation is one in every of the biggest regions of civil law.

wobbler: from time to time referred to as a “criminal wobbler,” a wobbler is against the law that may be categorized as either a legal or a misdemeanor. in a few states, despite the fact that an culprit is charged with a prison in a wobbler case, the decide may have the authority to lessen the conviction to a misdemeanor.

10 Legal Terms You Need to Know

attorneys and law suits have their very own language. alas, legal professionals often forget about that while we deal with this language every day, our clients and others concerned within the prison machine are regularly listening to unusual phrases for the primary time. at ury & moskow, we give a welcome package to each of our new private damage and clinical malpractice customers that explains what a regulation healthy is and the way the courtroom machine works. however we’ve got in no way shared this statistics with our other litigation customers, or with the public. that adjustments now.

beneath is a listing of 10 key felony phrases that you need to know. without a doubt, there are at least 15 terms defined beneath, however we just like the concept of a “top 10 listing” so it’s like you are getting extra phrases free of charge! critically, although, now not best will your attorney use these terms to keep you cautioned of what is going on for your case, however you’ll additionally benefit a higher information of what goes on in the many law suits mentioned in the news.

1. credibility (credible/great)

credibility is actually every other way of saying you are plausible when you speak; the capability to appear honest and honest whilst telling your aspect of the tale. credibility is important to almost every regulation suit. that is mainly true where the two sides are telling very specific testimonies and a fact finder (either a decide or jury) is pressured to pick one version over the opposite. when a client is credible, the whole case is extra valuable. and whilst we frequently say some thing is “outstanding” while we suggest it is virtually correct, in a court docket, “super” means no longer believable, a lie. your credibility is constantly at issue: it starts with being open and sincere with your attorney, it continues thru your deposition (see under) and can cease when you testify (see under) at trial.

2. damages

legal professionals typically use the phrase damages to consult the amount of money that a customer recovers in a law fit. of direction, it can also be damaged down into similarly classes, like monetary damages (misplaced wages, misplaced profit, out of pocket prices, and so on.) and non-monetary damages (physical accidents, emotional misery, ache and suffering, scars, permanent disability, lack of leisure of existence’s pleasures, and so on.). while enterprise law suits have a extraordinary degree of damages (or the types of matters that may be compensated), the idea is the equal: damages are the loss suffered and that may be recovered in a law in shape.

3. default

a default is a technique where the courtroom bars a celebration (plaintiff or defendant) from advancing claims or defenses due to the fact that birthday celebration did not do some thing required by the policies of court or statutes (regulation). whilst defaults can be a precious device in a lawsuit, judges frequently open (or elevate) the default while the party complies with the requirement in question.

four. defendant

the defendant is the person protecting himself/herself in a law fit, or the individual that is being sued. although defendants can convey their very own claims in opposition to the character suing within the identical case, referred to as counterclaims, we typically think of a defendant as the man or woman accused of wrongdoing.

five. discovery (discovery manner)

diverse statutes and court rules allow each sides of a lawsuit to file certain papers in courtroom asking for the opposite aspect to grant facts approximately the case. that is what we name discovery – we discover information that the opposite side has about the case. whilst either aspect seeks discovery from the alternative, the requests ought to be answered to within a fairly quick time – frequently as brief as thirty (30) days. there are various styles of discovery gadgets that the regulation permits. a number of them encompass:

5(a). interrogatories. that is a series of written questions which one side asks the other. they must be answered in writing and underneath oath.

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5(b). request for production. each side may also request the alternative to supply documents or matters that might relate to the case.
five(c). depositions. that is a proper question and answer consultation, wherein a witness, or deponent, swears an oath to tell the truth in response to attorney thinking, and a court docket reporter, or stenographer, takes down each word. the record of the deposition is produced through courtroom reporter and is called a deposition transcript and is often reviewed and signed off on as correct with the aid of the deponent. if the deponent thinks that elements of the transcript are faulty, then he has the proper to make adjustments on an errata sheet, a sheet of paper that identifies the language in query and the proposed revision.
5(d). requests for admission. this is a file in which a celebration is requested to admit or deny a particular reality, and his solution can be used at trial to conclusively establish that the truth is authentic if admitted (or false if denied).

6. docket

a docket is the manner the court continues tune of a case, and can be both singular (the docket in your unique case) or plural (the courtroom’s whole docket of cases – sometimes inside the hundreds). you can listen that your case is “at the docket,” that means that it’s miles scheduled for a few kind of hearing. connecticut state courts manipulate their dockets in a number of ways: you can pay attention us use the following terms:

6(a). motions and pleadings listing. that is where the events flow the case ahead by submitting lawsuits, answers, defenses and numerous other papers with court. these files, referred to as pleadings, flow the case forward. there also are papers called motions that essentially ask the court docket to choose as to who is proper or incorrect on a selected issue or issues.

6(b). trial list. that is wherein the case is ready for trial and the pleadings are closed, meaning that all papers that want to be filed were filed. a case can be on both the jury list (wherein the case may be determined through a jury) or a courtside list (in which the case might be decided by means of a judge.

6(c). hearing in damages listing. this is wherein a default has entered and the case is going ahead to decide what the damages might be for the reason that entry of the default means that liability (see under) is already proven/mounted.

7. legal responsibility

liability is the term we use to mention that a defendant has responsibility for the damages. put any other way, the purpose of a regulation healthy is to show that one birthday celebration is chargeable for the injuries and damages suffered with the aid of the other.

8. malpractice

malpractice is a complicated time period. in order for us to prove that a doctor to dedicated malpractice, we want to show four matters:

the doctor had a duty to offer care to the patient;

the medical doctor didn’t offer care in accordance with the same old in the network;

the doctor’s failure to offer treatment inside the trendy of care became, to an affordable scientific probability, a enormous purpose of the injury suffered (this is additionally referred to as causation); and

the patient/client suffered a compensable damage (damages).

nine. negligence

at its maximum simple, negligence is described as follows:

a celebration has a obligation to every other man or woman – like a motive force has a obligation to stay in his own lane;

a party breaches (or breaks) the duty – just like the motive force who crosses over the yellow line;

the breach of the responsibility causes damage (that is also referred to as causation); and

the “harmless” birthday party suffers a compensable damage (damages).

but, negligence can also be carried out to an entire variety of situations, from failure to shovel snow off stairs, to failure to keep a deck, to failure to properly represent records in a commercial enterprise deal, to many different eventualities.

10. plaintiff

a plaintiff is the person who brings a lawsuit, now and again also known as a claimant. a plaintiff is the one who seeks to recover damages for a wrong dedicated with the aid of a defendant.

11. based settlements

a structured agreement is a financial device most customarily used to remedy personal physical damage claims or lawsuits. they work by using taking the money that might in any other case be paid in a lump sum and making an investment it so there may be a circulate of payments over a time frame. a dependent agreement is normally funded by using the defendant buying annuities from distinctly-rated existence insurance groups. if a established settlement is used to fund a private bodily damage claim, it gives the payments tax-free. a dependent agreement may be used to settle non-personal harm claims too. once in a while, we use based settlements to guard the recovery from ability lenders as well.

12. testify

to testify manner to make a announcement (or testimony) underneath oath, whether or not or not it’s at trial, at a deposition or in a sworn statement (a written statement made underneath oath). while we communicate about human beings testifying credibly, we imply that their testimony became each sincere and plausible.


many experts in relatively regulated industries have interaction intently with legal suggest every day to make sure their groups operate inside the bounds of the law and keep away from unnecessary proceedings. consequently, there is developing demand for non-attorneys who have the skills and information to think and speak seriously about criminal troubles that affect their area.

one of the key abilities for these experts is understanding commonplace legal phrases. when running alongside a organization’s legal professionals, recommend may introduce a felony term or idea in a meeting that, based totally on their prison training, is “commonplace” to them. that identical time period, however, might be foreign to the common enterprise professional. believe how an awful lot less complicated and green it might be, for both the individual and for suggest, if each parties could speak the identical language.

dan urman, director of northeastern’s master of felony research software, says knowledge felony terminology is essential for all specialists, inclusive of marketers, healthcare workers, compliance officers, actual estate sellers, arbitrators, and human useful resource managers.

“getting to know the language of the law now not handiest makes those experts extra powerful of their roles, but it offers them a competitive benefit,” he says. “if you’re able to recognize and articulate criminal principles using correct language, you’ll stand out as someone who can interact efficiently with counsel to guard ideas and organizational assets. many lawyers bill via the hour, so if you may engage with them speedy and certainly, you may store your business enterprise, and your self, cash.”

by using mastering common felony phrases, you may execute your professional duties with self belief for your personal know-how. while incomes a sophisticated diploma in prison research is one way to enhance your felony knowledge, right here are a few commonplace prison phrases for non-attorneys in a spread of industries to help you get a head start:

Legal Terms in Business

prison phrases in commercial enterprise
movement: an movement is a lawsuit wherein a celebration or events sue each other. a cause of action is the basis of a lawsuit, inclusive of fraud, breach of contract, or negligence.

opportunity dispute decision: opportunity dispute decision (adr) refers to using a impartial third birthday celebration to help in reaching a voluntary, consensual settlement and avoiding litigation thru normally private arbitration or mediation.

articles of incorporation: those formal documents establish the lifestyles of a organisation, such as an llc, s-corp, or inc., within the united states or canada. filed with the secretary of nation, those files detail critical enterprise records, which includes the felony shape of the agency for tax functions.

civil regulation: this is a typical term for non-crook regulation because it applies to settling disputes between personal citizens or companies. civil court cases is probably approximately negligence, a breach of a contract, or a land dispute among pals. civil liability is the obligation for damages in a lawsuit, instead of criminal legal responsibility, which leaves parties open to punishment for against the law that could encompass jail or prison. civil penalties are fines imposed by the authorities to put in force rules, which include failure to obtain a allow or pay taxes on time.

contract: a agreement is a binding settlement between or more events that creates rights and obligations for every birthday party which are enforceable by using regulation. they regularly outline techniques for decision making and dispute resolution. contracts may be written or oral, implied or expressed. in a few cases, oral contracts have little standing in court docket.

common contracts consist of:

sales, manufacturing, housing, asset purchase, sales, employment, consulting, franchise, carrier, or licensing agreements
confidentiality and non-compete agreements
business partnerships, operating agreements, or stock agreements
damages: damages are provided to a person who has suffered an injury or loss as a result of an movement by some other celebration. there are numerous types of damages, consisting of monetary, bodily, and emotional. compensatory damages are recovered for injury or monetary loss, whereas punitive damages are provided to punish a defendant for his or her moves, along with negligence. a well-known instance of punitive damages involved a lady who spilled warm coffee on her lap. the jury, looking to ship a message to mcdonald’s, offered the plaintiff almost $3 million greenbacks in punitive damages, despite the fact that the amount became later diminished with the aid of a decide.

pressure majeure: this clause relieves the parties in a contract from pleasing their responsibilities, because of an unavoidable event or unexpected circumstance that couldn’t be fairly expected or controlled.

fraud: fraud is the intentional deceit of one birthday celebration to deprive every other birthday party of his/her/its money, assets, or rights.

injunction: an injunction is a court docket order compelling a party to behave or to refrain from a sure act, under the hazard of civil or crook penalties.

liability: legal responsibility is the legal obligation for one’s movements. failure of someone or entity to satisfy their responsibilities under the regulation leaves that party liable to court cases for any resulting damages. strict legal responsibility way a celebration can still be observed guilty of an offense, even without any rationale to damage.

malfeasance: malfeasance refers back to the act of doing some thing unlawful or morally wrong, such as dishonesty and abuse of authority by someone or enterprise.

herbal character: in a lawsuit, a herbal person refers to a person as a celebration, in preference to a agency.

negligence: negligence refers to carelessness, or the failure to behave in a way that a “reasonable or prudent person” could do in the equal given circumstances. negligence isn’t the same as intentional wrongs, inclusive of attack or trespassing, but can nonetheless purpose critical physical, emotional, or financial damage.

nonfeasance: nonfeasance is the failure to act when movement is legally required.

shareholder agreement: that is a form of agreement that determines the rights of shareholders and defines whilst and the way they are able to exercise their rights, along with the right to transfer shares, proper of first refusal, or redemption upon death or disability.

tort: a tort is an unlawful act wherein an harm occurs to another, whether or not intentional or accidental. tort laws protect individuals from civil wrongs due to individuals or by means of businesses, including inside the mcdonald’s instance above.

Legal Terms in Healthcare

superior directive: additionally referred to as a residing will, these criminal files define the precise moves that have to be taken on a patient’s behalf need to they turn out to be incapable of creating their very own clinical decisions.

anti-believe: in healthcare, anti-agree with legal guidelines are in area to guard competition and offer consumers with pleasant, value-powerful alternatives. these legal guidelines restrict monopolization and charge-fixing among healthcare organizations.

false claims act: this act makes it unlawful for an person or agency to intentionally make a fake file or file a false declare regarding federal healthcare blessings.

hippa: the medical insurance portability and accountability act (hippa) is a law that guarantees patient privacy and protection of all physical and digital scientific data and other personal health facts (phi).

knowledgeable consent: in medical treatment, informed consent ought to receive voluntarily through a patient earlier than present process any clinical treatment. to be “knowledgeable,” patients need to have full understanding of the system, viable consequences, feasible alternatives, and their rights to refuse remedy.

malpractice: in healthcare, malpractice takes place while an person is harmed with the aid of a health practitioner or healthcare provider, because of negligence.

preferred of care: the diploma of care required to save you injury to every other. if an company’s moves do not meet this popular of care, they may be taken into consideration negligent.

Legal Terms in Intellectual Property (IP)

ip: ip refers to tangible or intangible personal assets this is created via the intellectual efforts of its creators.

change secret: trade mystery law protects any employer records now not “generally known” which the organisation has taken “affordable steps” to maintain in self belief. they’re protected beneath the law from “misappropriation,” or wrongful taking.

emblems: logos defend logos and brands, supporting to differentiate agencies from each other. the right to an indicator is automatically assumed as soon as a business starts offevolved the use of a unique name or logo.

patents: patents are used to defend new or notably progressed products, and are effective only inside the america and its territories. as soon as a patent software is approved by using the united states patent and trademark office, a patent owner has the one of a kind proper to make, promote, or in any other case use and profit from the invention for a chosen period of time. before a patent is issued, inventions are considered change secrets and techniques—unless they may be bought to the public.

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copyrights: copyrights follow to tangible works of authorship. in contrast to patents, they practice mechanically. copyrights prohibit the reproduction, distribution, amendment, public overall performance, or public show of a work this is “notably similar” to the original. cds, books, and most software program are routinely protected by way of copyright.

non-disclosure settlement (nda): an nda is a settlement in which a party or events promise to defend the confidentiality of data obtained for the duration of the course of employment or enterprise transaction. those agreements may be one-manner or jointly binding, and generally include:

a definition of what constitutes exclusive statistics (consisting of what’s out of scope)
how private facts ought to be handled
who owns the statistics
the term for which the nda will stay enforceable

Legal Terms in Human Resources

at-will employment: an employee-organisation relationship for which there may be no contractual settlement. both birthday celebration may additionally give up the employment dating at any time and for any motive with out incurring penalties.

back pay: these damages are offered in employment complaints in the amount of money an worker would have earned had they no longer been unlawfully fired, denied a advertising, or withheld pay.

discrimination: this time period refers back to the unequal treatment of a person for reasons that don’t have anything to do with felony rights or their talents. there are federal and state legal guidelines prohibiting discrimination in terms of employment, housing, fees of pay, educational possibility, civil rights, and use of facilities. someone who believes she or he has been discriminated towards can record a lawsuit with the federal same opportunity employment fee or their state enterprise.

adverse paintings surroundings: a adversarial paintings environment is one so fraught with harassment that it violates anti-discrimination legal guidelines and might intervene with the ability to do one’s activity. harassment claims can arise when the terrible surroundings is so pervasive that it creates an intimidating and offensive work environment.

non-compete agreement: these agreements dictate that an employee will not paintings for a competing business enterprise, or establish a competing commercial enterprise in the course of, or for a certain period of time after, their employment with the corporation.

sexual harassment: this term refers to any unwelcome sexual advances with the aid of an agency or manager. “quid pro quo” harassment happens whilst those unwelcome advances come to be a situation of employment or represent a hazard to an worker’s persisted employment.

name vii: part of the federal civil rights act of 1964, title vii law prohibits employment discrimination primarily based on an man or woman’s race, colour, religion, sex, or countrywide foundation. this act protects the illegal hiring, firing, exclusion, or segregation of employees or candidates primarily based on these conditions.

whistleblower: nation and federal whistleblower legal guidelines protect those who record illegal company practices to government.

wrongful termination: an worker has the proper to sue his or her business enterprise for damages for illegal discharge, or being fired with out motive, despite the fact that in recent years, courtroom selections have become increasingly more strict in restricting the grounds required for employees to document a match.

(for extra criminal phrases, take a look at out glossaries provided via the american bar association or united states of america courts.)

legal terms dictionary

the principle source of thefreedictionary’s criminal dictionary is west’s encyclopedia of yankee law, version 2, which incorporates extra than 4,000 entries detailing terms, standards, occasions, actions, cases, and people large to u.s. regulation.

the criminal dictionary additionally contains the people’s regulation dictionary, through renowned government gerald and kathleen hill. it includes definitions, context, and utilization for extra than 3,000 terms. seemed by way of students, jurists, leading legal professionals and reviewers as one of the most sensible works of its type, the human beings’s law dictionary is a comprehensive source of meanings and use for heaps of latest maximum not unusual criminal terms. it has won full-size praise for its scope and readability.

please observe that this information is not intended to be used in place of a go to, consultation, or recommendation of a prison professional.

legal terms latin

latin felony terms can look like a language outdoor of your normal use, however you will be amazed at how many you recognize. we’ve all watched a suspect give an alibi at the same time as looking our favourite legal drama, and you’ve probable entered many quid pro quo agreements if you’ve ever swapped books, recipes or maybe favors.

for those terms you don’t know but, we’ve defined 25 key latin prison terms, broken down their meanings and furnished situations in their use within the actual global.

all definitions have been supplied via merriam-webster’s criminal dictionary.

Latin TermLegal DefinitionExplanationReal-World Use
Ab initio

(From the beginning)

From the beginning.Often used in reference to contracts, ab initio means a court decision is applied to the start of the issue as opposed to when problems arose.If a contract is entered under false pretenses, a judge can decide that the contract never existed and is therefore nonbinding.
Ad hoc(To this)For the particular end or case at hand without consideration of wider application.When there is an issue or problem that can’t be solved by an existing group, a new one is created to deal with that specific purpose.An ad-hoc committee handled energy-related matters before the U.S. House of Representatives created a permanent committee in 1977.
Alibi(In another place)A defense of having been somewhere other than at the scene of a crime at the time the crime was committed.A solid alibi can confirm a suspect’s innocence, if it proves the suspect was in a different location from the crime scene.Alibi was first adapted into the English language in the 18th century as an adverb, but only became a noun by the start of the next century.
Amicus curiae(Friend of the Court)One (as an individual or organization) that is not a party to a specific lawsuit but is allowed to advise the court regarding a point of law or fact directly concerning the lawsuit.This term is used in criminal justice proceedings when a person who is not directly involved in the case provides evidence or information that could add context to the decision.Judges often receive amicus curiaebriefs to explain the possible legal ramifications of the case’s outcome.
Actus reus(A guilty act)The wrongful act that makes up the physical action of a crime.Actus reus is the act of the crime, though it also considers deliberate intent to commit the crime, as opposed to self-defense.Committing a criminal act, criminal negligence and failing to report a crime all fall under actus reus and can lead to criminal charges.
Bona fide(In good faith)Characterized by good faith and lack of fraud or deceit.Bona fide is often used to describe a person or company that does something with legitimate intentions.In Alabama, companies who want to hold a “going out of business” sale can only receive a license if they are genuinely going out of business.
Certiorari(Certified)An extraordinary writ issued by a superior court (as the Supreme Court) to call up the records of a particular case from an inferior judicial body (as a Court of Appeals)A request for documents to be turned over to a higher court by a lower court.One of two ways the U.S. Supreme Court can review cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals is through a writ of certiorari.
Corpus delicti(Body of the crime)The substance of a crime that the prosecutor must prove and that consists of an injury or loss (as death of a victim or disappearance of property) and the criminal act that resulted in it.The main facts surrounding a case that proves to a judge or jury that a crime did occur.In contemporary times, corpus delictihas also been used to refer to physical evidence in a crime, such as a victim’s body in a murder.
De facto(In fact)In reality.Something that exists without having been specifically created or mandated.Many countries, including the U.S. and the United Kingdom, have no official language, but a de factonational language.
De jure(By right)By right: of right.Concerns something that exists with authority from the jure government is one that’s codified and enshrined by national laws, proving that it is legal and legitimate.
Ex parte(On behalf of)On behalf of or involving only one party to a legal matter and in the absence of and usually without notice to the other party.A ruling or motion made by just one party in a dispute.In some instances, there may be a situation in a court case with an ex parte proceeding, in which only one side is involved.
Ex post facto(After the fact)After the fact.A recent ruling that will be applied retroactively.The U.S. Constitution forbids the use of ex post facto laws made by the U.S. Congress and individual states.
In camera(In chambers)In private.At the judge’s discretion, all or part of a case may take place without giving the public access.In camera hearings are often held in the cases of guardianships, custody disputes or adoptions.
In limine(On the threshold)Of, relating to, or being a motion, petition, or order regarding the admissibility of evidence whose exclusion is sought especially on the ground that it is prejudicial.A request for the exclusion of certain evidence because it would unfairly sway the jury or judge.In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “the State may not show defendant’s prior trouble with the law…” (Michelson v. United States).
In loco parentis(In the place of parents)In the place of a parent.When someone other than the biological parent assumes responsibility for a minor.Some states allow people considered in loco parentis to have visitation rights, or to consent to medical treatment of a minor.
Inter alia(Among other)Among other things.The phrase inter alia is a method of shortening legal documents so certain sections don’t have to include every allegation or every reference.If a suspect is accused of multiple crimes, a prosecutor would refer to one crime, inter alia in legal documents to save space and time.
Ipso facto(By the very fact)By that very fact or act: As an inevitable result.Like the English word “therefore.”If someone is born in the U.S., ipso facto they have a U.S. Social Security number.
Locus in quo(Place in which)The place where a legal cause of action arose.The scene of a crime.A crime scene can be either where the crime took place or any location where evidence pertaining to the crime is found.
Mens rea(Guilty mind)A culpable mental state.Seeks to establish a defendant’s intent.Determining mens rea considers whether a crime was committed purposely, knowingly, recklessly and negligently.
Nexus(Connection)A connection or link between things, persons, or events especially that is or is part of a chain of causation.In a legal context, this term could appear in legal proceedings when trying to connect laws between is commonly required to establish due process in criminal cases.
Postmortem(After death)Done, occurring, or collected after death.Also known as an autopsy, a coroner or medical examiner investigates a cadaver to determine the cause and manner of death.If the cause of death is undetermined, in some states a coroner can hold an inquest, or judicial inquiry, to determine the cause.
Prima facie(After first view)On first appearance absent other information or evidence.Used when a plaintiff or prosecutor has enough evidence for a case to go to trial.prima facia case presented by a prosecutor to a grand jury could result in a criminal indictment.
Pro hac vice(For this occasion)For this occasion.Pro hac vice refers to lawyers take part in an out-of-state trial where they don’t hold a license.Pro hac vice has been traced back to 1629, used by the English Courts of Common Pleas.
Quid pro quo(Something for something)Something (as consideration) given or received for something else.In a quid pro quo, one person provides another with a favor or an advantage, with the other person returning the favor.In a legal context, prosecutors offer alleged criminals a lighter sentence in exchange for witness testimony against another alleged criminal facing more serious charges.
Scienter(Knowingly)Knowledge of the nature of one’s act or omission or of the nature of something in one’s possession that is often a necessary element of an offense.Scienter means having guilty knowledge, either in committing a crime or withholding knowledge or evidence of one.An example of scienter can be seen in lemon laws, which protects consumers from purchasing a vehicle that doesn’t live up to manufacturer warranty claims.

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Legal terms list

Absolute immunity
Abstract of judgment
Abuse of process
Acceptance of responsibility
Accession (property law)
Acknowledgment (law)
Act of God
Acting (law)
Actual notice
Adjustment (law)
Administrative proceeding
Adverse inference
Adverse party
Adverse possession
Advisory jury
Affirmation in law
After-acquired property
Age of candidacy
Age of majority
Agreement in principle
All rights reserved
Ambulance chasing
Antecedent (law)
Appearance (law)
Appearance of impropriety
Appropriation (law)
Approved instrument
Arbitration award
Argumentum e contrario
Art equity
Articles of Agreement
As is
Asset protection
Assignment (law)
Attendant circumstance
Attorney (England and Wales)
Bad faith
Barratry (common law)
Bench (metonymy)
Bifurcation (law)
Black letter law
Blunt instrument
Bodily harm
Bona fide purchaser
B cont.
Bonded warehouse
Book of business (law)
Call of duty (law)
Capital call
Carnal knowledge
Cease and desist
Chain of title
Champerty and maintenance
Charge (youth)
Charging order
Collateral estoppel
Collective redress
Colour of right
Common carrier
Community standards
Comparative negligence
Compass (law)
Competent authority
Compounding a felony
Confession of error
Confession of judgment
Consent decree
Constructive fraud
Constructive notice
Consumer complaint
Consumer product
Continuing trespass
Controlling law
Controversy (law)
Creditor’s rights
Culpable homicide
Curator bonis
Date certain
Deadlock provision
Decisional law
Decisory oath
Declaration (law)
Declaratory power
Deed of gift
Default (law)
Demand guarantee
Detention (imprisonment)
Direct evidence
D cont.
Direct examination
Dispositive motion
Dissolution (law)
Divesting abandonment
Docket (court)
Door tenant
Double closing
Double escrow
Double jeopardy
Double majority
Due process
Dumb laws
Duplicity (law)
Earnest payment
Emanation of the state
Emphyteutic lease
Empty chair (law)
Enacted law
Enduring power of attorney
Enrolled bill rule
Entities of interest
Equity of redemption
Error (law)
European Authorized Representative
Europeanisation of law
Ex demissione
Exclusion clause
Excuse (legal)
Extenuating circumstances
Extraordinary resolution
Factual basis
Fair comment
False pretenses
Family purpose doctrine
Fault (legal)
Fee tail
Feigned action
Fictitious defendants
Field-of-use limitation
Filing (legal)
Force (law)
Foreign corporation
Forfeiture (law)
Forged endorsement
Form of action
Freehold (law)
Frivolous or vexatious
Fundamental justice
Further and better particulars
Gag order
Generally recognized as safe and effective
Good cause
Good conduct time
Government interest
Grandfather clause
Grant deed
Grievous bodily harm
Gross floor area
Gross negligence
Hardship clause
Harmless error
Harmonisation of law
Holding (law)
Homestead exemption
Humanitarian access
Hung jury
Illegal per se
Immediately (law)
Immediately adjacent
Immediately upon arrival
Immunity from prosecution
Imperfect self-defense
In open court
Inchoate lien
Incidental damages
Incorporation of international law
Incumbent (ecclesiastical)
Indirect liability
Information and belief
Informed assent
Informed refusal
Intangible property
Integration clause
Intentional harassment, alarm or distress
Interlocutory injunction
Irreparable injury
Jack Cade laws
Joint and several liability
Joint appendix
Judicial estoppel
Judicial misconduct
Jump bail
Jury sequestration
Jury tampering
Last antecedent rule
Lasting power of attorney
Law French
Law of the land
Leading question
Legal age (disambiguation)
Legal custody
Legal death
Legal district
Legal doublet
Legal hold
Legal liability
Legal nullity
Legal opinion
Legal project management
Legal recourse
L cont.
Legal transplant
Legalization (international law)
Legally adjudicated newspaper
Legislative veto
Letter rogatory
Liberal legalism
Libertà condizionata
Lien avoidance
Life imprisonment in England and Wales
Line of hereditary succession
Line-item veto
Lineal descendant
List of legal abbreviations
List of objections (law)
Literary executor
Local ordinance
Long cause
Malice (law)
Malicious mischief
Malicious prosecution
Man-made law
Mandate (criminal law)
Market capitalization
Material adverse change
Material fact
Materiality (law)
Mature minor doctrine
McKenzie friend
Medical advice
Merit (law)
Ministerial act
Mitigation (law)
Moratorium (law)
Motion for leave
Motion to quash
Motion to suppress
Municipal law
Mute of malice
Natural justice
Natural person
Negative pledge
Next friend
No-contest clause
Nominal party
Nominate reports
Nonjoinder of party
Nota bene
Objection (law)
Offer of proof
Officious intermeddler
Omnibus hearing
Open verdict
Option fee
Ordinary course of business
Ordinary resolution
Original jurisdiction
Pain and suffering
P cont.
Parental consent
Partial verdict
Partible inheritance
Party (law)
Under seal (law)
Glossary of patent law terms
Patent of precedence
Peliculum in mora
Per curiam decision
Peremptory plea
Perfection (law)
Person of interest
Personal representative
Phase I environmental site assessment
Plain meaning rule
Plant variety (law)
Plenary power
Police caution
Political subdivison
Position of trust
Positive law
Possession proceedings
Power of attorney
Prayer (legal term)
Prayer for relief
Pre-settlement funding
Prejudgment writ of attachment
Prejudice (legal procedure)
Preliminary injunction
Prescription (sovereignty transfer)
Principal (criminal law)
Principal case
Principle of no-work-no-pay (dies non)
Privilege tax
Probate sale
Prohibited degree of kinship
Promiscuous Judge
Provisional law
Public Order Act 1986
Public service company
Punitive damages
Pupil master
Quasi-legislative capacity
Quitclaim deed
Record sealing
Rectification (law)
Redirect examination
Regulatory taking
Relator (law)
Relevance (law)
Relevant conduct
Remand (court procedure)
Remand (imprisonment)
Reply (legal term)
Reservation of rights
Reserved decision
Responsible entity
Restraining order
Reversible error
Right of conquest
Right of initiative (legislative)
Right of self-defense
Seat (legal entity)
Second lien loan
Security of payment
Self-help (law)
Sequestration (law)
Shareholders’ agreement
Shocks the conscience
Short cause
S cont.
Sounds in
Special Court
Special meaning
Stationhouse bail
Stranger in blood
Strategic lawsuit against public participation
Strike from the record
Stuffed article
Subject-matter jurisdiction
Substantive due process
Substantive law
Suggestion of death
Sum certain
Summary (law)
Summary jurisdiction
Summary order
Sunset provision
Surrogate decision-maker
Tacit relocation
Tangible property
Tax lien
Testamentary trust
T cont.
Threat of force (public international law)
Title (property)
Tracing (law)
Translating «law» to other European languages
Trust instrument
UCC-1 financing statement
Underdeterminacy (law)
Unfair competition
United States entity
Unnatural act
Use (law)
Vacant possession
Valid claim
Violent disorder
Void (law)
Void for vagueness
Voluntary association
Voting trust
Ward (law)
Warrant of committal
Warrant of delivery
Wastelands Ordinance
Willful violation
Words of purchase
Adverse authority
Beyond the shadow of a doubt
Doctrine of marshalling
Inequality of bargaining power
Judicial assistance
Neutral reportage
Passing off
72-hour clause
Acceleration clause
After acquired property clause
Arbitration clause
Choice of law clause
Cleanup clause
Contractual term
Contractual terms in English law
Due-on-sale clause
Entire agreement clause
Escalator clause
Escape clause
Force majeure
Forum selection clause
Further assurances
Gold clause
Gross up clause
Hell or high water clause
Himalaya clause
Jurisdiction clause
Liquidated damages clause
Loss payee clause
Meet-or-release contract
Money back guarantee
Most-Favoured-Customer Clause
N cont.
Non-compete clause
Omnibus clause
Parent company guarantee
Point of total assumption
QC clause
Reserve clause
Romalpa clause
Royal lives clause
Salvatorius clause
Take-or-pay contract
Title retention clause
Yellow-dog clause
999-year lease
Abatement of debts and legacies
Absolute defence
Abstract (law)
Accommodation (law)
Account of profits
Acts of independent significance
Adequate remedy
Adjudicative competence
Adjusted winner procedure
Adjustment clause
Administrator (law)
Administrator of an estate
Admissible evidence
Admission (law)
Affinity (law)
Aleatory contract
Alienated land
Alienation (property law)
All rights reversed
Ambit claim
Amendment to allege use (AAU)
American rule (attorney’s fees)
Ancillary relief
Anonymous work
Anti-alienation clause
Anti-suit injunction
Articles of Organization
Artistic control
Assault (tort)
Assault causing bodily harm
Assessment of goodwill
Assessor (law)
Assisted person
Attachment (law)
Attorney misconduct
Attribution (copyright)
A cont.
Bare trust
Base fee
Basic norm
Beach bum trust provision
Bearer instrument
Benefactor (law)
Beneficial interest
Bill of costs
Black rage (law)
Blank endorsement
Blanket clemency
Blind trust
Bond for deed
Bonus share
Bootstrapping (law)
Boulevard rule
Bright-line rule
Built-up area (Highway Code)
Bulkhead line
Buyer agency agreement
Calendar call
Cause of action
Chambers (law)
Chance medley
Change of position
Circle justice
Civic holiday
Civil recovery
Civil wrong
Clear title
Client confidentiality
Closing argument
Cloud on title
Code of non-infringement
Codicil (will)
Cold weather rule
Collateral assurance
Collateral contract
Collateral source rule
Collective action clause
Colloquy (law)
Collusive lawsuit
Commencement of action
Commission of rebellion
Committal procedure
Compulsory arbitration
Compulsory purchase order
Condition precedent
C cont.
Condition subsequent
Conditional limitation
Conduct money
Confession and avoidance
Consequential damages
Constitution (corporate)
Contentious jurisdiction
Contingent liability
Contract of carriage
Contract of sale
Contract price
Contractual rights
Contradictio in adjecto
Contribution claim (legal)
Convention of disclosure
Corollary relief
Correlative rights doctrine
Corroboration in Scots law
Cost-plus-incentive fee
Counter-majoritarian difficulty
Course of employment
Court costs
Cover (law)
Creative work
Creature of statute
Credit tenant lease
Criminal deportation
Criminal libel
Crown proceedings
Custodian of Records
Customary freehold
Deadly weapon
Declaratory relief
Decree (Belgium)
Deep pocket
Defamatory libel
Defense (legal)
Defensive termination
Definitive Map
Del credere
Delegated authority
Demand letter
Depraved-heart murder
Design around
Designated agent
Deviant sexual intercourse
Dignitary torts
Direct-action lawsuit
Directed verdict
Discretionary jurisdiction
Disgorgement (law)
Division of property
Doctrine of chances
Doctrine of concurrent delay
Doctrine of inherency
Document review
Dominant estate
Dominium directum et utile
Drag-along right
Droit de suite
Drop dead date
Drumhead court-martial
Dual board
Dummy purchaser
Dunning (process)
Duorum in solidum dominium vel possessio esse non potest
Duty of loyalty
Ecclesiastical crime
Effective date
Election of remedies
Elephant test
En ventre sa mere
End-user certificate
English-Speaking Union Moot
Ex nunc
Ex tunc
Executorial trustee
Executory contract
Exempt property
Exhibit (legal)
Expert report
External risk
Eyre (legal term)
Faculty (instrument)
Failure of issue
Failure to appear
F cont.
Fieri facias
Finality (law)
Fine on alienation
First impression (law)
Foetal impairment
Forced-access regulation
Foundation (evidence)
Four unities
Fraud in the factum
Fraudulent concealment
Free Bench
Friendly suit
Ghost lawyer
Ghost mark
Gibson’s law
Good faith (law)
Grama (halacha)
Gross lease
Group boycott
Guilt (law)
Habit evidence
Hanging judge
Heads of Agreement (law)
Hearing (law)
Hidden asset
Honorary trust
Hostile witness
Householder Franchise
Immediate pursuit
Immigration regulation
Imminent lawless action
Implied assertion
Implied authority
Implied consent
Implied repeal
Implied-in-fact contract
Importation right
In personam
Incapacitation (penology)
Incontrovertible evidence
Incorporation by reference
Indefeasible rights of use
Individual capacity
Infectious invalidity
Innocent passage
Innovative defense
Inter rusticos
Interest in possession trust
I cont.
Interim order
Interim trustee
Interpretivism (legal)
Intertemporal law
Intervening cause
Intrinsic fraud
Invention disclosure
Inverse condemnation
Irreconcilable differences
Irresistible impulse
Joint physical care
Judicial deference
Judicial economy
Judicial immunity
Judicial restraint
Jurisprudence constante
Landlord’s lien
Last clear chance
Law label
Law of the case
Law of the Horse
Learned intermediary
Lease and release
Leave to Remain
Legal advice
Legal benefit
Legal detriment
Legal name (business)
Legislative motion
Legitimate use of force
Lesion beyond moiety
Lex Canuleia
Life interest
Limited appearance
Littoral rights
Lodestar method
Lord’s waste
Majority opinion
Makingup price
Malicious falsehood
Marché ouvert
Mareva injunction
Marketable title
Mass tort
Merger doctrine (civil procedure)
Merger doctrine (family law)
Merger doctrine (property law)
Merger doctrine (trust law)
Mesne assignment
Mexican divorce
Moiety title
Motion to strike (court of law)
Narrow tailoring
Negotiorum gestio
New trial
Nonrecourse liability
Notice of Claimed Infringement
Notice of default
Noxal surrender
Obscene libel
Offence (law)
Option (law)
Outcry witness
Parametric contract
Parquet (legal)
Partial integration (contract law)
Participation (ownership)
Patent aggregation
Pedigree (law)
Perfect tender rule
Person in need of supervision
Pierringer release
Piggy-back (law)
Plaint note
Plea in equity
Pledge (law)
Principle of opportunity
Procedural default
Procedural defense
Production write-through contract
Property abstract
Protected class
Prout patet per recordum
Provisional measure of protection
Provisional remedy
Psychic assault
Public domain (land)
Pur autre vie
Pure speech
Qualified immunity
Qualified privilege
Question of fact
Question of law
Reasonable time
Rebuttable presumption
Recital (law)
Reconciliation (family law)
Registered instrument
Reliance damages
Remainder (law)
Residuary estate
Reverse onus
Reversion (law)
Right of possession
Right of reply
Right to quote
Safe harbor (law)
Sanctions (law)
Service ex juris
Settlement (trust)
Severable contract
Sewer service
Shadow counsel
Shadow rapporteur
Sidebar (law)
Sideground IP
Similar fact evidence
Simultaneous death
Slander of title
Small penis rule
Social dangerousness
Social purpose
Specific legacy
Stanhope defense
Stay of execution
Stay of proceedings
Straw deed
Strike for cause
Structural encroachment
Substantial certainty doctrine
Substantial performance
Substantial truth
Substitution of attorney
Supersedeas bond
Surrender (law)
Sworn testimony
Synallagmatic contract
Tabula in naufragio
Tag-along right
Taint (legal)
Taxation of costs
Term sheet
Testamentary disposition
Third-party standing
Thirty year rule
Time constraint
Tolling (law)
Tools of trade
Totten trust
Toxic tort
Trading with the enemy
Transcript (law)
Transfer (patent)
Transit passage
Transitional phrase
Travaux préparatoires
Treble damages
Triadic patent
Trier of fact
True name (legal)
Ultimate fact
Ultrahazardous activity
Ulysses pact
Uncodified constitution
Undisclosed principal
Unenforced law
Unfair burden
Unfair business practices
Unindicted co-conspirator
Unlawful assembly
Unregistered trade mark
Useful art
Vacated judgment
Value (law)
Verbal contract
Verbal injury
Void contract
Void marriage
V cont.
Voidable marriage
Voluntary commitment
Waiting period
W cont.
Will contract
Witness tampering
Writ of execution

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