A Concise Legal Glossary for You !

Legal Glossary

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  • Absolute privilege
    A defence which can be used in a case of defamation if the statement from which the defamation arose was:
  • Abuse of process
    Using a legal right or process in a way that is unfair to others. For example, one party to a
  • Accessory
    A person who aids or contributes in the commission of a crime.
  • Accomplice
    One who knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally unites with the principal offender in the commission of a crime. A partner in
  • Acknowledgement
    Admitting that someone has a claim or admitting that a debt exists.
  • Acquittal
    The court’s decision that a person is innocent of the crime they were charged with.
  • Adjournment
    Postponement of a court hearing.
  • Administrator
    (1) Someone who takes legal responsibility for the possessions of a person who has died without making a will or
  • Admission
    One side in a case agreeing that something the other side has alleged is true; Voluntary acknowledgment of the existence
  • Appeal
    “A proceeding to have a case examined by a higher court to see if a lower court’s decision was made
  • Arbitration
    “Settling a dispute by using a referee”; The referral of a dispute to an impartial third person chosen by the
  • Attestation
    The act of witnessing an instrument in writing at the request of the party making the instrument and signing it
  • Bail
    Money or other security (such as a bail bond) provided to the court to temporarily allow a person’s release from
  • Bail bond
    “A form signed by a person released on bail to secure his or her presence at the trial. This obligation
  • Bailment
    “Transferring possession of goods from the owner to someone else” In bailment the ownership of the goods is not transferred.
  • Beyond reasonable doubt
    The degree of certainty required for a juror to legally find a criminal defendant guilty. An accused person is entitled
  • Bill of lading
    A document recording the goods a ship carries and the terms the goods are carried under.
  • Burden of proof
    The obligation of a party to establish by evidence a requisite degree of belief concerning a fact in the mind
  • Cause of action
    A claim and/orthe grounds on which a legal action may be brought (e.g. property damage, personal injury, goods sold and
  • Certiorari
    An order made by a higher court that cancels the legal effect of a decision that was incorrectly made by a
  • Charge
    (1) A statement giving the details of a crime an accused person is claimed to have committed. (2) A debt
  • Code
    A collection, compendium, or revision of laws, rules, and regulations enacted by legislative authority.
  • Confession
    Voluntary statement made by one who is a defendant in a criminal trial, which, if true, discloses his or her
  • Constructive notice
    “Presuming something is known” – The law sometimes presumes that a person knows something even though they do not.
  • Contract
    A legally enforceable agreement between two or more persons or parties (oral or written).
  • Creditors’ voluntary winding up
    If a company is insolvent (cannot pay its debts when they are due for payment) the members can pass a
  • Cross-examination
    Questioning by a party or his attorney of an adverse party or a witness called by an adverse party; opposite
  • Curfew
    A court ordering someone to stay at a named place at stated times of the day.
  • Damages
    Monetary compensation for wrong or injury caused by the violation of a legal right. (a) Compensatory damages-Reimbursement for actual loss
  • Decree
    A decision or order of the court – a final decree is one which fully and finally disposes of the
  • Defamation
    Making a statement, either orally or in writing, which damages someone’s reputation.
  • Defence
    (1) A defendant’s response to the legal claims made against them in court by a prosecutor or plaintiff. (2) A
  • Discharge
    Release from: • a commitment such as a debt; • a contract because it has finished or the parties agree
  • Disclaimer
    To give up a claim or a right or refuse to take over an onerous (having more obligations than advantages)
  • Dismissal
    Termination of a proceeding for a procedure defect or failure to prove a claim.
  • Easement
    Right held by one person to use the land of another for a specified purpose, such as a right of way.
  • Equity
    (1) Fairness and justice. (2) A right to property that the court will recognise even though it does not amount
  • Estoppel
    A rule of law that a person cannot deny something they previously said, if someone else acted on what was
  • Examination in chief
    “Questioning own witness in court”
  • Executor
    The person named in a will as the one who must ensure that the deceased person’s intentions, as stated in
  • Foreclosure
    A legal proceeding that bars or extinguishes a right, such as a mortgagor lien. Procedure by which mortgaged property is
  • Hearing
    A preliminary examination where testimony is given and evidence presented for the purpose of determining an issue of fact and
  • Hearsay evidence
    Statements about something that has not been seen or heard by the witness, but has been told to them by
  • Indemnity
    To guarantee against any loss which another might suffer.
  • Injunction
    A court order that directs a person to do, or not to do, a specific act. For example, a court can
  • Inquest
    A proceeding which usually is a limited non-jury trial for the purpose of fixing the amount of damages where the
  • Inquisitorial system
    A kind of legal system where judges can ask witnesses questions and make their own investigations about the facts in
  • Interim order
    A temporary court order that stays in place only until a court can make a decision on the issue at
  • Interlocutory
    Provisional; not final. An interlocutory order or an interlocutory appeal concerns only a part of the issues raised in a
  • Interpleader
    Action by which one having possession of an article or fund claimed by two parties may compel them to litigate
  • Interrogatories
    Written questions asked by one party in a lawsuit for which the opposing party must provide written answers.
  • Investigation
    A legal inquiry to discover and collect facts concerning a certain matter.
  • Issue
    The disputed point in a disagreement between parties in a lawsuit.  
  • Joint and several liability
    Two or more people responsible for repaying a debt. They are each responsible individually to repay all the debt as
  • Judgment
    The final decision of the court resolving the dispute; an opinion; an award. It is a determination of the rights of
  • Judicial Review
    The authority of a court to review the official actions of other branches of government. Also, the authority to declare
  • Jurisdiction
    1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. 2) The geographic area over which the
  • Lease
    A contract between the owner of a property and a tenant, giving the tenant sole use of the property for
  • Letter of demand
    A letter, usually written by a lawyer for their client, telling the person who receives it that unless they do
  • Letters of administration
    A document that gives a person authority to manage the property of a person who has died without making a
  • Libel
    Published words or pictures that falsely and maliciously harm the reputation of a person.
  • Lien
    The right to keep possession of something owned by someone who owes a debt, until the debt has been settled.
  • Mandamus
    A writ issued by a court ordering a public official to perform an act.
  • Mediation
    A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties bring their dispute to a neutral third party, who helps
  • Mortgage
    “Using property as security for a debt”; “A debt on real estate or goods as security for the repayment of
  • Mortgagee
    “The lender of the money which is secured by a mortgage”
  • Mortgagor
    The person who borrows the money to buy a property. The lending is secured with a mortgage of the property.
  • Notice
    Formal notification to the party that has been sued in a civil case of the fact that the lawsuit has
  • oath
    Written or oral pledge by a witness to speak the truth; Swearing the truth of a statement.
  • Pleadings
    The written statements of fact and law filed by the parties to a lawsuit. Statements of the facts prepared by
  • Possessory title
    “Gaining title through possession” – If you have possession of something for a long time you may gain title to
  • Power of attorney
    A document which gives power to the person appointed by it to act for the person who signed the document.
  • Pre-emption
    The right to buy property before others are given the chance to buy.
  • Presumption of innocence
    A hallowed principle of criminal law that a person is innocent of a crime until proven guilty. The government has
  • Privileged Communications
    Confidential communications to certain persons that are protected by law against any disclosure, including forced disclosure in legal proceedings. Communications
  • Probate
    Acceptance by a court that a deceased person’s will is valid and was the last will they made before they
  • Prohibition
    An order made by the Supreme Court or the High Court prohibiting a body from acting outside its authority.
  • Prosecutor
    A trial lawyer representing the government in a criminal case and the interests of the state in civil matters. In
  • Redemption
    Paying off all the money borrowed under an agreement.
  • Remainder
    An interest which starts when a previous interest finishes. When more than one person has been left an interest in
  • Remand
    To send a case back from an appellate court to the lower court from which it came, for further proceedings.
  • Security
    “Something of value pledged to a bank by a borrower” – If the borrower fails to repay the debt, the bank
  • Slander
    False and defamatory spoken words tending to harm another’s reputation, community standing, office, trade, business, or means of livelihood.
  • Summons
    “A formal document issued by a court which says someone must appear in court on the date stated in the
  • Surety
    A person who promises a court that an accused person released on bail will attend court on a hearing date.
  • Tort
    A civil injury or wrong committed on the person or property of another. A tort is an infringement on the
  • Trial
    A judicial examination and determination of issues between parties before a court that has jurisdiction.
  • Tribunal
    • A body set up to act like a court, but outside the normal court system; • A forum to
  • Trust
    A type of property ownership where one person, the trustee, holds property for the benefit of someone else, the beneficiary.
  • Verdict
    “The opinion of a jury or a judge on the factual issues of a case”; “the judge’s decision at the
  • Warrant
    • A certificate which gives the person holding it the right to buy shares at a given price; • A
  • Will
    A legal declaration that disposes of a person’s property when that person dies.
  • Writ
    “A document in a civil proceeding that a plaintiff has issued to commence a court action.” “An order issued by

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