Glossary of Legal Terms
A - B
- C - D
- E - F
- G - H
- I - J
- K - L
- M - N
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- S - T
- U - V
- W - Z
“Abatement of action” to “Attorney-in-fact”
Abatement of action
A suit which has been quashed and ended.
Abstract of record
A short, abbreviated form of the case as found in the record.
Abstract of title
A chronological summary of all official records and recorded
documents affecting the title to a parcel of real property.
The taking and receiving of anything in good faith with
the intention of retaining it.
A person who assists in the commission of a crime, either
before or after the fact.
1. A partner in a crime. 2. A person who knowingly and voluntarily
participates with another in a criminal activity.
A satisfaction agreed upon between the parties in a lawsuit
which bars subsequent actions on the claim.
Accord and satisfaction
A method of discharging a claim upon agreement by the parties
to give and accept something in settlement of the claim.
The increase or accumulation of land by natural causes,
as out of a lake or river.
The name for the defendant in a criminal case.
A formal declaration before an authorized official by the
person who executed an instrument that it is his free act
and deed; the certificate of the official on such instrument
attesting that it was so acknowledged.
The legal certification of the innocence of a person who
has been charged with a crime, setting the person free from
a charge of guilty by a finding of not guilty.
A release, absolution, or discharge of an obligation or
liability. In criminal law the finding of not guilty.
Cause, suit, or controversy disputed or contested before
a court of justice.
Action in personam
An action against the person, founded on a personal liability.
In contrast to action in rem, an action for the recovery
of a specific object, usually an item of personal property
such as an automobile.
Action in rem
Proceeding "against the thing" as compared to
personal actions (in personam). Usually a proceeding where
property is involved.
An increase by a judge in the amount of damages awarded
by a jury.
Also, procedural law. That body of law which governs the
process of protecting the rights under substantive law.
Giving or pronouncing a judgment or decree. Also the judgment
Agencies created by the legislative branch of government
to administer laws pertaining to specific areas such as
taxes, transportation, and labor.
1. One who administers the estate of a person who dies without
a will. 2. A court official.
Also, maritime law. That body of law relating to ships,
shipping, marine commerce and navigation, transportation
of persons or property by sea, etc.
Evidence that can be legally and properly introduced in
a civil or criminal trial.
A statement tending to establish the guilt or liability
of the person making the statement.
To advise or caution. For example the court may caution
or admonish counsel for wrong practices.
Paperback pamphlets published by law book publishers weekly
or monthly which contain reporter cases, including correct
volume number and page number. When there are sufficient
cases, they are replaced by a bound volume.
One having opposing parties such as a plaintiff and a defendant.
Individual lawsuit(s) brought within a bankruptcy proceeding.
The system of trial practice in the United States and some
other countries in which each of the opposing, or adversary,
parties has the opportunity to present and establish opposing
contentions before the court.
Method of acquiring real property under certain conditions
by possession for a statutory period.
The person who makes and subscribes an affidavit.
A voluntary, written, or printed declaration of facts, confirmed
by oath of the party making it before a person with authority
to administer the oath.
A solemn and formal declaration that an affidavit is true.
This is substituted for an oath in certain cases.
A defense raised in a responsive pleading (answer) relating
a new matter as a defense to the complaint; affirmative
defenses might include contributory negligence or estopped
in civil actions; in criminal cases insanity, duress, or
self-defense might be used.
In the practice of appellate courts, the word means that
the decision of the trial court is correct.
An attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another or
purposely, knowingly or recklessly causing such injury,
or an attempt to cause or purposely or knowingly cause bodily
injury to another with a deadly weapon.
The unlawful use of force against another with unusual or
serious consequences such as the use of a dangerous weapon.
Aid and Abet
To actively, knowingly, or intentionally assist another
person in the commission or attempted commission of a crime.
A defense claim that the accused was somewhere else at the
time a crime was committed.
A foreign-born person who has not qualified as a citizen
of the country.
A statement of the issues in a written document (a pleading)
which a person is prepared to prove in court.
Changing or making different.
Alternative dispute resolution
Settling a dispute without a full, formal trial. Methods
include mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and settlement,
American Bar Association
A national association of lawyers whose primary purpose
is improvement of lawyers and the administration of justice.
American Law Reports
A publication which reports cases from all United States
jurisdictions by subject matter.
A friend of the court; a nonparty who interposes, with the
permission of the court, and volunteers information upon
some matter before the court.
A proceeding which is auxiliary or subordinate to another
proceeding. In probate, a proceeding in a state where a
decedent owned property but was not domiciled.
Remarks, notes, case summaries, or commentaries following
statutes which describe interpretations of the statute.
A formal, written statement by the defendant in a lawsuit
which answers each allegation contained in the complaint.
Answers to Interrogatories
A formal written statement by a party to a lawsuit which
answers each question or interrogatory propounded by the
other party. These answers must be acknowledged before a
notary public or other person authorized to take acknowledgments.
Federal and state statutes to protect trade and commerce
from unlawful restraints, price discriminations, price fixing,
A proceeding brought to a higher court to review a lower
A guaranty by the appealing party insuring that court costs
will be paid.
The act of coming into court as a party to a suit either
in person or through an attorney.
The party appealing a decision or judgment.
A court having jurisdiction to hear appeals and review a
trial court's procedure.
The party against whom an appeal is taken.
Supplementary materials added to the end of a document.
The hearing of a dispute by an impartial third person or
persons (chosen by the parties), whose award the parties
agree to accept.
A private, disinterested person chosen by the parties in
arbitration to hear evidence concerning the dispute and
to make an award based on the evidence.
The hearing at which the accused is brought before the court
to plead to the criminal charge in the indictment. He may
plead "guilty," "not guilty," or where
permitted "nolo contendere."
To take into custody by legal authority.
Threat to inflict injury with an apparent ability to do
so. Also, any intentional display of force that would give
the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm.
The transfer to another person of any property, real or
Assumption of risk
A doctrine under which a person may not recover for an injury
received when he has voluntarily exposed himself to a known
The time in a lawsuit when the complaining party has stated
their claim and the other side has responded with a denial
and the matter is ready to be tried.
Taking a person's property to satisfy a court-ordered debt.
An endeavor or effort to do an act or accomplish a crime,
carries beyond preparation, but lacking execution.
Attorney of record
The principal attorney in a lawsuit, who signs all formal
documents relating to the suit.
An advocate, counsel, or official agent employed in preparing,
managing, and trying cases in the courts.
A private person (who is not necessarily a lawyer) authorized
by another to act in his or her place, either for some particular
purpose, as to do a specific act, or for the transaction
of business in general, not of legal character. This authority
is conferred by an instrument in writing, called a "letter
of attorney," or more commonly "power of attorney."