Glossary of Legal Terms – L

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From “Lapsed gift” to “Loose-leaf services”

Lapsed gift
A gift made in a will to a person who has died prior to the will-makers death.

Larceny
Obtaining property by fraud or deceit.

Law
The combination of those rules and principles of conduct promulgated by legislative authority, derived from court decisions and established by local custom.

Law Blank
A printed legal form available for preparing documents.

Law Clerk
In the United States, usually a law school student employed by a law firm to do research and other tasks. In the courts, a lawyer (or law school student) employed to do legal research.

Lawsuit
An action or proceeding in a civil court; term used for a suit or action between two private parties in a court of law.

Leading question
A question that suggests the answer desired of the witness. A party generally may not ask one’s own witness leading questions. Leading questions may be asked only of hostile witnesses and on cross-examination.

Legal aid
Professional legal services available usually to persons or organizations unable to afford such services.

Legal process
A formal paper that is legally valid; something issuing from the court, usually a command such as a writ or mandate.

Legal texts
Books that cover specific areas of the law, usually dealing with a single topic.

Legislation
The act of giving or enacting laws; the power to make laws via legislation in contrast to court-made laws.

Legitimate
That which is legal, lawful, recognized by law or according to law.

Leniency
Recommendation for a sentence less than the maximum allowed.

Letters of Administration
Legal document issued by a court that shows an administrator’s legal right to take control of assets in the deceased person’s name.

Letters Testamentary
Legal document issued by a court that shows an executor’s legal right to take control of assets in the deceased person’s name.

Liable
Legally responsible.

Libel
Published defamation which tends to injure a person’s reputation.

Licensing boards
State agencies created to regulate the issuance of licenses, i.e., to contractors, cosmetologists, realtors, etc.

Lien
An encumbrance or legal burden upon property.

Limited Jurisdiction
Refers to courts that are limited in the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear. For example, traffic violations generally are heard by limited jurisdiction courts.

Lis pendens
A pending suit.

Litigant
A party to a lawsuit.

Litigation
A lawsuit; a legal action, including all proceedings therein.

Living trust
A trust set up and in effect during the lifetime of the grantor. (Also called inter vivos trust.)

Loose-leaf services
Loose-leaf replacement pages provided by a publisher in areas of the law where changes occur at a rapid rate.

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