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Rohitashw Kajlas Legal Glossary

Ab absurdo From absurdity, absurd; based on absurdity; used to describe an assertion that leads to an absurdity. A pattern or set of suggested legal reasoning or interpretation that leads to an unacceptable conclusion because it results in a conclusion that is patently absurd. The rules of statutory interpretation reject any proposed interpretation that would lead to an ab absurdo result.

Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes wrote:

"Where the language of a statute, in its ordinary meaning and grammatical construction, leads to a manifest contradiction of the apparent purpose of the enactment, or to some inconvenience or absurdity which can hardly have been intended, a construction may be put upon it which modifies the meaning of the words and even the structure of the sentence. This may be done by departing from the rules of grammar, by giving an unusual meaning to particular words, or by rejecting them altogether, on the ground that the legislature could not possibly have intended what its words signify, and that the modifications made are mere corrections of careless language and really give the true meaning." An example of an ab absurdo interpretation of a statute or of a contract would be where the conclusion empties the phrase under scrutiny of no effect whatsoever. Neither the legislature nor persons who sign contracts can intend that a phrase of their contract have no effect whatsoever and so therefore, such an interpretation would be ab absurdo.

Ab aeterno From eternity, eternally.

Abate To through down, to beat down, destroy, quash. To do away with or nullify or lesson or diminish.


A reduction in some amount that is owed, usually granted by the person to whom the debt is owed. For example, a landlord might grant an abatement in rent. In estate law, the word may refer more specifically to a situation where property identified in a will cannot be given to the beneficiary because it had to be sold to pay off the deceased debts. Debts are paid before gifts made in wills are distributed and where a specific gift has to be sold to pay off a debt, it is said to "abate" (compare with "ademption").

Abbacinare A barbaric form of corporal punishment meted out in the middle ages where persons would be permanently blinded by the pressing of hot irons to the open eyes. .

Abduction To carry a person off by force; to kidnap; to take a child from its parents or a wife from her home by force. To take someone away from a place without that person's consent or by fraud.

Abet To encourage, incite, or set another on to commit a crime. This word is usually applied to aiding in the commission of a crime. To abet another to commit a murder is to command, procure, counsel, encourage, induce, or assist. The act of encouraging or inciting another to do a certain thing, such as a crime. For example, many countries will equally punish a person who aids or abets another to commit a crime.

Abetment Act of encouraging, inciting or aiding another in commission of the crime.

Ab extra Latin term means from outside, extra, beyond, without, from without. It is a legal Latin term, approximately translating to "from without" or "from outside." Concerning a case, a person may have received some funding from a 3rd party. This funding may have been considered Ab extra.

Ab initio Latin: ab initio means from the beginning. In legal arena, void means of no legal effect. An action, document or transaction which is void is of no legal effect whatsoever: an absolute nullity - the law treats it as if it had never existed or happened. The term "void ab initio", which means "to be treated as invalid from the outset", comes from adding the Latin phrase "ab initio" as a qualifier. For example, in many jurisdictions where a person signs a contract under duress, that contract is treated as being "void ab initio". A proposition in law that a court's jurisdiction, a certain document which purports to affect legal rights, or an act which purports to affect legal rights, is or was null and void from the start, from its beginning, because of some vitiating element. Typically, documents or acts which are void ab initio cannot be fixed and where a jurisdiction, a document or an act is so declared at law to be void ab initio, the parties are returned to their respective positions at the beginning of the event. "Void ab initio" is often contrasted with "voidable", such documents which become void only as of the date of the judicial declaration to this effect and not, as with void ab initio, as if they never existed. An insurer facing a claim from an insured who had deceived the insurer on a material fact, would claim that the insurance contract was void ab initio; that it was null and void from the beginning and that since there was no legally enforceable contract, the insurer ought not to have to pay There is also a phrase in initio which means in the beginning. The other use of ab initio is found in the sense of thoroughly, a rough equivalent of from first to last.

Ab intra From within.

Abitio Departure; going away.

Abjure To renounce under oath. To disclaim or reject a claim or a right, such as citizenship, in a formal way, as in a sworn document.


To sneak or run away; to hide or conceal oneself, especially to avoid litigation or process.

Absque Without

Acceleration clause A clause in a contract that states that if a payment is missed, or some other default occurs (such as the debtor becoming insolvent), then the contract is fully due immediately. This is a typical clause in a loan contract; miss one payment and the agreement to pay at regular intervals is voided and the entire amount becomes due and payable immediately.

Acceptance One of three requisites to a valid contract under common law (the other two being an offer and consideration). A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties which starts with an offer from one person but which does not become a contract until the other party signifies an unequivocal willingness to accept the terms of that offer. The moment of acceptance is the moment from which a contract is said to exist, and not before. Acceptance need not always be direct and can, in certain circumstances, be implied by conduct (see acquiescence below).

Accord and Satisfaction A term of contract law by which one party, having complied with its obligation under a contract, accepts 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 obligation. This discharges the contract. The definition cited by lawyers is usually that found in British Russian Gazette & Trade Outlook Ltd. v. Associated Newspapers Ltd. (1933) 2 K.B. 616: "Accord and satisfaction is the purchase of a release from an obligation arising under contract or tort by means of any valuable consideration, not being the actual performance of the obligation itself. The accord is the agreement by which the obligation is discharged. The satisfaction is the consideration which makes the agreement operative."


The imperceptible and gradual addition to land by the slow action of water. Heavy rain, river or ocean action would have this effect by either washing up sand or soil or by a permanent retreat of the high water mark. The washing up of soil is often called avulsion although the latter term is but a variety of accretion.

Acquiescence Action or inaction which binds a person legally even though it was not intended as such. For example, action which is not intended as a direct acceptance of a contract will nevertheless stand as such as it implies recognition of the terms of the contract. For example, if I display a basket of fruit in a marketplace and you come by, inspect an apple and then bite into it, you have acquiesced to the contract of sale of that apple. Acquiescence also refers to allowing too much time to pass since you had knowledge of an event which may have allowed you to have legal recourse against another, implying that you waive your rights to that legal recourse.

Act A bill which has passed through the various legislative steps required for it and which has become law, as in "an Act of the Indian Parliament or state legislature." Synonymous to statute, legislation or law.

Act in pais Act done out of court. A thing done out of court (anciently, in the country), and not a matter of record.

Actio bonae fidei Honest act, Action of good faith. An action in Roman law giving great power to the trial judge to take all matters of good faith, conscience, and equity into consideration of the whole case contrasted with

actio stricti juris

Act of God An event which is caused solely by the effect of nature or natural causes and without any interference by humans whatsoever. Insurance contracts often exclude "acts of God" from the list of insurable occurrences as a means to waive their obligations for

damage caused by hurricanes, floods or earthquakes, all examples of "acts of God".

Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea Literally means the act it self does not constitute guilt unless done with a guilty intent. There should be a criminal intention just in order to constitute a crime. The maxim contains two parts one is actus reus i.e. "guilty act" which, when proved beyond a reasonable doubt in combination with the mens rea, "guilty mind", produces criminal liability in the common law-based criminal law jurisdictions of Indian subcontinent, England, Ireland and the United States. In the United States, some crimes also require proof of an attendant circumstance. The guilty act or the deed of crime; the objective act which defines or constitutes a crime; e.g., the killing of another is the actus reus of murder or manslaughter. More properly, the physical act that has been declared a crime. In murder actus reus is homicide; in burglary, it is breaking in to anothers home; in check forgery, it is presenting the forged check for payment. Concepts of the terms actus reus and mens rea developed in English Law, are derived from the principle stated by Edward Coke, namely, actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, which means: "an act does not make a person guilty unless (their) mind is also guilty"; hence, the general test of guilt is one that requires proof of fault, culpability or blameworthiness both in behaviour and mind.

Ad aeque Latin: refers to the equally; in the like manner, equally, justly, fairly; in same, like manner, degree, just as; likewise, also

Ad captandum Latin: an argument that appeals to the mobin other words something that will keep the noisy majority happy but might not be the best course of action. A phrase used adjectively sometimes of meretricious attempts to catch or win popular favour.

Ad certum diem Latin: refers on the fixed day.

Ad curiam Latin: in the court, before the court or to the Court.

Ad damnum Latin: refers to the parts or sections of a petition that speaks to the damages that were suffered and claimed by the plaintiff. The ad damnum part of a petition will usually suggest an amount in dollars that the plaintiff asks the court to award.

Ademption When property identified in a will cannot be given to the beneficiary because it no longer belonged to the deceased at the time of death. For example, the particular gift may have been destroyed, sold or given away between the time of the will and the time of death. Compare this with "abatement".

Addendum An attachment to a written document. For example, affidavits may be addendums to a petition as a petition may be an addendum to a writ.

Additure Latin: An increase by the court in the amount of damages awarded by the subordinate court, which is done with the defendants consent for the plaintiffs agreeing not to seek a new trial.

Adhesion contract A fine-print consumer form contract which is generally given to consumers at point-of-sale, with no opportunity for negotiation as to it's terms, and which, typically, sets out the terms and conditions of the sale, usually to the advantage of the seller.

Ad hoc Latin: for this purpose; for a specific purpose. An ad hoc committee, for example, is created with a unique and specific purpose or task and once it has studied and reports on the matter, it stands disbanded (compare with standing committee).

Ad infinitum

Latin: forever; without limit; indefinitely or to infinity. Without or seemingly without limit; "talked on and on ad infinitum, having no limit.

Ad libitum Latin: for "at one's pleasure"; or at the sweet will of someone it is often shortened to "ad lib" (as an adjective or adverb) or "ad-lib" (as a verb or noun). The roughly synonymous phrase a bene placito ("at [one's] good pleasure") is less common.

Ad litem Latin: for the suit. A person appointed only for the purposes of prosecuting or defending an action on behalf of another such as a child or mentally-challenged person. Also called a guardian ad litem.

Administrative Law The area of law dealing with governmental agencies. Law created by administrative agencies by way of rules, regulations, orders and decisions.

Administrative procedure Method by which support orders are made and enforced by an executive agency rather than by courts and judges.

Administrative tribunal Hybrid adjudicating authorities which straddle the line between government and the courts. Between routine government policy decision-making bodies and the traditional court forums lies a hybrid, sometimes called a "tribunal" or "administrative tribunal" and not necessarily presided by judges. These operate as a government policy-making body at times but also exercise a licensing, certifying, approval or other adjudication authority which is "quasi-judicial" because it directly affects the legal rights of a person. Administrative tribunals are often referred to as "Commission", "Authority" or "Board."



A person who administers the estate of a person deceased. The administrator is appointed by a court and is the person who would then have power to deal with the debts and assets of a person who died intestate. Female administrators are called "administratrix." An administrator is a personal representative.

Admiralty Admiralty /Maritime Law The area of law that relates to the high seas and other navigable waters, which is administered by the admiralty courts. These laws deal with the territory in water, domestic and international alike.

Adoption Law The area of law that deals with the relationship of parent to child of another person, usually a minor, by official legal action.

Ad quod damnum Ad quod damnum or ad damnum is a Latin phrase meaning "According to the harm" or "appropriate to the harm." It is used in tort law as a measure of damage inflicted, and implying a remedy, if one exists, ought to correspond specifically and only to the damage suffered. It is also used in pleading, as the statement of the plaintiff's money loss or damages claimed.

Adultery Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not their married spouse. In most countries, this is a legal ground for divorce. The person who seduces another's spouse is known as the "adulterer." In old English law, this was also known as criminal conversation.

Ad valorem According to value; used in taxation to describe a tax assessed according to the value of the item or property, as in property taxes or sales taxes.

Adverse possession The possession of land, without legal title, for a period of time sufficient to become recognized as legal owner. The more common


word for this is "squatters." Each state has its own period of time after which a squatter can acquire legal title. Some states prohibit title by mere prescription or possession.

AFT Acronym for Armed Forces Tribunal constituted under the Indian Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 to deal with the matters relating to the service conditions and punishments under the Armed forces services.

Affidavit A statement which before being signed, the person signing takes an oath that the contents are, to the best of their knowledge, true. It is also signed by a notary or some other judicial officer that can administer oaths, to the effect that the person signing the affidavit was under oath when doing so. These documents carry great weight in Courts to the extent that judges frequently accept an affidavit instead of the testimony of the witness.

A fortiori All the more, more effective; from a stronger reason, with greater reason, proceedings from the most persuasive reasoning; in logic, the inference that something must be true if it is encompassed within another thing that is manifestly or demonstrably true and compelling.

Agent A person who has received the power to act on behalf of another, binding that other person as if he or she were themselves making the decisions. The person who is being represented by the agent is referred to as the "principal."

Aggravated damages Special and highly exceptional damages awarded by a court where the circumstances of the tortious conduct have been particularly humiliating or malicious towards the plaintiff/victim.

Agriculture Law


The area of law focusing on issues relating to the practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and/or the preparation and marketing of the resulting products.

Aid to Families with Dependent Children Assistance payments made on behalf of children who dont have the financial support of one of their parents by reason of death, disability, or continued absence from the home; known in many States as ADC (Aid to Dependent Children)

Alibi Alibi (Elsewhere) Alibi comes from Latin alius which means other. It has been used as noun, as adverb and as verb. As noun it is used as a plea in defence to a criminal prosecution to the effect that at the time of the crime charged the accused was not at the place of crime but was at another place, and therefore, could not have committed the crime charged. An explanation or excuse offered to avert blame or guilt by an accused who claims that he was not present at the time or place alleged, or that other circumstances prove his innocence.

Alienate To sell or give completely and without reserve; to transfer title to somebody else. A voluntary conveyance of property, especially real property.

Alimony An amount given to one spouse to another while they are separated. Historically, the word "alimony" referred to monies paid while spouses were legally separated but stilled wedlocked. Where they were divorced, the monies payable were then referred to as "maintenance" but this distinction is now in disuse.

Alieunde Latin: From another source; from elsewhere; from outside. Alieunde rule refers to the doctrine that a verdict may not be impeached by evidence offered by a juror unless the foundation for introducing the evidence is laid first by competent.



A military treaty between two or more states, providing for a mutually-planned offensive, or for assistance in the case of attack on any member.

Alloca Allocatur It is allowed; court document confirming payment of cost by one party to the other. Formerly used to describe the allowance at the end of a trial of costs and damages, confirmed in a writ or certificate. Also, any order of a court allowing or granting a partys request or application, as in allowing a writ of certiorari.

Allodial Free, not holden of any lord or superior; owned without obligation of vassalage or fealty; the opposite of feudal. A kind of land ownership that is unfettered, outright and absolute. It is the opposite of the feudal system and supposes no obligation to another (i.e. a lord).

Allonge A piece of paper which has been attached to a contract, a check or any promissory note, on which to add signatures because there is not enough room on the main document.

Alma mater (Benign mother) this Latin word literally mean bountiful mother. It also refers to the school, college and university that some one used to attend.

Alter ego Intimate friend; bosom friend; another self.

Alternative dispute resolution Also known as "ADR"; methods by which legal conflicts and disputes are resolved privately and other than through litigation in the public courts, usually through one of two forms: mediation or arbitration. It typically involves a process much less formal than the traditional court process and includes the appointment of a third-party to preside over a hearing between the parties. The advantages of ADR are speed and money: it costs less and is quicker than court


litigation. ADR forums are also private. The disadvantage is that it often involves compromise.

Alternatives to Bankruptcy The area of law that focuses on debtor assistance other than Bankruptcy (see bankruptcy).

Amalgamation The merging of two things together to form one such as the amalgamation of different companies to form a single company.

Ambassador A citizen that has been officially asked by their country to live in another country in order to legally represent it. For example, the USA has sent ambassadors to live, and represent the USA, in almost all other countries.

Ambulatory Something which is not cast in stone; which can be changed or revoked, such as a will.

Amend To change, to revise, usually to the wording of a written document such as legislation.

Amicus curiae Latin: friend of the court. Refers more specifically to persons asking for permission to intervene in a case in which they are neither plaintiff or defendant, usually to present their point of view (or that of their organization) in a case which has the potential of setting a legal precedent in their area of activity. This is common, for example, in civil rights cases and, in some instances, can only be done with the permission of the parties or the court.

Amortise To pay off or extinguish a debt overtime, usually in fixed installments; used most often with respect to mortgages. Amortisation is reduction


of debt by periodic charges to assets or liabilities, such as payments on mortgages.

Animus contrahendi Latin: an intention to contract.

Animus possidendi Latin: the mind of the possessor.

Annulment To make void; to cancel an event or judicial proceeding both retroactively and for the future. Where, for example, a marriage is annulled, it is struck from all records and stands as having never transpired in law. This differs from a divorce which merely cancels a valid marriage only from the date of the divorce. A marriage annulled stands, in law, as if never performed.

Antedate To date back; retroactively. To date a document to a time before it was written.

Antenuptial agreement An agreement entered into by two people who intend to marry each other, which sets forth the rights of each person in the property of the other in the event of divorce or death. Generally, the entering in to marriage constitutes sufficient consideration to make a prenuptial agreement enforceable. Such an agreement is also termed asprenuptial agreement. An "Antenuptial agreement" is one which is signed before marriage. An antenuptial gift is a gift given by one spouse to the other before marriage.

AntiAnti-trust (USA)"Anti-trust" legislation is designed to prevent businesses from price-setting or other secret collaboration which circumvents the natural forces of a free market economy and gives those engaging in the anti-trust conduct, a covert competitive edge. Also known as "anti-combines" or "competition" legislation.


Antitrust & Trade Regulation The area of law that protects trade and commerce from unlawful restraints and monopolies or unfair business practices.

A posteriori Argument from the consequence to the antecedent. Reaching a conclusion from known facts. A conclusion based on observed or known circumstances; reasoning backward from effect to cause.

Apostille law Apostille is a French word, Apostille certificate is used to legalise a document for use in another country a document means additional authentication required for international acceptance of notarized documents including (but not limited to) adoption papers, affidavits, birth certificates, contracts, death certificates, deeds, diplomas and degrees, divorce decrees, incorporation papers, marriage certificates, patent applications, powers of attorney, and school transcripts. Aposille refers to a means of authenticating a signature on a document that is recognized by an international body. The country of destination determines whether the authentication is an apostille or certification. It is the legalization of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. India has acceded to Hague Convention 1961 and as on 29 Aug 2007, apostille certificates is issued in India by Ministry of External affairs located at Patiala House, New Delhi as a nodal department to work for consular legalisation and apostille of documents for use in India and abroad. Apostilles can be obtained on birth/death certificates, marriage certificate, affidavits, power of attorney, educational testimonials and credentials like degree, diploma, matriculation and secondary level certificates. Before getting apostille all the concerned documents must be authenticated by regional offices located in every state @ Rs. 50/= per page. Apostille is acceptable in 98 member-countries of the Convention - please see list below - (also visit HCCH website: For apostille certification the following supporting documents are to be submitted along with the original document. (i) A Photo copy of the document to be attested and (ii) A Photocopy of the Passport


whose document required to be legalized only on (iii) Only original documents are legalized and not on photo copies. Commercial Documents are to be pre-authenticated by the respective Chambers of Commerce before these can be attested by the Ministry of External Affairs. Under the Hague Convention, signatory countries have agreed to recognize public documents issued by other signatory countries if those public documents are authenticated by the attachment of an internationally recognized form of authentication known as an "apostille." The apostille ensures that public documents issued in one signatory country will be recognized as valid in another signatory country. For example, in New York, an apostille issued by the New York State Secretary of State is a one page document embossed with the Great Seal of the State of New York. The apostille includes the facsimile signature of the individual issuing the certificate.

Appeal A request to a higher court to review and revise the decision of a lover court. On appeal, no new evidence is introduced; the higher court is limited to considering whether the lower court erred on a question of law or gave a decision plainly contrary to the evidence presented during trial. Unless special permission is granted by the higher court to hear an interlocutory appeal, an appeal can not be made until the lower court renders a final judgement.

Appellate Law The area of law relating to appeals to higher courts of law.

Apportionment The division and distribution of something into proportionate parts; to each according to their share. For example, if a court ordered apportionment of a contract, the party would be required to perform only to an extent equal to the performance of the other side.



Something that, although detached, stands as part of another thing. An attachment or appendage to something else. Used often in a real estate context where an "appurtenance" may be, for example, a right-of-way over water, which, although physically detached, is part of the legal rights of the owner of another property.

A priori Deductive; from earlier i.e. original or antecedent; argument from antecedent; argument from antecedent to the consequent; not empirical. From what goes before; the process of deducing facts or particulars that follows logically from general principles or accepted truths. To reason that because certain facts are demonstrably true, others must follow.

Arbitration The process of resolving a dispute or a grievance outside of the court system by presenting it to an impartial third party or panel for a decision that may or may not be binding (see also mediation and alternative dispute resolution).

Arraignment In USA criminal law, the formal appearance of an accused person to hear, and to receive a copy of, the charge against him or her, in the presence of a judge, and to then enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. The arraignment is the final preparatory step before the criminal trial.

Arrearages Unpaid child support for past periods owed by a parent who is obligated to pay.

Arrears A debt that is not paid on the due date adds up and accumulates as "arrears". For example, if you do not pay your rent, the debt still exists and is referred to as "arrears". The same word is used to describe child or spousal maintenance or support which is not paid by the due date.



Some countries define "arson" as the intentional setting of a fire to a building in which people live; others include as "arson" the intentionally setting of a fire to any building. In either case, this is a very serious crime and is punishable by a long jail sentence.

Assault The touching of another person with an intent to harm, without that person's consent.

Assign To give, to transfer responsibility, to another. The assignee (sometimes also called "assigns") is the person who receives the right or property being given and the assignor is the person giving.

Assignment of Support Rights A person receiving public assistance agrees to turn over to the State any right to child support, including arrearages, paid by the obligated parent in exchange for receipt of a cash assistance grant and other benefits.

Attorn or Attornment To consent, implicitly or explicitly, to a transfer of a right. Often used to describe a situation where a tenant, by staying on location after the sale of the leased property, accepts to be a tenant of the new landlord; or where a person consents to ("attorns to") the jurisdiction of a court which would not have otherwise had any authority over that person.

Attorney An alternate word for lawyers or "barrister & solicitor", used mostly in the USA. A person that has been trained in the law and that has been certified to give legal advice or to represent others in litigation

Attractive Nuisance Doctrine A legal doctrine which makes a person negligent for leaving a piece of equipment or other condition on property which would be both attractive and dangerous to curious children. These have included tractors, unguarded swimming pools, open pits, and abandoned


refrigerators. Liability could be placed on the people owning or controlling the premises even when the child was a trespasser who sneaked on the property. Basically the doctrine was intended to make people careful about what dangerous conditions they left untended. Some jurisdictions (including California) have abolished the attractive nuisance doctrine and replaced it with specific conditions (e.g. open pit and refrigerators) and would make property owners liable only by applying rules of foreseeable danger which make negligence harder to prove.

Audi alteram partem Latin: a principle of natural justice which prohibits a judicial decision which impacts upon individual rights without giving all parties in the dispute a right to be heard. Habeas corpus was an early expression of the audi alteram partem principle. In more recent years, it has been extended to include the right to receive notice of a hearing and to be given an opportunity to be represented or heard.

Auto Lemon Law The area of law governed by statute that allows the purchaser of a car specific remedies if the car has a defect that impairs or significantly affects its use, value, or safety and that cannot be repaired within a specified period.

Autrefois acquit (Formerly acquitted) It means a plea in bar of a proceeding, that the prisoner previously been tried and acquitted of the same offence/crime before a court of competent jurisdiction. It is the basis of protection against double jeopardy both in U.S. and UK. and also in India. French word now part of English criminal law terminology. Refers to an accused who cannot be tried for a crime because the record shows he has already been subjected to trial for the same conduct and was acquitted. If the accused maintains that the previous trial resulted in conviction, he or she pleads "autrefois convict." "Autrefois attaint" is another similar term; "attainted" for a felony, a person cannot be tried again for the same offence.

Autrefois convict (Formerly convict) It is a plea in bar of prosecution, on the basis that the prisoner had previously been tried for and convicted for the same offence by a court of competent jurisdiction.


Aviation Law The area of law dealing with the operation of civilian aircraft often under the control of a common carrier. This legal arena usually focuses on airline disasters and wrongful death.

A vnculo matrimonii Latin: of marriage. The term is now used to refer to a final and permanent dissolution of the marriage by a decree of annulment on the ground that the marriage was void ab initio, from the beginning.

Avulsion Land accretion that occurs by the erosion or addition of one's land by the sudden and unexpected change in a river stream such as a flash flood.

Avunculus Latin: a mother's brother. "Avuncular" refers to an uncle.

Bad faith (Latin: mala fides) is a legal concept in which a malicious motive on the part of a party in a lawsuit undermines their case. It has an effect on the ability to maintain causes of action and obtain legal remedies. Generally speaking, courts will not just look at the legal rights of parties in pursuing a transaction or a lawsuit, but will look behind the activity at the motives of the persons attempting to obtain the assistance of the court. If a court feels that the reasons behind the transaction or lawsuit have the effect of abusing the power of the law, or the court, it will generally deny a party the ability to rely on a legal remedy that they will otherwise be entitled to. Intent to deceive. A person who intentionally tries to deceive or mislead another in order to gain some advantage.



Criminal law: a commitment made (and possibly secured by cash or property) to secure the release of a person being held in custody and suspected of a crime, to provide some kind of guarantee that the suspect will appear to answer the charges at some later date.

Bail jump Colloquial expression meaning to leave the jurisdiction or to avoid appearance as a defendant in a criminal case or trial after bail has been granted/posted, thus causing forfeiture of bail or bail bond: to abscond after the posting of bail.

Bailee The person who receives property through a contract of bailment, from the bailor, and who may be committed to certain duties of care towards the property while it remains in his or her possession.

Bailment The transfer of possession of something (by the bailor) to another person (called the bailee) for some temporary purpose (eg. storage) after which the property is either returned to the bailor or otherwise disposed of in accordance with the contract of bailment.

Bailor The person who temporarily transfers possession of property to another, the bailee, under a contract of bailment.

Banking & Finance Law The area of law that relates to the banking and finance industries.

Bankruptcy The formal condition of an insolvent person being declared bankrupt under law. The legal effect is to divert most of the debtor's assets and debts to the administration of a third person, sometimes called a "trustee in bankruptcy", from which outstanding debts are paid pro rata. Bankruptcy forces the debtor into a statutory period during which his or her commercial and financial affairs are administered under the strict supervision of the trustee. Bankruptcy usually involves the removal of several special legal rights such as the right


to sit on a board of directors or, for some professions that form part of the justice system, to practice, such as lawyers or judges. Commercial organizations usually add other non-legal burdens upon bankrupts such as the refusal of credit. The duration of "bankruptcy" status varies from state to state but it does have the benefit of erasing most debts even if they were not satisfied by the sale of the debtor's assets.

Bankruptcy Law The legal method for a debtor to "discharge" or relieve debt. Bankruptcy is a way for individuals or businesses owing more money than they can pay to either work out a plan to repay the money over time or to have their debt wiped out. While no debtor is guaranteed a total discharge, most debtors who file for bankruptcy are given such relief. One of the primary purposes of the bankruptcy act is to relieve the honest debtor from the weight of oppressive indebtedness and to provide the debtor with a fresh start. If the debtor initiates the bankruptcy it is called a voluntary bankruptcy. If the creditor initiates the bankruptcy it is called an involuntary bankruptcy. In an involuntary bankruptcy the debtor has the opportunity to contest the petition. While the debtor is either working out a plan or the trustee is gathering the available assets to sell, the Bankruptcy law provides that creditors must stop all collection efforts against the debtor. The Bankruptcy law regulates what chapter you must file under, what bills can be eliminated, how long payments may be extended, what possessions you may keep.

Bare trust A trust that has become passive for the trustee because all the duties the settlor may have imposed upon the trustee have been performed or any conditions or terms have come to fruition, such as there is no longer any impediment to the transfer of the property to the beneficiary.

Barrister A litigation specialist; a lawyer that restricts his or her practice to the court room. In England and some other Commonwealth jurisdictions, a legal distinction is made between barristers and solicitors, the latter with exclusive privileges of advising clients, providing legal advice, and the former with exclusive privileges of appearing in a court on behalf of a client. In other words, solicitors don't appear in court on a client's behalf and barristers don't give legal advice to clients. In England, barristers and solicitors work as a team: the solicitor would


typically make the first contact with a client and if the issue cannot be resolved and proceeds to trial, the solicitor would transfer the case to a barrister for the duration of the litigation. Lawyers in some states, sometimes use the title "barrister and solicitor" even though, contrary to England, there is no legal distinction between the advising and litigating roles. Canadian lawyers can litigate or give legal advice, as is the case in the USA, where lawyers are referred to as "attorneys."

Bastard An illegitimate child, born in a relationship between two persons that are not married (i.e. not in wedlock) or who are not married at the time of the child's birth.

Bench the location where a judge sits while in court, often a raised desk in a courtroom; also refers to the judiciary as a whole (to differentiate from the Bar (law) - the lawyers or barristers); and may also mean a group of judges hearing a case and judging on a case. A judge in court session.

Beneficiary In a legal context, a "beneficiary" usually refers to the person for whom a trust has been created. May also be referred to as a "donee" or, for legal tecchies, as a cestui que trust. Trusts are made to advantage a beneficiary (i.e. A settlor (also called a "donor") transfers property to a trustee, the profits of which are to be given to the beneficiaire).

Berne Convention An international copyright treaty called the Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works signed at Berne, Switzerland in 1886 (amended several times and as late as 1971) and to which now subscribe 77 nations including all major trading countries including China, with the notable exception of Russia. It is based on the principle of national treatment.

Bigamy Being married to more than one person at the same time. This is a criminal offence in most countries.


Bill of exchange A written order from one person (the payor) to another, signed by the person giving it, requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay on demand or at some fixed future date, a certain sum of money, to either the person identified as payee or to any person presenting the bill of exchange. A check is a form of bill of exchange where the order is given to a bank.

Bill of lading A document that a transport company possesses acknowledging that it has received goods, and serves as title for the purpose of transportation.

trust Blind trust A trust set up by a settlor who reserves the right to terminate the trust but other than that, agrees to assert no power over the trust, which is administered without account to the beneficiary/settlor or the retention of any other measure of control over the trust's administration. In Canada, it is common for govt. ministers to vest all their investment property to a blind trust to avoid any conflict of interest.

Bona confiscata Property forfeited to the sovereign.

Bona fide(s) (Good faith) Bona fide means in or with good faith; honestly, openly and sincerely, without deceit or fraud, truly, actually, without stimulation or pretence; innocently, in the attitude of trust and confidence, without notice of fraud; real, actual, genuine and not feigned.

Bona Bona vacantia (Latin for "vacant goods orunclaimed goods) is a common law doctrine in the United Kingdom under which ownerless property passes by law to the Crown. It has largely replaced the doctrine of escheat, which had a similar effect in relation to feudal tenures. The body that administers bona vacantia varies within the UK: Property


that belongs to no person, and which may be claimed by a finder. In some states, the government becomes owner of all bona vacantia property.

Born out of wedlock Born of parents who were not legally married at the time of birth.

Breach of contract The failure to do what one promised to do under a contract. Proving a breach of contract is a prerequisite of any suit for damages based on the contract.

Breach of trust Any act or omission on the part of the trustee which is inconsistent with the terms of the trust agreement or the law of trusts. A prime example is the redirecting of trust property from the trust to the trustee, personally.

Burden of proof A rule of evidence that makes a person prove a certain thing or the contrary will be assumed by the court. For example, in criminal trials, the prosecution has the burden of proving the accused guilt because innocence is presumed.

Business Law The area of law that involves the creation and needs of "business". Business can be any activity or enterprise entered into for profit, usually a company, a corporation, partnership, or any such formal organization (see corporate law).

Business Litigation The area of law that provides assistance in the preparation and presentation of a lawsuit or other resort to the courts to determine a legal question or matter in "business" situations. Business can be any activity or enterprise entered into for profit, usually a company, a corporation, partnership, or any such formal organization.


Canon law The law of the Christian Church. Has little or no legal effect today. Canon law refers to that body of law which has been set by the Christian Church and which, in virtually all places, is not binding upon citizens and has virtually no recognition in the judicial system. Some citizens resort to canon law, however, for procedures such as marriage annulments to allow for a Christian church marriage where one of the parties has been previously divorced. Many church goers and church officers abide by rulings and doctrines of canon law. Also known as "ecclesiastical law."

Capital punishment The most severe of all sentences: that of death. Also known as the death penalty, capital punishment has been banned in many coutries. In the United States, an earlier move to eliminate capital punishment has now been reversed and more and more states are resorting to capital punishment for serious offenses such as murder.

Cartel CARTELincludes an association of producers, sellers, distributors, traders or service providers who, by agreement amongst themselves, limit, control or attempt to control the production, distribution, sale or price of, or trade in goods or provision of services. Combination of firms for certain purposes, esp. to keep up the prices and kill competition. A group of independent industrial corporations, usually operating internationally, which agree to restrict trade to their mutual benefit. A challenge; an agreement for exchange of prisoners: a card with writing on it; a political condition or block.

Case law The entire collection of published legal decisions of the courts which, because of stare decisis, contributes a large part of the legal rules which apply in modern society. If a rule of law cannot be found in written laws, lawyers will often say that it is a rule to be found in "case law". In other words, the rule is not in the statute books but can be found as a principle of law established by a judge in some


recorded case. The word jurisprudence has become synonymous for case law.

CAT Acronym for Central Administrative Tribunal Constituted under Indian Central Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985.

Catastrophic Law The area of law dealing with serious personal injury (see personal injury).

Caveat Latin: let him beware. A formal notice or cautions given by a party interested to a Court; Judge, or Public Officer, against the performance, of certain judicial or ministerial acts: (Burill Law Dictionary) a caution entered in a competent court, to stop probates, administrators, and such like, from being granted without the knowledge of the party that enters. Section 148-A of the Indian Civil Procedure Code and Rule 159(3) of the Rules of High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan provides provisos as to the filing of Caveat Caveat.

Caveat emptor emptor Term caveat emptor means let the buyer beware or that the buyers should examine and check for themselves things which they intend to purchase and that they cannot later hold the vendor responsible for the broken condition of the thing bought.

Caveat venditor In Roman law. A maxim, or rule, casting the responsibility for defects or deficiencies upon the seller of goods. In English and American Jurisprudence. Caveat venditor is sometimes used as expressing, in a rough way, the rule which governs all those cases of sales to which caveat emptor does not apply



A writ from a higher court to a lower one requesting a transcript of the proceedings of a case for review. An order of a superior court directing that a record of proceedings in a lower court be sent up for review. A writ of certiorari is a form of judicial review whereby a court is asked to consider a legal decision of an administrative tribunal, judicial office or organization (e.g. government) and to decide if the decision has been regular and complete or if there has been an error of law. For example, a certiorari may be used to wipe out a decision of an administrative tribunal which was made in violation of the rules of natural justice, such as a failure to give the person affected by the decision an opportunity to be heard.

Cestui que trust or cestui que use The formal Latin word for the beneficiary or donee of a trust.

Ceteris paribus Latin" all things being equal or unchanged.

Champerty Assistance to any person in action or suit upon condition to have paid of the things (be it lands or goods) when recovered. It is an unlawful act. When under an agreement a person agrees to finance someone else's lawsuit in exchange for a portion of the judicial award.

Chaste A person who has never voluntarily had sexual intercourse outside of marriage such as unmarried virgins.

Chattel Moveable items of property which are neither land nor permanently attached to land or a building, either directly or vicariously through attachment to real property. A piano is chattel but an apartment building, a tree or a concrete building foundation are not. The opposite of chattel is real property which includes lands or buildings. All property which is not real property is said to be chattel. "Personal property" or "personalty" are other words sometines used to describe the concept of chattel. The word "chattel" came from the feudal era when "cattle" was the most valuable property besides land.


Chattel mortgage When an interest is given on moveable property other than real property (in which case it is usually a "mortgage"), in writing, to guarantee the payment of a debt or the execution of some action. It automatically becomes void when the debt is paid or the action is executed.

Check or cheque A form of bill of exchange where the order to pay is given to a bank which is holding the payor's money.

Chose in action A right of property in intangible things or which are not in one's possession, enforceable through legal or court action . Examples may include salaries, debts, insurance claims, shares in companies and pensions.

Circumstantial evidence Evidence which may allow a judge or jury to deduce a certain fact from other facts which have been proven. In some cases, there can be some evidence that can not be proven directly, such as with an eye-witness. And yet that evidence may be essential to prove a case. In these cases, the lawyer will provide the judge or juror with evidence of the circumstances from which a juror or judge can logically deduct, or reasonably infer, the fact that cannot be proven directly; it is proven by the evidence of the circumstances; hence, "circumstantial" evidence. Fingerprints are an example of circumstantial evidence: while there may be no witness to a person's presence in a certain place, or contact with a certain object, the scientific evidence of someone's fingerprints is persuasive proof of a person's presence or contact with an object.

Citation An order of a court to either do a certain thing or to appear before it to answer charges. The citation is typically used for lesser offences (such as traffic violations) because it relies on the good faith of the defendant to appear as requested, as opposed to an arrest or bail. The penalty for failing to obey a citation is often a warrant for the arrest of the defendant.


Civil Law dealing with all areas of the law that are not classified as criminal.

Civil Rights The area of law protecting those rights guaranteed by the part third of the Constitution of India under Article 14 to 16, 19, 21, 23 to 24, 25 to 30 and to the Constitution, including the right to due process, equal treatment under the law of all people regarding enjoyment of life, liberty, property, and protection.

Clandestine Something that is purposely kept from the view or knowledge of others either in violation of the law or to conduct or conceal some illegal purpose. A "clandestine marriage" would be one which does not comply with laws related to publicity.

Class Action An action or actions in which a representative plaintiff sues or a representative defendant is sued on behalf of a class (group) of plaintiffs or defendants who have the same interests in the litigation as their representative and whose rights or liabilities can be more efficiently determined as a group than in a series of individual suits.

Clayton's Case An English case which established a presumption that monies withdrawn from a money account are presumed to be debits from those monies first deposited. First in, first out. The proper citation is Devaynes v. Noble (1816) 1 Mer. 572) and the presumption is not applicable to fiduciaries, who are presumed to withdraw their won money first, and not trust money.

Clean hands A maxim of the law to the effect that any person, individual or corporate, that wishes to ask or petition a court for judicial action, must be in a position free of fraud or other unfair conduct.



A lenient or sympathetic attitude. The act of moderating a sentence or other punishment; e.g. a pardon or commutation of sentence.

Client-solicitor privilege lientA 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. This includes being shielded from testimony before a court of law. The client may, expressly or impliedly, waive the privilege and, exceptionally, it may also be waived by the lawyer if the disclosure of the information may prevent a serious crime.

Codicil Means an instrument made in relation to a will, and expanding, altering or adding to its dispositions, and shall be deemed to form a part of the will S. 2(b) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. An amendment to an existing will does not mean that the will is totally changed; just to the extent of the codicil.

Collaborative Law Collaborative Law is a name given to an attitude toward resolving legal disputes and the policies and practices that put that attitude into action. You won't find collaborative law in the statutes or administrative regulations but you will find it in the professionalism and integrity of those who practice law. The basic attitude marking collaborative law is of solving the problem, not fighting the fight. Simply stated, it is treating the process as a way to "trouble shoot and problem solve" rather than to fight and win. Some people look upon the civil justice system as a place to resolve a dispute they have with another. Collaborative law is what they're looking for.

Collateral Property which has been committed to guarantee a loan.

Collateral descendant A descendant that is not direct, such as a niece or a cousin.

Collateral source rule


A rule of tort law which holds that the tortfeasor is not allowed to deduct from the amount he or she would be held to pay to the victim of the tort, any goods, services or money received by that victim from other "collateral" sources as a result of the tort (e.g. insurance benefits).

Collections The area of law that gives assistance to creditors in pursuing their debtors.

Collusion A secret agreement between two or more persons, who seem to have conflicting interests, to abuse the law or the legal system, deceive a court or to defraud a third party. For example, if the partners in a marriage agree to lie about the duration of their separation in order to secure a divorce.

Commercial Law The legal rules and principles bearing on commercial transactions and business organizations. This area of the law is often times governed by the Uniform Commercial Code.

Commercial Litigation The area of law that provides assistance in the preparation and presentation of a lawsuit or other resort to the courts to determine a legal question or matter in "commercial" situations. Commercial law involves the legal rules and principles bearing on commercial transactions and business organizations. This area of the law is often times governed by the Uniform Commercial Code.

Commission A formal group of experts brought together on a regular or ad hoc basis to debate matters within that sphere of expertise, and with regulatory or quasi-judicial powers such as the ability to license activity in the sphere of activity or to sub poena witnesses. Commissions usually also have advisory powers to government. The organizational form of a commission is often resorted to by governments to exhaustively investigate a matter of national concern, and is often known as a "commission of inquiry." This legal


structure can be contrasted with a council, the latter not enjoying quasi-judicial or regulatory powers.

Committee A term of parliamentary law which refers to a body of one or more persons appointed by a larger assembly or society, to consider, investigate and/or take action on certain specific matters. A committee only has those powers which have been assigned to it by the constituent assembly. Most are merely created to study matters in detail and to then report to the larger group. This saves the larger assembly time when it meets and allows it to review and approve a greater number of items, relying on the committee's report and recommendations. Committees are either standing or ad hoc (this latter kind is also known as a "special committee).

Common law Judge-made law. Law which exists and applies to a group on the basis of historical legal precedents developed over hundreds of years. Because it is not written by elected politicians but, rather, by judges, it is also referred to as "unwritten" law. Judges seek these principles out when trying a case and apply the precedents to the facts to come up with a judgement. Common law is often contrasted with civil law systems which require all laws to be written in a code or written collection. Common law has been referred to as the "common sense of the community, crystallized and formulated by our ancestors". Equity law developed after the common law to offset the rigid interpretations medieval English judges were giving the common law. For hundreds of years, there were separate courts in England and it's dependents: one for common law and one for equity and the decisions of the latter, where they conflicted, prevailed. It is a matter of legal debate whether or not common law and equity are now "fused." It is certainly common to speak of the "common law" to refer to the entire body of English law, including common law and equity.

Common share The basic share in a company. Typically, common shares have voting rights and a pro rata right to any dividends declared. They differ from preferred shares which, by definition, carry some kind of right or privilege above the common shares (eg. first to receive any dividends)


Communications Law The area of law focusing on the technology of the transmission of information.

Company A legal entity, allowed by legislation, which permits a group of people, as shareholders, to create an organization, which can then focus on persuing set objectives, and empowered with legal rights which are usually only reserved for individuals, such as to sue and be sued, own property, hire employees or loan and borrow money. Also known as a "corporation." The primary advantage of a company structure is that it provides the shareholders with a right to participate in the profits (by dividends) without any personal liability (the company absorbs the entire liability of the business).

negligence Comparative negligence A principle of tort law which looks at the negligence of the victim and which may lead to either a reduction of the award against the defendant, proportionate to the contribution of the victim's negligence, or which may even prevent an award altogether if the victim's negligence, when compared with the defendant, is equal to or greater in terms or contributing to the situation which caused the injury or damage.

Complaint written document filed in court in which the person initiating the action names the persons, allegations, and relief sought

Computer & Technology Law the area of law dealing with the scientific technology involving the production or use of devices especially in the fields of electronics and computers. Computers can be defined as programmable electronic devices that can store, retrieve, and process data

Condemnation/Eminent Domain the area of law that deals with the right of the government to take property from a private owner for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of its sovereignty over all lands within its jurisdiction


Condition precedent A contractual condition that suspends the coming into effect of a contract unless or until a certain event takes place. Many residential real estate contracts have a condition precedent which states that the contract is not binding until and unless the property is subjected to an professional inspection, the results of which are satisfactory to the purchaser.

Condition subsequent A condition in a contract that causes the contract to become invalid if a certain event occurs. This is different from a condition precedent. The happening of a condition subsequent may invalidate a contract which is, until that moment, fully valid and binding. In the case of a condition precedent, no binding contract exists until the condition occurs.

Condonation Divorces can be obtained by showing a fault of the other spouse, such as adultery or cruelty. But a court will refuse to grant a divorce based on these grounds if there has been "condonation", which is the obvious or implied forgiveness of the fault. For example, if the "injured" spouse resumes cohabitation with the "guilty" spouse after being informed of the adultery, and for a long period or time, the "injured" spouse may be barred from divorce on the grounds of adultery because of "condonation".

Confiscate Confiscate To take or seize private property for use by the government, usually without compensation. Due process protections imbedded in the federal Constitution usually prevent acts of non-compensatory confiscation except in time of war and in the exercise of the police power. Recently, prosecutors have confis- cated the private property of persons accused or convicted of a crime even when the property is not related to the crime itself.

Consensus A result achieved through negotiation whereby a hybrid solution is arrived at between parties to an issue, dispute or disagreement, comprising typically of concessions made by all parties, and to which


all parties then subscribe unanimously as an acceptable resolution to the issue or disagreement.

idem Consensus ad idem Latin term meaning an agreement, a meeting of the minds between the parties where all understand and have accepted the contractual commitments made by each other respectively. This is a basic requirement for each contract.

Consent Agreement voluntary written admission of paternity or responsibility for support.

Consideration Under common law, there can be no binding contract without consideration, which was defined in an 1875 English decision as "some right, interest, profit or benefit accruing to the one party, or some forbearance, detriment, loss or responsibility given, suffered or undertaken by the other". Common law did not want to allow gratuitous offers, those made without anything offered in exchange (such as gifts), to be given the protection of contract law. So they added the criteria of consideration. Consideration is not required in contracts made in civil law systems and many common law states have adopted laws which remove consideration as a prerequisite of a valid contract.

Conspiracy An agreement between two or more persons to commit a criminal act. Those forming the conspiracy are called conspirators.

Constitution The basic law or laws of a nation or a state which sets out how that state will be organized by deciding the powers and authorities of government between different political units, and by stating and the basic principles of society.

Constitutional Law The area of statutory and case law that is based on, concerns, or interprets a constitution. Originally, a law or ordinance, Now, a


document which defines the rules under which a nation or state will be governed.

Construction The legal process of interpreting a phrase or document; of trying to find it's meaning. Whether it be a contract or a statute, there are times when a phrase may be unclear or of several meanings. Then, either lawyers or judges must attempt to interpret or "construct" the probable aim and purpose of the phrase, by extrapolating from other parts of the document or, in the case of statutes, referring to a interpretation law which gives legal construction guidelines. Generally, there are two types of construction methods: literal (strict) or liberal.

Construction Law the area of law focusing on the construction industry.

Constructive trust A trust which a court declares or imposes onto participants of very specific circumstances such as those giving rise to an action for unjust enrichment, and notwithstanding the lack of any willing settlor to declare the trust (contrast with express trusts and resulting trusts).

Consumer Protection the area of law that focuses on the remedies available in most states and the federal government which have enacted laws and set up agencies to protect the consumer from inferior, adulterated, hazardous or deceptively advertised products, and deceptive or fraudulent sales practices.

Consumer Protection the area of law that focuses on the remedies available in most states and the federal government which have enacted laws and set up agencies to protect the consumer from inferior, adulterated, hazardous or deceptively advertised products, and deceptive or fraudulent sales practices.

Contempt of court


A act of defiance of court authority or dignity. Contempt of court can be direct (swearing at a judge or violence against a court officer) or constructive (disobeying a court order). The punishment for contempt is a fine or a brief stay in jail (i.e. overnight)

Contingency fee A method of payment of legal fees represented by a percentage of an award. Lawyers get paid in one of two ways: either you pay a straight hourly rate as you might pay a plumber (eg. Rs. 200 an hour) or the lawyer might "gamble" (i.e. "contingency" fee) and agree to only get paid if the claim is successful and by taking a portion (eg. one-third) of any award that comes after the filing of the claim. e.g., if you go and see a lawyer because, after a medical emergency, your health insurance company refuses to pay your medical bills in violation of their policy, the law firm might say: "no money down. In fact, we don't get paid a cent unless you do. And then, we take onethird off the top of any award you might get." This allows the client to receive legal services without putting any money down and it allows the lawyer to advertise "we don't get paid unless you do." Indian Advocates Act, 1961 prohibits the practice of contingency fee.

Contract An agreement between persons which obliges each party to do or not to do a certain thing. Technically, a valid contract requires an offer and an acceptance of that offer, and, in common law countries, consideration.

Contract law That body of law which regulates the enforcement of contracts. Contract law has its origins thousands of years as the early civilizations began to trade with each other, a legal system was created to support and to facilitate that trade. The English and French developed similar contract law systems, both referring extensively to old Roman contract law principles such as consensus ad idem or caveat emptor. There are some minor differences on points of detail such as the English law requirement that every contract contain consideration. More and more states are changing their laws to eliminate consideration as a prerequisite to a valid contract thus contributing to the uniformity of law. Contract law is the basis of all commercial dealings from buying a bus ticket to trading on the stock market


Contributory negligence The negligence of a person which, while not being the primary cause of a tort, nevertheless combined with the act or omission of the primary defendant to cause the tort, and without which the tort would not have occurred.

Conversion The action of conversion is a common law legal proceeding for damages by an owner of property against a defendant who came across the property and who, rather than return the property, converted that property to his own use or retained possession of the property or otherwise interfered with the property. The innocence of the defendant who took the property is not an issue. It is the conversion that gives rise to the cause of action. This common law action replaced the old action of trover by English law dated 1852. Compare with detinue.

Conveyance A written document which transfers property from one person to another. In real-estate law, the conveyance usually refers to the actual document which transfers ownership, between persons living (i.e. other than by will), or which charges the land with another's interest, such as a mortgage.

Conviction The formal decision of a criminal trial which finds the accused guilty. It is the finding of a judge or jury, on behalf of the state, that a person has, beyond reasonable doubt, committed the crime for which he, or she, has been accused. It is the ultimate goal of the prosecution and the result resisted by the defense. Once convicted, an accused may then be sentenced.

Coparcenary An obsolete co-ownership mechanism of English law where property, if there was no will, always went to the eldest son. If there was no male heir, the property went to all the female children collectively as a form of co-ownership.



The exclusive right to produce or reproduce (copy), to perform in public or to publish an original literary or artistic work. Many countries have expanded the definition of a "literary work" to include computer programs or other electronically stored information.

Coram non judice (1) Outside the presence of a Judge; or (2) Before a Judge, but not that proper one, or who cannot take legal cognizance of the matter. A proceeding before, or determination by, a judge who has no authority or jurisdiction to deal with the matter.

Coroner A public official who holds an inquiry into violent or suspicious deaths. A coroner has the power to summon people to the inquest.

Corporal punishment A punishment for some violation of conduct which involves the infliction of pain on, or harm to the body. A fine or imprisonment is not considered to be corporal punishment (in the latter case, although the body is confined, no punishment is inflicted upon the body). The death penalty is the most drastic form of corporal punishment and is also called capital punishment. Some schools still use a strap to punish students. Some countries still punish habitual thieves by cutting off a hand. These are forms of corporal punishment, as is any form of spanking, whipping or bodily mutilation inflicted as punishment.

Corporate Corporate Law the area of law focusing on the legal methods of obtaining an official charter or articles of incorporation from the state for an organization, which may be a profit-making business, a professional business such as a law office or medical office or a non-profit entity which operates for charitable, social, religious, civic or other public service purposes and the legal ramifications of such an organization (see business law)

Corporate secretary Officer of a corporation responsible for the official documents of the corporation such as the official seal, records of shares issued, and minutes of all board or committee meetings.


Corporation A legal entity, allowed by legislation, which permits a group of people, as shareholders (for-profit companies) or members (nonprofit companies), to create an organization, which can then focus on pursuing set objectives, and empowered with legal rights which are usually only reserved for individuals, such as to sue and be sued, own property, hire employees or loan and borrow money. Also known as a "company." The primary advantage of for profit corporations is that it provides its shareholders with a right to participate in the profits (by dividends) without any personal liability because the company absorbs the entire liability of the organization.

Corpus delicti (The body of crime or in general senses the nature of the transgression i.e. the gist of the offence. It is outmoded as a variant of actus reus. Corpus delicti means the facts which constitute a crime, not as is often thought, the body of a murdered person or another thing which is the subject of a crime. In a derivative sense it means the substance or foundation of a crime; the substantial fact that a crime has been committed. Thus, corpus delicti of a crime is the body or substance of the crime, which ordinarily include two elements: the act and the intention to commit the offence.

Costs This is a term often used in judgments as in "the defendant will pay costs." When a person is condemned to "costs" it means that he has to pay all the court costs such as the fees for bringing the action, witness fees and other fees paid out by the other side in bringing the action to justice. A court can also condemn a losing party to "special costs" but this is considered punitive as it would include the other side's lawyer bill. The rule in most places is that "costs follows the event" which means that the loser pays. In most states, the court has the final say on costs and may decide not to make an order on costs.

Council A formal group of experts brought together on a regular basis to debate matters within that sphere of expertise, and with advisory powers to government. For example, Canada has a 'Standards Council of Canada" which debates and proposes standards policies and is able to make recomendations to the government of Canada. It can be contrasted with a commission which, although also a body of


experts, is typically given regulatory powers in addition to a role as advisor to the government.

Court An official body for the administration of justice and the adjustment of disputes. A single unit of the justice system and of the judicial branch of state or federal government. A place or building for the dispensation of justice. A judge or judges while exercising judicial functions. A trial court is a court of original jurisdiction which hears witnesses and resolves disputes. The federal trial courts are known as district courts. An appellate court is a court which considers and rules upon allegations of error by the trial courts. A court of last resort is the highest appellate court in a jurisdiction. Supreme Court of India is the last resort of Appeals.

Court martial A military court set up to try and punish offenses taken by members of the army, navy or air force.

Covenant A written document in which signatories either commit themselves to do a certain thing, to not do a certain thing or in which they agree on a certain set of facts. They are very common in real property dealings and are used to restrict land use such as amongst shopping mall tenants or for the purpose of preserving heritage property.

Creditor A person to whom money, goods or services are owed by the debtor.

Creditor's Remedies The area of law dealing with the legal means and procedures to collect debts and judgments.

Crime An act or omission which is prohibited by criminal law. Each state sets out a limited series of acts (crimes) which are prohibited and punishes the commission of these acts by a fine, imprisonment or some other form of punishment. In exceptional cases, an omission to


act can constitute a crime, such as failing to give assistance to a person in peril or failing to report a case of child abuse.

Criminal conversation Synonymous with adultery. In old English law, this was a claim for damages the husband could institute against the adulterer.

Criminal Law Public law that deals with crimes and their prosecution. i.e. statutes & ordinances

Cross-examination Cross-examination In trials, each party calls witnesses. Each party may also question the other's witness(es). When you ask questions of the other party's witness(es), it is called a "cross-examination" and you are allowed considerably more latitude in cross-examination then when you question your own witnesses (called an "examination-in-chief"). For example, you are not allowed to ask leading questions to your own witness whereas you can in cross-examination.

Crown The word refers specifically to the British Monarch, where she is the head of state of Commonwealth countries. Prosecutions and civil cases taken (or defended) by the government are taken in the name of the Crown as head of state. That is why public prosecutors are referred to, in Canada, as "Crown" prosecutors and criminal cases take the form of "The Crown vs. John Doe" or "Regina vs. John Doe", Regina being Latin for "The Queen."

Cuius est solum, ejus est usque ad caelum et ad inferos Latin: who owns the land, owns down to the center of the earth and up to the heavens. This principle of land ownership has been greatly tempered by case law which has limited ownership upwards to the extent necessary to maintain structures. Otherwise, airplanes would trespass incessantly.

Culpa lata


Latin for gross negligence. It is more than just simple negligence and includes any action or an omission in reckless disregard of the consequences to the safety or property of another.

Curtilage Curtilage The yard surrounding a residence or dwelling house which is reserved for or used by the occupants for their enjoyment or work. Curtilage may or may not be inclosed by fencing and includes any outhouses such as stand-alone garages or workshops. It is a term one might come across in a search warrant which calls for a search of the residence its' curtilage of a particular person.

Custodial Parent person with legal custody and with whom the child lives; may be parent, other relative, or someone else

Custody Means the charge and control of a child including the right to make all major decisions such as education, religious upbringing, training, health and welfare. Custody, without qualification usually refers to a combination of physical custody and legal custody. For other varieties of custody, see joint custody, split custody and divided custody. Custody order is the legal determination which establishes with whom a child shall live.

CyCy-prs "As near as may be": a technical word used in the law of trusts or of wills to refer to a power that the courts have to, rather than void the document, to construct or interpret the will or a trust document "as near as may be" to the actual intentions of the signatory, where a literal construction would give the document illegal, impracticable or impossible effect. In cases where a perpetuity is attempted in a will, the courts do not, if they can avoid it, construe the devise to be utterly void, but expound the will in such a manner as to carry the testator's intentions into effect, as far as the rules respecting perpetuities will allow; this is called construction cy pres. When the perpetuity is attempted in a deed, all the limitations are totally void.


Damages A cash compensation ordered by a court to offset losses or suffering caused by another's fault or negligence. Damages are a typical request made of a court when persons sue for breach of contract or tort

Damnum sine (or abseque) injuria Literally, harm or loss without wrong. The rules which distinguish between those wrongs which are legally compensible or recognized by the courts and those which are not. Some examples of harm which are not recognized by the courts: when harm results from a lawful activity or process; when the injuries fall outside a definable legal right; and when the damage is caused by an act of God.

Death penalty Also known as capital punishment, this is the most severe form of corporal punishment as it requires law enforcement officers to kill the offender. Forms of the death penalty include hanging from the neck, gassing, firing squad and has included use of the guillotine

Debito tempore In due or proper time.

Debtor A person who owes money, goods or services to another, the latter being referred to as the creditor.

Decapitation The act of beheading a person, usually instantly such as with a large and heavy knife or by guillotine, as a form of capital punishment. This


form of capital punishment is still in use in some Arab countries, notably Saudi Arabia.

Decree absolute The name given to the final and conclusive court order after the condition of a decree nisi is met.

Decree nisi A provisional decision of a court which does not have force or effect until a certain condition is met such as another petition brought before the court or after the passage of a period time, after which it is called a decree absolute. Although no longer required in many jurisdictions, this was the model for divorce procedures wherein a court would issue A decree nisi, which would have no force or effect until a period of time passed (30 days or 6 months).

De die in diem Latin from day to day.

Deed A written and signed document which sets out the things that have to be done or recognitions of the parties towards a certain object. Under older common law, a deed had to be sealed; that is, accompanied not only by a signature but with an impression on wax onto the document. The word deed is also most commonly used in the context of real estate because these transactions must usually be signed and in writing.

Deem To accept a document or an event as conclusive of a certain status in the absence of evidence or facts which would normally be required to prove that status. For example, in matters of child support, a decision of a foreign court could be "deemed" to be a decision of the court of another for the purpose of enforcement.

De facto Latin: as a matter of fact; something which, while not necessarily lawful or legally sanctified, exists in fact. A common law spouse may


be referred to a de facto wife or de facto husband: although not legally married, they live and carry-on their lives as if married. A de facto government is one which has seized power by force or in any other unconstitutional method and governs in spite of the existence of a de jure government.

Defalcation Defalcation 1. Defaulting on a debt or other obligation such to account for public or trust funds. Usually used in the context of public officials. 2. Defalcation has another legal meaning referring to the setting-off of two debts owed between two people by the agreement to a new amount representing the balance. I owe you Rs. 7 /- and you owe me Rs. 3/-; we agree to "defalk"; the result is that I owe you Rs. 4/-. This is a type of novation.

Defamation An attack on the good reputation of a person, by slander or libel.

Default Failure of a defendant to appear, or file an answer or response in a civil case, after having been served with a summons and complaint

Default Judgment Decision made by the court when the defendant fails to respond.

Defeasance A side-contract which contains a condition which, if realized, could defeat the main contract. The common English usage of the word "defeasance" has also become acceptable in law, referring to a contract that is susceptible to being declared void as in "immoral contracts are susceptible to defeasance."

Defendant The person (artificial or natural) against whom an action or proceeding is commenced and who is asked to respond. Also, a party who ask leave of the court to join in an action for the purpose of defeating the plaintiffs claim or demand. The Person against whom a civil or criminal proceeding is begun.


Deferment Postponing or putting off to a future time. May apply to the vesting enjoyment of an estate, or to the calling of a person to serve in the armed forces. To defer does not mean to abolish or omit.

Dehors French for outside. In the context of legal proceedings, it refers to that which is irrelevant or outside the scope of the debate.

De jure Latin: "of the law." By right, by justice, by force of law. Lawful; legitimate. The valid, lawful power to do or perform a given act. Contrasted with de facto. De facto segregation is segregation which exists as a matter of practice, fact and history; de jure segration is segregation imposed or created by a law or statute. A de jure corporation is a corporation created by the state after observing and fulfilling all legal requirements. A de facto corporation is one which conducts its business as though it had all the requisite authority but which does not in fact have it. The term has come to describe a total adherence of the law. For example, a de jure government is one which has been created in respect of constitutional law and is in all ways legitimate even though a de facto government may be in control.

Delegatus non potest delegare One of the pivotal principles of administrative law: that a delegate cannot delegate. In other words, a person to whom an authority or decision-making power has been delegated to from a higher source, cannot, in turn, delegate again to another, unless the original delegation explicitly authorized it.

Demand letter A letter from a lawyer, on behalf of a client, that demands payment or some other action, which is in default. Demand letters are not always prerequisites for a legal suit but there are exceptions such as legal action on promissory notes or if the contract requires it. Basically, a demand letter sets out why the payment or action is claimed, how it should be carried out (eg. payment in full), directions for the reply and a deadline for the reply. Demand letters are often used in business contexts because they are a courtesy attempt to maintain


some goodwill between business parties and they often prompt payment, avoiding expensive litigation. A demand letter often contains the "threat" that if it is not adhered to, the next communication between the parties will be through a court of law in the form of formal legal action.

Demarche A word coined by the diplomatic community and referring to a strongly worded warning by one country to another and often, either explicitly or implicitly, with the threat of military consequence. Demarches are often precursors to hostilities or war. In September, 1996, for example, US President Clinton issued a demarche to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein when intelligence reports showed troops massing along the border of Kurd communities.

De minimis non curat lex Latin: a common law principle whereby judges will not sit in judgement of extremely minor transgressions of the law. It has been restated as "the law does not concern itself with trifles"

Demur, Demurrer A response by a defendant in a law suit that says that even if the facts alleged by the plaintiff are true, the claim is invalid. To object; take exception to; reject. The pleading wherein it is interposed by a defendant to object to the complaint as a matter of law. A statement by the defendant that even if the facts pleaded are taken as true, the plaintiff is not entitled to any relief. This is a 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 Latin: new. This term is used to refer to a trial which starts over, which wipes the slate clean and begins all over again, as if any previous partial or complete hearing had not occurred.

De plano Immediately, summarily


Deponent One who states under oath that the facts he gives are true. A witness or affiant under oath. A person who gives testimony by deposition or affidavit. A deposition is a document which contains statements made and sworn to by a deponent.

Deportation The removal of a foreign national under immigration laws for reasons such as illegal entry or conduct dangerous to the public welfare. The grounds for deportation varies from country to country.

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). Affidavits are the most common kind of depositions. A statement under oath made by a witness or party in response to questions asked either orally or in writing. Also, the document in which such questions and answers are recorded. Also, the hearing or other process during which the questions and answers are transcribed. Depositions are used to preserve the testimony of witnesses who may be unavailable for trial, or as part of the process of discovering the evidence of opposing parties before trial. They are usually conducted in a lawyer's office under circumstances which preserve the ability of the parties to submit any objection for decision by the court.

De presenti At present now

De recenti Recently

Descendant Those person who are born of, or from children of, another are called that person's descendants. Grandchildren are descendants of their grandfather as children are descendants of their natural parents. The law also distinguishes between collateral descendants and lineal descendants.


Detention The act of keeping back, restraining or withholding, either accidentally or by design, a person or thing. Detention occurs whenever police officer accosts individual and restrain his freedom to walk away, or approaches and questions individual or stops individual suspected of being personally involved in criminal activity.

Detenu A prisoner

Detinue A common law action similar to conversion and also involving the possession of property by the defendant but belonging to the plaintiff but in which the plaintiff asks the court for the return of the property, although the plaintiff may also ask for damages for the duration of the possession.

Devastavit Latin for "he has wasted." This is the technical word referring to a personal representative who has mismanaged the estate and allowed an avoidable loss to occur. This action opens the personal representative to personal liability for the loss.

Devise To give or convey property by will. Formerly, a devise referred only to testamentary gifts of real property; the transfer of real property by will.

Dicta or 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; a side opinion which does not form part of the judgment for the purposes of stare decisis. May also be called "obiter dictum."

Diplomat An official representative of a state, present in another state for the purposes of general representation of the state-of-origin or for the


purpose of specific international negotiations on behalf of the diplomat's state-of-origin.

Discretionary trust A trust in which the settlor has given the trustee full discretion to decide which (and when) members of a group of beneficiaries is to receive either the income or the capital of the trust.

Discrimination the area of law dealing with unfair or unequal treatment of a person or persons based upon their belonging to a protected class.

Disrate A term of maritime law where an officer or other seaman is either demoted in rank or deprived of a promotion.

Dissent To disagree. The word is used in legal circles to refer to the minority opinion of a judge which runs contrary to the conclusions of the majority.

Dissolution The act of ending, terminating or winding-up a company or state of affairs. For example, when the life of a company is ended by normal legal means, it is said to be "dissolved". The same is said of marriage or partnerships which, by dissolution, ends the legal relationship between those persons formally joined by the marriage or partnership.

Distraint Distraint The right of a landlord to seize the property of a tenant which is in the premises being rented, as collateral against a tenant that has not paid the rent or has otherwise defaulted on the lease, such as wanton disrepair or destruction of the premises. A common way to "distrain" against a tenant is by changing locks and giving notice to the tenant. A legal action to reclaim goods that have been distrained is called replevin.


Dividend A proportionate distribution of profits made in the form of a money payment to shareholders, by a for-profit corporation. Dividends are declared by a company's board of directors.

Divorce The final, legal ending of a marriage, by Court order.

DNA Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid. A chromosome molecule which carries genetic coding unique to each person with the only exception of identical twins (that is why it is also called "DNA fingerprinting"). Through laboratory process, DNA can be extracted from body tissue such a strand of hair, semen, blood and matched against DNA discovered at a crime scene or on a victim to scientifically implicate an accused. Can also be used to match DNA between parents in a paternity suit.

DOB Date of Birth

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.

Doctrine 1. A rule or principle or the law established through the repeated application of legal precedents. 2. A principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group; a dogma. 3. A statement of official government policy, especially in foreign affairs and military strategy. 4. Archaic. Something taught; a teaching.

Document Noun: A writing or instrument containing data or information or recording a transaction or event, e.g., a contract or deed. Any item having physical form which may be used as evidence. Under the


best evidence rule, a document is the physical embodiment of any information relevant to the trier of fact, e.g., a letter or medical report. An official paper establishing a right or privilege, e.g., a driver's license, passport or Army discharge. verb: To record in writing; to create a record of. To prove by reference to data or other supportive information. To issue, or furnish with, a document.

Doli incapax Incapable of crime.

Domicile The law distinguishes between a mere residence and a domicile. A domicile is a persons legal home; i.e., the place he acknowledges as his principal place and to which he always intends to return. A person may have only one domicile. This concept is important because it is used to determine citizenship and jurisdiction. The permanent residence of a person; a place to which, even if he or she were temporary absence, they intend to return. In law, it is said that a person may have many residences but only one domicile.

Dominant tenement Used when referring to easements to specify that property (i.e. tenement) or piece of land that benefits from, or has the advantage of, an easement.

Dominion directum Latin: the qualified ownership of a landlord, not having possession or use of property but retaining ownership. Used in feudal English land systems to describe the King's ownership of all the land, even though most of it was lent out to lords for their exclusive use and enjoyment.

Dominion utile Latin: the property rights of a tenant. While not owning the property in a legal sense, the tenant, as having dominion utile, enjoys full and exclusive possession and use of the property.

Donatio mortis causa


A death-bed gift, made by a dying person, with the intent that the person receiving the gift shall keep the thing if death ensues. Such a gift is exempted from the estate of the deceased as property is automatically conveyed upon death. In most jurisdictions, real property cannot be transferred by these death-bed gifts.

Donee Another word to describe the beneficiary of a trust. Also used to describe the person who is the recipient of a power of attorney; the person who would have to exercise the power of attorney.

Donor The person who donates property to the benefit of another, usually through the legal mechanism of a trust. The law books of some countries refer to the trust donor as a "settlor." Also used to describe the person who signs a power of attorney.

Drugs and Narcotics Drugs and Narcotics - the area of the law dealing with the defense of criminal proceedings involving the use and/or sale of illegal substances.

Drunk Driving Defense the "right to drive" is a privilege which is governed by the individual states. Traffic violations are a mix of regulatory and penal (criminal) offenses based on violations of state statutes and city ordinances relating to the operation of vehicles, specifically driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances that impair the ability to drive.

Duces tecum Latin: bring with you. Used most frequently for a species of subpoena (as in "subpoena duces tecum") which seeks not so much the appearance of a person before a court of law, but the surrender of a thing (eg. a document or some other evidence) by its holder, to the court, to serve as evidence in a trial.

Due process of law


A term of United States law which refers to fundamental procedural legal safeguards of which every citizen has an absolute right when a state or court purports to take a decision that could affect any right of that citizen. The most basic right protected under the due process doctrine is the right to be given notice, and an opportunity to be heard. The term is now also in use in other countries, again to refer to basic fundamental legal rights such as the right to be heard.

Dum casta Latin: for so long as she remains chaste. Separation agreements years ago used to contain dum casta clauses which said that if the women were to start another relationship, she forfeited her entitlement to maintenance.

Dum sola Latin: for so long as she remains unmarried.

Dum vidua Latin: for so long as she remains a widow.

Duplex A house which has separate but complete facilities to accommodate two families as either adjacent units or one on top of the other.

Duress Where a person is prevented from acting (or not acting) according to their free will, by threats or force of another, it is said to be "under duress". Contracts signed under duress are voidable and, in may places, you cannot be convicted of a crime if you can prove that you were forced or threatened into committing the crime (although this defence may not be available for serious crimes).


E-Commerce Law the area of law specifically dealing with the form of business known as E-commerce, which is a rapidly developing and exciting business form.

Easement A right of passage over a neighbor's land or waterway. An easement is a type of servitude. For every easement, there is a dominant and a servient tenement. Easements are also classified as negative (which prevents the servient land owner from doing certain things) or affirmative easements (the most common, which allows the beneficiary of the easement to do certain things, such as a right-ofway). Although right-of-ways are the most common easements, there are many others such as rights to tunnel under another's land, to use a washroom, to emit smoke or fumes, to pass over with transmission towers, to access a dock and to access a well.

Ecclesiastical law Synonymous to canon law: the body of church-made law which binds only those persons which recognize it, usually only church officers, and based on aged precepts of canon law.

EDI Electronic Data Interchange.

Education Law the area of law relating to schools and that deals mainly with methods of teaching and learning in schools.

EFT Electronic Funds Transfer.

Electronic Funds Transfer Transfer of money from one bank account to another or to a CSE Agency.


Ejusdem Generis [L. of the same, belonging to the same kind + genus, generis / class] A rule of construction which states that words of general application following a listing or enumeration of specific components of a class of things shall be interpreted as including only other components of the same class as those specifically listed; e.g., in a statute prohibiting the possession of handguns,

Elder Law includes a vast range of issues but has a specific type of person in mind, seniors. Elder law focuses on the legal needs of the elderly, and encompasses a variety of legal techniques to meet the objectives of the older client. Elder law includes general estate planning issues, counseling and planning for incapacity with alternative decision making documents, and planning for possible long-term care needs, including nursing home care. Determining the appropriate type of care, coordinating private and public resources to finance the cost of care, and working to ensure the clients right to quality care are all part of the elder law.

Emancipation Term used to describe the act of freeing a person who was under the legal authority of another (such as a child before the age of majority) from that control (such as child reaching the age of majority). The term was also used when slavery was legal to describe a former slave that had bought or been given freedom from his or her master. When Abraham Lincoln outlawed slavery he did so in a law called the "emancipation proclamation"

Embargo This is an act of international military aggression where an order is made prohibiting ships or goods from leaving a certain port, city or territory and may be enforced by military threat of destroying any vehicle that attempts to break it or by trade penalties. The word has also come to refer to a legal prohibition of trade with a certain nation or a prohibition towards the use of goods or services produced by or within a certain nation.

Embezzle Embezzle


The illegal transfer of money or property that, although possessed legally by the embezzler, is diverted to the embezzler personally by his or her fraudulent action. For example, an employee would embezzle money from the employer or a public officer could embezzle money received during the course of their public duties and secretly convert it to their personal use.

Eminent domain The right of the government to take property from a private owner for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of its sovereignty over all lands within its jurisdiction. This power connotes the legal capacity of the state to take the private property of individuals for public purposes upon the payment of just compensation. This principal was first applied by the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotious in his writing De Jure Belle Et Pacis Article 31 of the Constitution of India deals with the right to property. The constitution fourth amendment Act, 1955 provided that no property shall be compulsorily acquired or requisitioned save for public purposes and save by authority of a law which provides for compensation for the property so acquired or requisitioned such a law shall not be questioned in courts of law. Supreme court of India in the matter of Bhuri Nath Vs. State of J&K (1997) 2 SCC 745 held that the vesting of management, administration and governance of the shrine and fund in Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and extinguishment of right of Baridars does not amount to acquisition of property under Article 31 (2) of Constitution of India. It fell within the ambit of 31(2-A), therefore, the Baridars were not entitled to any compensation.

Emolument A legal word which refers to all wages, benefits or other benefit received as compensation for holding some office or employment.

Emphyteusis Civil law: a long-term (many years or in perpetuity) rental of land or buildings including the exclusive enjoyment of all product of that land and the exercise of all property rights typically reserved for the property owner such as mortgaging the property for the term of the emphyteusis or permitting a right of way.

Emptio or emtio Latin for "purchase" or the contract in which something is bought.


Enactment A law or a statute; a document which is published as an enforceable set of written rules is said to be "enacted".

Encumbrance Certificate An encumbrance certificate is needed in a property transaction as an evidence of free title and ownership. It is a document issued by the registration authorities. While buying a property, it is important to confirm that it does not have any legal dues. A prospective buyer must ensure the property has a clear and marketable title. Encumbrance is the charges or liabilities created on a particular property, whereby it is held as a security for a debt that has not been discharged as on date. An encumbrance certificate contains details of all transactions, and certifies that the property is not mortgaged and has no legal dues. It is obtained from the subregistrars office where the deed has been registered. An encumbrance certificate is important while buying property, applying for a home loan or going in for a loan against the property. Government authorities and financial institutions usually ask for 13 to 30 years encumbrance certificate. It is issued for a particular period and does not cover any period prior to or following the period mentioned. It is an extract of the register maintained by the sub-registrar, which in turn is based on the documents registered with the registrar. In case a particular document is not registered with the registrar, it wont be captured in the encumbrance certificate. There are certain transactions relating to property which are outside its scope. This is because such documents are not compulsorily registrable under the Registration Act 1908. THESE INCLUDE: EQUITABLE MORTGAGE This is a mortgage by deposit of title deeds where the borrower deposits the original documents pertaining to the property with the bank and does not get it registered at the registrars office. TESTAMENTARY DOCUMENTS AND LEASES These documents are not required to be registered with the registrar. Any lease for a period of less than one year does not need to be registered. OTHERS Oral tenancy, tax liabilities, prior unregistered agreements, family arrangement, unregistered Will and other unregistered agreements will not show here. NEED FOR CERTIFICATE In any transaction of sale or purchase of property, a no encumbrance certificate is a very important document. It is also issued for the purpose of mortgaging property for a loan. It certifies that the property is not already mortgaged. OBTAINING THE CERTIFICATE: In order to obtain this certificate, one needs to apply on Form 22 (with Rs 2 non-judicial stamp affixed) to the tahsildar, giving the complete residential


address and the purpose for which the certificate is required. A copy of any residence address proof, attested, should be attached. Title details, details of ownership of the property, survey number and address should be mentioned. It is very important that the period, full description of the property, its measurements and boundaries are clearly mentioned in the application. The application should be submitted to the jurisdictional subregistrars office. The requisite fees needs to be paid. The fee is to be paid year wise, with any fraction of a year being taken as a full year. The tahsildar will seek a report from the Patwari on whether there is any entry in favour of any person or legal body. In case there is no such entry and the report is favourable, the no encumbrance certificate is issued after conducting a detailed enquiry. The time taken may be anywhere between 15 to 30 days. Encumbrance certificates are issued either on Form No 15 or Form No 16. Encumbrance Certificate on Form No 15 records sale, lease, mortgage, gift, partition, release etc that have been registered before the registration authorities and recorded in Book I maintained by the registration authorities for any particular period for which the encumbrance certificate is sought. This helps in verifying the title since certain transactions reflected there, especially in the parent deeds and documents which are not in the possession of the present owner may be applied for and obtained in the form of certified copies. The certificate in Form No 16 is issued by the registration authorities only when no transactions have occurred in the period for which the encumbrance certificate is sought.

Endorsement Something written on the back of a document. An alternate spelling, in some English jurisdictions, is "indorsement." In the laws of bills of exchange, an endorsement is a signature on the back of the bill of exchange by which the person to whom the note is payable transfers it by thus making the note payable to the bearer or to a specific person. An endorsement of claim means that if you want to ask a court to issue a writ against someone, you have to "endorse" your writ with a concise summary of the facts supporting the claim, sometimes called a statement of claim.

Endowment The transfer of money or property (usually as a gift) to a public organization for a specific purpose, such as medical research or scholarships.

Energy Law


the area of law dealing with usable power (as heat or electricity) and the resources for producing such power.

Enforcement obtaining payment of a child support or medical support obligation.

Entertainment & Sports Law the legal area dealing with the entertainment and sports industries.

Entrapment The inducement, by law enforcement officers or their agents, of another person to commit a crime for the purposes of bringing charges for the commission of that artificially-provoked crime. This technique, because it involves abetting the commission of a crime, which is itself a crime, is severely curtailed under the constitutional law of many states.

Environmental Law the area of law dealing with state and federal statutes intended to protect the environment, wildlife, land and beauty, prevent pollution or over-cutting of forests, save endangered species, conserve water, develop and follow general plans and prevent damaging practices.

Equity A branch of English law which developed hundreds of years ago when litigants would go to the King and complain of harsh or inflexible rules of common law which prevented "justice" from prevailing. For example, strict common law rules would not recognize unjust enrichment, which was a legal relief developed by the equity courts. The typical Court of Equity decision would prevent a person from enforcing a common law court judgment. The kings delegated this special judicial review power over common law court rulings to chancellors. A new branch of law developed known as "equity", with their decisions eventually gaining precedence over those of the common law courts. A whole set of equity law principles were developed based on the predominant "fairness" characteristic of equity such as "equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy" or "he who comes to equity must come with clean hands". Many legal rules, in countries that originated with English law, have equity-based law such as the law of trusts and mortgages.


Escheat Where property is returned to the government upon the death of the owner, because there is nobody to inherit the property. Escheat is based on the Latin principle of dominion directum as was often used in the feudal system when a tenant died without hiers or if the tenant was convicted of a felony.

Escrow When the performance of something is outstanding and a third party holds onto money or a written document (such as shares or a deed) until a certain condition is met between the two contracting parties.

Estate Planning the area of law that deals with planning for the inevitability of death, such as obtaining life insurance to pay for the costs of a funeral, preparing a simple Will, and other preparations. More comprehensive planning, such as preparing a more complex Will, Trust, and related estate planning documents may also be needed. It depends on the size of your estate and how comprehensive your needs are.

Estoppel A rule of law that when person A, by act or words, gives person B reason to believe a certain set of facts upon which person B takes action, person A cannot later, to his (or her) benefit, deny those facts or say that his (or her) earlier act was improper. A 1891 English court decision summarized estoppel as "a rule of evidence which precludes a person from denying the truth of some statement previously made by himself".

Et cetra And so forth; and more of the same. And others of the same kind; other things of that type.

Euthanasia The putting to death, by painless method, of a terminally-ill or severely debilitated person through the omission (intentionally withholding a life-saving medical procedure, also known as "passive


euthanasia") or commission of an act ("active euthanasia'). See also living will.

Evidence Proof of fact(s) presented at a trial. The best and most common method is by oral testimony; where you have an eye-witness swear to tell the truth and to then relate to the court (or jury) their experience. Evidence is essential in convincing the judge or jury of your facts as the judge (or jury) is expected to start off with a blank slate; no preconceived idea or knowledge of the facts. So it is up to the opposing parties to prove (by providing evidence), to the satisfaction of the court (or jury), the facts needed to support their case. Besides oral testimony, an object can be deposited with the court (eg. a signed contract). This is sometimes called "real evidence." In other rarer cases, evidence can be circumstantial.

Ex aequo et bono Latin for "in justice and fairness." Something to be decided ex aequo et bono is something that is to be decided by principles of what is fair and just. Most legal cases are decided on the strict rule of law. For example, a contract will be normally upheld and enforced by the legal system no matter how "unfair" it may prove to be. But a case to be decided ex aequo et bono, overrides the strict rule of law and requires instead a decision based on what is fair and just given the circumstances.

Examination-inExamination-in-chief The questioning of your own witness under oath. Witnesses are introduced to a trial by their examination-in-chief, which is when they answer questions asked by the lawyer representing the party which called them to the stand. After their examination-in-chief, the other party's lawyer can question them too; this is called "crossexamination".

Exculpate Something that excuses or justifies a wrong action.

Ex curia Latinout of court.


Executor A person specifically appointed by a testator to administer the will ensuring that final wishes are respected (i.e. that the will is properly "executed"). An executor is a personal representative.

Ex gratia Out of grace; gratuitously, describes that which is done as a favour rather than as a required task or as of right. Out of sense of fairness. An action done as a favour, not because it was required, due or owed. A decision made not in recognition of right but out of a sense of fairness and justice. Out of kindness, voluntarily.

Exhibit A document or object shown to the court as evidence in a trial. They are each given a number or letter by the court clerk as they are introduced for future reference during the trial. For example, weapon are frequently given as exhibits in criminal trials. Except with special permission of the court, exhibits are locked up in court custody until the trial is over.

Ex officio Latin: From the office; by virtue of his office.powers necessarily held or implied by virtue of office. Powers which need not be specified but which may be exercised nevertheless because they are necessary to the administration of the office by the office holder.

Ex parte Latin: for one party only. Ex parte refers to those proceedings where one of the parties has not received notice and, therefore, is neither present nor represented. If a person received notice of a hearing and chose not to attend, then the hearing would not be called ex parte. Some jurisdictions expand the definition to include any proceeding that goes undefended, even though proper notice has been given.

Ex patriate A person who has abandoned his or her country of origin and citizenship and has become a subject or citizen of another country.


Ex post facto Latin: after the fact. Legislation is called ex post facto if the law attempts to extend backwards in time and punish acts committed before the date of the law's approval. Such laws are constitutionally prohibited in most modern democracies. For example, the USA Constitution prohibits "any ex post facto law".

Express trust A trust which is clearly created by the settlor, usually in the form of a document (e.g. a will), although they can be oral. They are to be contrasted with trusts which come to being through the operation of the law and which do not result from the clear intent or decision of any settlor to create a trust (e.g. constructive trust).

Expropriation Originally, the surrender of a claim to property. Now, to deprive one of his property or possessions. Also, to condemn private property for public use. In Canada: the forced sale of land to a public authority. Synonymous to the USA and India the doctrine of "eminent domain".

Ex proprio vigore By its own force or strength. Without restraint. Automatically.

Express trust A trust which is clearly created by the settlor, usually in the form of a document (e.g. a will), although they can be oral. They are to be contrasted with trusts which come to being through the operation of the law and which do not result from the clear intent or decision of any settlor to create a trust (e.g. constructive trust).

Expunge To blot out, erase, destroy, e.g. to wipe data from a criminal record, as from the record of a juvenile defendant. To physically erase; to white or strike out. To "expunge" something from a court record means to remove every reference to it from the court file.

Ex rel


An abbreviation of "ex relatione", Latin for "on the relation of." Refers to information or action taken that is not based on first-hand experience but is based on the statement or account of another person. For example, a criminal charge "ex rel" simply means that the attorney general of a state is prosecuting on the basis of a statement of a person other than the attorney general himself (or herself.)

Extortion Forcing a person to give up property in a thing through the use of violence, fear or under pretense of authority.

Extradition Extradition The arrest and delivery of a fugitive wanted for a crime committed in another country, usually under the terms of an extradition treaty.

Ex turpi causa non oritur actio Latin: "Of an illegal cause there can be no lawsuit." In other words, if one is engaged in illegal activity, one cannot sue another for damages that arose out of that illegal activity. A example is an injury suffered by a passenger in a stolen car, which that passenger knew to be stolen and was a free participant in the joyriding. If vehicle crashes injuring the passenger, there is no action in tort against the driver under the ex turpi causa non oritur actio principle.

Fair market value The hypothetical most probable price that could be obtained for a property by average, informed purchasers.

Fait accompli


(An accomplished act) Something done, and for this reason, not worth arguing about; It means such acts which cannot be altered after their completion. In other words it indicates such acts which cannot be altered possibly and it becomes imperative to recognize them; accomplished fact.

Family Law the area of law dealing with family relations including divorce, adoption, paternity, custody, and support.

Federal Income Tax Offset Program a program under the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement which makes available to State CSE Agencies a route for securing the tax refund of parents who have been certified as owing substantial amounts of child support.

Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) a service operated by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement to help the States locate parents in order to obtain child support payments; also used in cases of parental kidnapping related to custody and visitation determinations; FPLS obtains address and employer information from Federal agencies.

FederallyFederally-Assisted Foster Care a program, funded in part by the Federal government, under which a child is raised in a household by someone other than his or her own parent.

Fee simple The most extensive tenure allowed under the feudal system allowing the tenant to sell or convey by will or be transfer to a heir if the owner dies intestate. In modern law, almost all land is held in fee simple and this is as close as one can get to absolute ownership in common law.

Fee tail A form of tenure under the feudal system that could only be transferred to a lineal descendant. If there were no lineal


descendants upon the death of the tenant, the land reverted back to the lord.

Felony A serious crime for which the punishment is prison for more than a year or death. Crimes of less gravity are called misdemeanours. This term is no longer used in England or other Commonwealth countries but remains a major distinction in the United States. Historically, in England, the term referred to crimes for which the punishment was the loss of land, life or a limb.

FenFen-Phen Law In United States the legal area focusing on those persons harmed or injured by the use of Fen - Phen. Fenfluramine ("fen") and phentermine ("phen") are prescription medications that have been approved by the FDA for many years as appetite suppressants for the short-term management of obesity. Some physicians have prescribed fenfluramine in combination with phentermine, often for extended periods of time, for use in weight loss programs. The cluster of unusual cases of valve disease in Fen-Phen users suggested that there might be an association between Fen-Phen use and valve disease.

Feudal system A social structure that existed throughout much of Europe between 800 and 1400 and that revolved around a multi-level hierarchy between lords (who held land granted under tenure from the king), and their tenants (also called "vassals").Tenants would lease land from the lord in exchange for loyalty and goods or services, such as military assistance or money. In exchange, the tenant would be protected from attack.

Fiat justicia (Let justice be done) this phrase is composed of two words fiat and justicia. It means warrant of a judge or police officer. The joint meaning of fiat justicia is that let justice be done.

Fiduciary Normally, the term is synonymous to a trustee, which is the classic form of a fiduciary relationship. A fiduciary has rights and powers


which would normally belong to another person. The fiduciary holds those rights which he or she must exercise to the benefit of the beneficiary. A fiduciary must not allow any conflict of interest to infect their duties towards the beneficiary and must exercise a high standard of care in protecting or promoting the interests of the beneficiary. Fiduciary responsibilities exist for persons other than trustees such as between solicitor and client and principal and agent.

Fieri facias A writ of fieri facias commands a sheriff to take and sell enough property from the person who lost the law suit, to pay the debt owed by the judgment. writ authorising execution of a judgement.

Finding The decision of a Judge, Arbitrator, Jury or Referee. A term used by profession and by the courts as meaning the decision of a Trial Court upon disputed facts. A formal determination by a court, or administrative process that has legal standing.

Force majeure French for an act of God; an inevitable, unpredictable act of nature, not dependent on an act of man. Used in insurance contracts to refer to acts of nature such as earthquakes or lightning.

Foreclosure The technical meaning of the word is to wipe out a right of redemption on a property. Generally, this is what happens when someone does not pay their mortgage. Even though there has been no payments, the borrower retains a equitable right of redemption if, some day, he or she were able to find the money and try to exercise their right of redemption. To clear the title of this potential, a lender goes to court, demonstrates the default, requests that a date be set where the entire amount becomes payable after which, in the absence of payment, the lender is automatically relieved of the requirement to redeem the property back to the borrower; the debtor's right of redemption is said to be forever barred and foreclosed. This cancels all rights a borrower would have in the property and the property then belongs entirely to the lender, who is then free to possess or sell the property. The word is frequently used to generally refer to the lender's actions of repossessing and selling a property for default in mortgage payments.


Fortes fortuna juvat Fortune favours the brave.

Franchise Law the area of law revolving around the right or license that is granted to an individual or group to market a company's goods or services in a particular territory under the company's trademark, trade name, or service mark and that often involves the use of rules and procedures designed by the company and services and facilities provided by the company in return for fees, royalties, or other compensation.

Fraud Deceitful conduct designed to manipulate another person to give something of value by (1) lying, (2) by repeating something that is or ought to have been known by the fraudulent party as false or suspect or (3) by concealing a fact from the other party which may have saved that party from being cheated. The existence of fraud will cause a court to void a contract and can give rise to criminal liability.

Freehold A special right granting the full use of real estate for an indeterminate time. It differs from leasehold, which allows possession for a limited time. There are varieties of freehold such as fee simple and fee tail

Freeholder A person who owns freehold property rights (i.e. in a piece of real estate; either land or a building).

Fugitive One who runs away to avoid arrest, prosecution or imprisonment. Many extradition laws also call the suspect a "fugitive" although, in that context, it does not necessarily mean that the suspect was trying to hide in the country from which extradition is being sought.

Full Faith and Credit doctrine under which a State must honor an order or judgment entered in another State.


Functus officio Functus (Having performed his function) It is used of an agent who has performed his task and exhausted his authority and of an arbitrator or judge to whom further resort is incompetent, his function being exhausted. An officer or agency whose mandate has expired either because of the arrival of an expiry date or because an agency has accomplished the purpose for which it was created.

Fungibles Goods which are comprised of many identical parts such as a bushel of grain or a barrel of apples or oil, and which can be easily replaced by other, identical goods. If the goods are sold by weight or number, this is a good sign that they are fungible.

Furiosi nulla voluntas est A Latin expression that mentally impaired persons cannot validly sign a will.

Furtum Latin word for theft. It refers to the offense of stealing movable property. In Roman law, furtum was one of the traditional species of a quasi-delict which is wrong caused by negligence. Furtum includes not only the taking of another's property, but also any handling of the property done with the intent of profiting by it. Furtum was not only a private wrong (delictum) prosecuted by the person suffering the loss but also a public wrong. In order to constitute furtum it was not necessary that the thief should know whose property the thing was. A person who was in the power of another might be the object of furtum. For example, a debtor might commit furtum by taking a thing which s/he had given as a pledge to a creditor; or by taking his/her property when in the possession of a bona fide possessor. Thus there might be furtum either of a moveable thing itself, or of the use of a thing, or of the possession, as it is expressed. A person can also commit furtum by aiding in a furtum as when a person drives away anothers sheep or cattle so that another might get possession of them. Furtum also refers to the thing stolen.


Garnish To withhold from a paycheck or direct withdrawal from a bank account to pay a debt or a claim. To bring a garnishment proceeding or to attach wages or other property pursuant to such a proceeding. Example: Mohan owes money to a department store for several appliances that he purchased on credit. Mohan stopped paying; the store brought a garnishment proceeding against him for the money owed. If the court agrees with the store, it will order that a part of Mohans wages go directly to the store and not to the Mohan.

Garnishment The seizing of a person's property, credit or salary, on the basis of a law which allows it, and for the purposes of paying off a debt. The person who possesses the assets of the debtor and is the subject of the seizure is called a "garnishee". This is frequently used in the enforcement of child support where delinquent debtors will be subjected to salary garnishment. A percentages of their wages is subtracted directly off their pay-check and directed to the person in need of support (the employer being the garnishee).

Gavel A wooden mallet used by a judge to bring proceedings to a start or to an end or to command attention in his or her court.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Multilateral international treaty first created in 1947 and frequently amended (most recently in 1994) to which 125 countries subscribe. GATT provides for fair trade rules and the gradual reduction of tariffs, duties and other trade barriers. The 1994 amendment created a World Trade Organization, which oversees the implementation of the GATT.

General counsel


The senior lawyer of a corporation. This is normally a full-time employee of the corporation although some corporations contract this position out to a lawyer with a private firm.

General Practice dealing in many or numerous areas of the law.

Genetic Testing analysis of inherited factors (usually by blood or tissue test) of mother, child, and alleged father which can help to prove or disprove that a particular man fathered a particular child

Gift over A device used in wills and trusts to provide for the gift of property to a second recipient if a certain event occurs, such as the death of the first recipient. For example, I give you my car but on your death you must give it to your child; that is a gift over to the benefit of your child.

Goodwill An intangible business asset which includes a cultivated reputation and consequential attraction and confidence of repeat customers and connections.

Government the area of law dealing with units of government.

Grand Jury United States criminal justice procedure whereby, in each court district, a group of 16-23 citizens hold an inquiry on criminal complaints brought by the prosecutor and decide if a trial is warranted, in which case an indictment is issued. If a Grand Jury rejects a proposed indictment it is known as a "no bill"; if they accept to endorse a proposed indictment it is known as a "true bill".

Gross negligence Any action or an omission in reckless disregard of the consequences to the safety or property of another. Sometimes referred to as "very


great negligence" and it is more then just neglect of ordinary care towards others or just inadvertence. Also known as the Latin term culpa lata.

Guarantor A person who pledges collateral for the contract of another, but separately, as part of an independently contract with the obligee of the original contract. Compare with "surety."

Guardian An individual who, by legal appointment or by the effect of a written law, is given custodyof both the property and the person of one who is unable to manage their own affairs, such as a child or mentallydisabled person.

Guardian ad litem The person appointed by the court to lookout for the best interests of the child during the course of legal proceedings. A guardian appointed to assist an infant or other mentally incapable defendant or plaintiff, or any such incapacitated person that may be a party in a legal action.

Guidelines a standard method for setting child support obligations based on the income of the parent(s) and other factors as determined by State law

Guillotine A device developed in France to inflict the death penalty through decapitation by the dropping of a weighted and sharp metal blade onto the restrained neck of a convict.


Habeas corpus Latin: a court petition which orders that a person being detained be produced before a judge for a hearing to decide whether the detention is lawful. A challenge made by a prisoner in regards to the legality of his or her detention. The writ ordinarily issued is Habeas corpus, ad subjiciendum, is to secure the release of a person found to be detained illegally. While traditionally a criminal law remedy, it has been used in immigration, child custody, mental health and, more recently, in national or homeland security. The predominant feature of martial law is the suspension of habeas corpus, effectively denying persons detained from having their detention challenged quickly and by an independent court or judge. 5(4) of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights states: "Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful. Habeas corpus was one of the concessions the British Monarch made in the Magna Carta and has stood as a basic individual right against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.

Habitual offender A person who is convicted and sentenced for crimes over a period of time and even after serving sentences of incarceration, such as demonstrates a propensity towards criminal conduct. Reformation techniques fail to alter the behaviour of the habitual offender. Many countries now have special laws that require the long-term incarceration, without parole, of habitual offenders as a means of protecting society in the face of an individual that appears unable to comply with the law.

Harassment Unsolicited words or conduct which tend to annoy, alarm or abuse another person. An excellent alternate definition can be found in Canadian human rights legislation as: "a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known


to be unwelcome." Name-calling ("stupid", "retard" or "dummy") is a common form of harassment. (See also sexual harassment.)

Health Law the area of law focusing on the health care industry.

Hearsay Any 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. For example, if Bob heard from Susan about an accident that Susan witnessed but that Bob had not, and Bob attempted to repeat Susan's story in court, it could be objected to as "hearsay." The basic rule, when testifying in court, is that you can only provide information of which you have direct knowledge. In other words, hearsay evidence is not allowed. Hearsay evidence is also referred to as "second-hand evidence" or as "rumor." You are able to tell a court what you heard, to repeat the rumor, and testify that, in fact, the story you heard was told to you, but under the hearsay rule, your testimony would not be evidence of the actual facts of the story but only that you heard those words spoken.

Hoc loco Latin in this place

Holder Holder in due course A good faith holder who has taken a negotiable instrument for value, without notice that it was over due or had been dishonored or that there was any defense against or claim to it. In property law, the innocent buyer or holder in due course is referred to as a bona fide purchaser.

Homicide The word includes all occasions where one human being, by act or omission, takes away the life of another. Murder and manslaughter are different kinds of homicides. Executing a death-row inmate is another form of homicide, but one which is excusable in the eyes of the law. Another excusable homicide is where a law enforcement officer shoots and kills a suspect who draws a weapon or shoots at that officer.


Hostile witness During an examination-in-chief, a lawyer is not allowed to ask leading questions of their own witness. But, if that witness openly shows hostility against the interests (or the person) that the lawyer represents, the lawyer may ask the court to declare the witness "hostile", after which, as an exception of the examination-in-chief rules, the lawyer may ask their own witness leading questions.

Hung Jury A jury is required to make a unanimous or near unanimous verdict. When the jurors, after full debate and discussion, are unable to agree on a verdict and are deadlocked with differences of opinion that appear to be irreconcilable, it is said to be a "hung jury". The result is a mistrial.

HusbandHusband-wife privilege A special right that married persons have to keep communications between them secret and even inaccessible to a court of law. While this privilege may have been varied in some Countries, it has always been held to be lifted where one spouse commits a crime on the other. Similar to the client-solicitor privilege.

Id est (i.e.) That is

Incorporeal Legal rights which are intangible such as copyrights or patents.

Incorporeal hereditament An incorporeal right which is attached to property and which is inheritable. Easements and profits prendre are examples of


incorporeal hereditaments as are hereditary titles such as those common in the United Kingdom.

In curia Latin in court

Indefeasible A right or title in property that cannot be made void, defeated or canceled by any past event, error or omission in the title. For example, certificates of title issued under a Torrens land titles system is said to be "indefeasible" because the government warrants that no interest burdens the title other than those on the certificate. This makes long and expensive title searches unnecessary.

Indictable offence An offence which, in Canada, is more serious than those which can proceed by summary conviction. This is the Canadian equivalent to the USA "felony". Murder and treason are examples of crimes committed in Canada which would be indictable offences. These crimes are usually tried by federally-appointed judges and carry heavy sentences.

Indictment In United States a formal written accusation, drawn up and submitted under oath to a Grand Jury by the public prosecuting attorney, charging one or more person with a crime. The grand jury must determine whether the accusation, if proved, would be sufficient for conviction of the accused, in which case the indictment is indorsed by the foreman as a TRUE BILL. Once an indictment is filed, the matter passes to the court. Indictments also serve to inform an accused of the offense with which he is charged and must be clear enough to enable him to prepare his defense adequately. Compare charge; complaint; information; presentment.

Infanticide Murder of an infant soon after its birth.



A court order that prohibits a party from doing something (restrictive injunction) or compels them to do something (mandatory injunction). A remedy afforded by courts of equity to protect a plaintiff from irreparable injury to his property or rights when they are threatened by acts or impending acts of the defendant. The remedy consists of an order or command of the court directing the defendant to refrain or desist from committing or from continuing the act complained of or to undo the effects of an act already committed.

Injuria sine (or absque) demno A wrong or insult without compensable damage. The law compensates any- one who has been hurt or injured through the negligence or tort of another by the award of damages. If no damage has been sustained, the law will not entertain an action even if a wrong has been committed. In some instances, however, the law will allow nominal or punitive damages.

In limine Latin; at the very beginning or threshold. A motion "in limine" is a motion that is tabled by one of the parties at the very beginning of the legal procedures. A motion in limine is a pretrial motion which seeks to prevent opposing counsel from referring to evidence which may be irrelevant or prejudicial until the court has had an opportunity to rule on the evidence at the proper juncture in the trial.

Immediate Wage Withholding automatic deductions from income which start as soon as the agreement for support is established (see wage withholding).

Immigration Law the area of law dealing with persons who come into a country of which one is not a native for permanent residence.

Immunity An exemption that a person (individual or corporate) enjoys from the normal operation of the law such as a legal duty or liability, either criminal or civil. For example, diplomats enjoy "diplomatic immunity" which means that they cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed during their tenure as diplomat. Another example of an immunity is


where a witness agrees to testify only if the testimony cannot be used at some later date during a hearing against the witness.

In pari delicto Latin: both parties are equally at fault. Actually, the usual use of this phrase is "in pari delicto, potior est conditio possidentis" which means that where both parties in a dispute are equally at wrong, the person in possession of the contested property will retain it (ie. the law will not intervene).

In pari juri In equal right, with equal right.

In pari materia (Upon the same matter or subject) It is a legal argot used in the context of interpreting statutes. The common maxim is that statutes, in pari material are to be construed together. Statutes in pari material are those relating to the same person or thing or having a common purpose. Statutes in pari materia take light from each other. E.g. as is usually the case in civilian interpretation methodology, several articles are to be considered in pari material cases. On a similar or intertwined subject matter. A rule of statutory construction which provides that all relevant legislation, whether sections of one statute or parts of several statutes, dealing with a particular subject or directed to a common purpose, should be read and interpreted together to determine the legislative intent. The rule may be applied also in the interpretation of instruments and contracts.

In pari passu On an equal footing, requiring equal treatment.

In personam Latin: All legal rights are either in personam or in rem. An in personam right is a personal right attached to a specific person. In rem rights are property rights and enforceable against the entire world.



[L. inquiro, inquirere / to investigate, inquire into, search for] An official investigation or inquiry to discover facts, especially about a death which may not have been the result of natural causes or to find out the reasons of unnatural death. The coroners investigation into the circumstances of a suspicious death.

In rem Latin: All legal rights are either in personam or in rem. In rem rights are proprietary in nature; related to the ownership of property and not based on any personal relationship, as is the case with in personam rights.

In situ Latin: In legal contexts, in situ is often used for its literal meaning. For example, in Maharastra, "in situ land exchange" involves the government exchanging the original or expired lease of a piece of land with a new grant or re-grant with the same piece of land or a portion of that.

In solidum Latin: The whole, In a situation where several co-obligants are bound in solidum each is liable full payment of performance. The creditor may choose which of the obligants she/he will sue. Every person, whose name appears on a bill, whether as acceptor or endorser, is liable in full payment of its contents. After payment, she/he may do so diligence against the others for relief. Term in solidum is contrasted with term pro rata To be bound pro rata is in a joint obligation to not be bound for the whole but only for their share.

Insolvent A person not able to pay his or her debts as they become due. "Insolvency" is a prerequisite to bankruptcy.

Insurance Insurance Law the area of law that deals with insurance and insurance carriers. Insurance can be defined as coverage by contract whereby for an agreed payment one party agrees to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by a specified contingency or loss.


Intellectual Property Law Intellectual the area of law dealing with an idea, invention, trade secret, process, program, data, formula, patent, copyright, or trademark or application, right, or registration (often times referred to as copyright, patent or trademark law).

Intellectual Intellectual Property/Technology a mechanism for resolving disputes that exists outside the state or federal judicial system specifically relating to an idea, invention, trade secret, process, program, data, formula, patent, copyright, or trademark or application, right, or registration (often times referred to as copyright, patent or trademark law). (see also arbitration and mediation).

Inter alia Latin: "among other things", "for example" or "including". Legal drafters would use it to precede a list of examples or samples covered by a more general descriptive statement. Sometimes they use an inter alia list to make absolutely sure that users of the document understand that the general description covers a certain element (which was covered in the general description anyway) without, in any way, restricting the scope of the general element to include other things that were not singled out in the inter alia list.

Inter partes Latin: between parties.

Inter vivos Latin: from one living person to another living person. For example, an inter vivos trust is one which the settlor sets up to take effect while he or she is still alive. It can be contrasted with the testamentary trust, which is to take effect only upon the settlor's death. Another example is the sale of a life estate which can only occur between persons living; i.e. inter vivos.

interim order


A temporary court order; intended to be of limited duration, usually just until the court has had an opportunity of hearing the full case and make a final order.

Interlineation An addition of something to a document after it has been signed. Such additions are ignored unless they are initialed by the signatories and, if applicable, witnesses (eg. wills).

Interlocutory Proceedings taken during the course of, and incidental to a trial. Examples include procedures or applications made which are to assist a case in preparing its case or of executing judgment once obtained (eg. garnishment or judicial sale). These decisions intervene after the start of a suit and decide some issue other than the final decision itself.

Interlocutory injunction An injunction which lasts only until the end of the trial during which the injunction was sought.

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

International Law a group of laws, rules, or principles that are based on custom, treaties, or legislation and that control or affect the duties and rights of sovereign nations in relation to each other.

Internet Law the area of law that focuses on the Internet. The Internet is defined as an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world.

Inter se


Latin among themselves.

Intestate Dying without a will.

Inure To take effect, to result; to come into operation.

verba Ipsissima verba The very words of a speaker.

Ipse dixit Literally, he himself said it; he was the source. A statement without any authority or precedent except the statement itself. A bald, unproved statement. Sometimes used in place of dictum.

Ipso facto Really, by that very fact itself; in and of itself; the inevitable result. The end of a marriage results ipso facto from a decree of divorce.

Islamic law The law according to the Muslim faith and as interpreted from the Koran. Islamic law is probably best known for deterrent punishment, which is the basis of the Islamic criminal system and the fact that there is no separation of church and state. Under Islamic law, the religion of Islam and the government are one. Islamic law is controlled, ruled and regulated by the Islamic religion. Islamic law purports to regulate all public and private behavior including personal hygiene, diet, sexual conduct, and child rearing. Islamic law now prevails in countries all over the middle east and elsewhere covering twenty per cent of the world's population.


Jactation, Jactation, Jactitation A boastful public statement which is usually false; e.g. a false claim of marriage; a false or slanderous claim of title. Also, violent movement of the body. A false boast designed to increase standing at the expense of another. This used to form the basis of an ancient legal petition called "jactitation of marriage" wherein a person could be ordered by the courts to cease claims of being married to a certain person when, in fact, they were not married. The tort of slander of title is a form of jactitation.

JamaJama-bandi A rent-roll; a roll showing both revenue and rent dues in a village (meaning varies according to the system) settlement of the amount of revenue assed upon an estate, a village, or district; a village or district rent roll; a register of the village holding: Settlement of the amount of revenue assed upon an estate, a village or district; a village or district rent rolls a register of the village holdings; a statement exhibiting the particulars of the public revenue, its amount, and how assed; annual statement of revenue with cultivators, or Ryotwari settlement; an annul statement, modified according to the circumstances under which the revenue is paid, whether by individuals or communities, and whether to the Zamindar or to the government.

J.N.O.V. (Judgement non obstante verdicto) Judgement notwithstanding the verdict. A judgement by the court for one party after, and despite the fact that, the jury has entered a verdict for the other party.

Joint custody A child custody decision which means that both parents share joint legal custody and joint physical custody. This is not very common and many professionals have taken to referring to "joint legal custody but sole maternal physical custody" as "joint custody".

Joint tenancy When two or more persons are equally owners of some property. The unique aspect of joint tenancy is that as the joint tenancy owners


die, their shares accrue to the surviving owner(s) so that, eventually, the entire share is held by one person. A valid joint tenancy is said to require the "four unities": unity of interest (each joint tenant must have an equal interest including equality of duration and extent), unity of title (the interests must arise from the same document), unity of possession (each joint tenant must have an equal right to occupy the entire property) and unity of time: the interests of the joint tenants must arise at the same time.

Judicial review When a court decision is appealed, it is known as an "appeal." But there are many administrative agencies or tribunals which make decisions or deliver government services of one sort or another, the decisions of which can also be "appealed." In many cases, the "appeal" from administrative agencies is known as "judicial review" which is essentially a process where a court of law is asked to rule on the appropriateness of the administrative agency or tribunal's decision. Judicial review is a fundamental principle of administrative law. A distinctive feature of judicial review is that the "appeal" is not usually limited to errors in law but may be based on alleged errors on the part of the administrative agency on findings of fact.

Jure Latin, from Roman law: by right, under legal authority or by the authority of the law. A variation, "juris" means "of right" or "of the law." See jurisprudence below which means "science of the law."

Jurisdiction legal authority which a court has over particular persons, certain types of cases, and in a defined geographical area.

Jurisprudence Technically, jurisprudence means the "science of law". Statutes articulate the bland rules of law, with only rare reference to factual situations. The actual application of these statutes to facts is left to judges who consider not only the statute but also other legal rules which might be relevant to arrive at a judicial decision; hence, the "science". Thus, jurisprudence" has come to refer to case law, or the legal decisions which have developed and which accompany statutes in applying the law against situations of fact.


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.

Jus Latin: word which, in Roman law, meant the law or a right. Also spelt "ius" in some English translations. For example, public law was called "jus publicum" and private law was called "jus privatum."

et Jus spatiandi et manendi Latin: referring to a legal right of way, and to enjoyment, granted to the public but only for the purposes of recreation or education, such as upon parks or public squares. Very similar to an easement of which some courts have said a jus spatiandi is a special type.

Justice Fairness. A state of affairs in which conduct or action is both fair and right, given the circumstances. In law, it more specifically refers to the paramount obligation to ensure that all persons are treated fairly. Litigants "seek justice" by asking for compensation for wrongs committed against them; to right the inequity such that, with the compensation, a wrong has been righted and the balance of "good" or "virtue" over "wrong" or "evil" has been corrected.

Juvenile Law the area of law that deals with juvenile delinquency proceedings or other court proceedings involving minors (those under the age of 18).

Labor & Employment Law


this area of the law encompasses a wide variety of issues like Pension Plans, Retirement, Occupational Safety & Health Regulations, Affirmative Action and Sexual Harassment. Employment lawyers can show businesses how to reduce their risk of employment litigation and how to comply with state and local laws. Employment lawyers can also help protect workers when their rights are being violated. Often an employment lawyer will concentrate on representing either workers or employers.

Laches A legal doctrine whereby those who take too long to assert a legal right, lose their entitlement to compensation. Doctrine of laches is based upon maxim that equity aids the vigilant and not those who slumber on their rights. It is defined as neglect to assert a right or claim which, taken together with lapse of time and other circumstances causing prejudice to adverse party, operates as bar in court of equity. Early in its history, Chancery developed the doctrine that where the plaintiff in equity delayed beyond the period of the statute applicable at law, relief would be refused on the ground of laches even though no specific prejudice to the defendant was shown. Today, in most states, there are statutes of limitations applying to suits in equity. Despite these, however, the doctrine still holds that even if the delay is for a shorter period of time than that of the statute, it may still bar equitable relief if it is unreasonable and prejudicial to the defendant.

Landlord A land or building owner who has leased the land, the building or a part of the land or building, to another person.

Landlord/Tenant an area of the law dealing with the relationship between the owner of property and the person(s) renting or leasing that property from the owner.

Larceny An old English criminal and common law offense covering the unlawful or fraudulent removal of another's property without the owner's consent. The offense of theft now covers most cases of larceny. But larceny is wider than theft as it includes the taking of property of another person by whatever means (by theft, overtly, by


fraud, by trickery, etc.) if an intent exists to convert that property to one's own use against the wishes of the owner.

Law All the rules of conduct that have been approved by the government and which are in force over a certain territory and which must be obeyed by all persons on that territory (eg. the "laws" of Australia). Violation of these rules could lead to government action such as imprisonment or fine, or private action such as a legal judgement against the offender obtained by the person injured by the action prohibited by law. Synonymous to act or statute although in common usage, "law" refers not only to legislation or statutes but also to the body of unwritten law in those states which recognize common law.

Lawyer A person that has been trained in the law and that has been certified to give legal advice or to represent others in litigation. Also known as a "barrister & solictor" or an attorney.

Leading question A question which suggests an answer; usually answerable by "yes" or "no". For example: "Did you see David at 3 p.m.?" These are forbidden to ensure that the witness is not coached by their lawyer through his or her testimony. The proper form would be: "At what time did you see David?" Leading questions are only acceptable in cross-examination or where a witness is declared hostile.

Lease A special kind of contract between a property owner and a person wanting temporary enjoyment and use of the property, in exchange for rent paid to the property owner. Where the property is land, a building, or parts of either, the property owner is called a landlord and the person that contracts to receive the temporary enjoyment and use is called a tenant.

Leasehold Leasehold Real property held under a lease.

Legal custody


A child custody decision which entails the right to make, or participate in, the significant decisions affecting a child's health and welfare (compare with physical custody and joint custody).

Ethics Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility the area of law that involves the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group, specifically the legal industry.

Legal Father a man who is recognized by law as the male parent

Legislation Written and approved laws. Also known as "statutes" or "acts." In constitutional law, one would talk of the "power to legislate" or the "legislative arm of government" referring to the power of political bodies (eg: house of assembly, Congress, Parliament) to write the laws of the land.

Liability Any legal obligation, either due now or at some time in the future. It could be a debt or a promise to do something. To say a person is "liable" for a debt or wrongful act is to indicate that they are the person responsible for paying the debt or compensating the wrongful act.

Libel Defamation by writing such as in a newspaper or a letter.

Liberal construction A form of construction which allows a judge to consider other factors when deciding the meaning of a phrase or document. For example, faced with an ambiguous article in a statute, a liberal construction would allow a judge to consider the purpose and object of a statute before deciding what the article actually means.

Liberalised Liberalised family pension (LFP)


Indian Army grants the Liberalised Family Pension to the families of the Armed Forces personnel killed in war or war like operations, counter insurgency operations or in an encounter with or in incident involving armed hostiles, terrorists/ extremists, anti-social elements etc, are entitled to the Liberalised Family Pension. Presently, it is admissible as under:Widow: Liberalised Family Pension equal to the reckonable emoluments last drawn by the deceased is payable to the widow in the case of officers and to the nominated heir in the case of JCOs/ORs until death or disqualification. Wef 1.1.96 in case of remarriage of the widow, full liberalised family pension continues to be admissible to her if she continues to support the children or has no children. If she does not support children after remarriage, ordinary family pension at 30% to widow and special family pension at 60% to eligible children are admissible. . Children: If the personnel is not survived by widow but is survived Children: by child/children only, all children together are eligible to liberalised family pension at the rate equal to 60% of reckonable emoluments last drawn by the deceased. LFP is paid to the senior most eligible child till he/she attains the age of 25 years or up to the date of his/her marriage whichever is earlier and thereafter the LFP is passed on to the next eligible child w.e.f. 1.1.96, in the case of eligible child is physically or mentally handicapped and unable to earn livelihood, LFP is admissible for life. Widowed/divorced daughters upto the age of 25 years or marriage whichever is earlier has been included in the definition of family for the purpose of Liberalised Family Pension. . Parents: Where an officer dies as a bachelor or as a widower without children, dependent pension is admissible to parents without reference to their pecuniary circumstances at the rate of 75% of the LFP for both parents and @of 60% for a single parent.

License A special permission to do something on, or with, somebody else's property which, were it not for the license, could be legally prevented or give rise to legal action in tort or trespass. A common example is allowing a person to walk across your lawn which, if it were not for the license, would constitute trespass. Licenses are revocable at will (unless supported by a contract) and, as such, differs from an easement (the latter conveying a legal interest in the land). Licenses which are not based on a contract and which are fully revocable are called "simple" or "bare" licenses. A common example is the shopping mall to which access by the public is on the basis of an implied license.



A property right which remains attached to an object that has been sold, but not totally paid for, until complete payment has been made. It may involve possession of the object until the debt is paid or it may be registered against the object (especially if the object is real estate). Ultimately, a lien can be enforced by a court sale of the property to which it attached and then the debt is paid off from the proceeds of the sale.

Life estate A right to use and to enjoy land and/or structures on land only for the life of the life tenant. The estate reverts back to the grantor (or to some other person), at the death of the person to whom it is given. A property right to last only for the life of the life tenant is called the estate "pur sa vie." If it is for the duration of the life of a third party, it is called an estate "pur autre vie". The rights of the life tenant are restricted to conduct which does not permanently change the land or structures upon it.

Life tenant The beneficiary of a life estate.

Limited partner A unique colleague in a partnership relationship who has agreed to be liable only to the extent of his (or her) investment. Limited partners, though, have no right to manage the partnership. Limited partners are usually just investors or promoters who seek the tax benefits of a partnership.

Limitrophe Adjacent, bordering or contiguous.

Lineal descendant A person who is a direct descendant such as a child to his or her natural parent.

Liquidation The selling of all the assets of a debtor and the use of the cash proceeds of the sale to pay off creditors.


Lis pendens Latin: a dispute or matter which is the subject of ongoing or pending litigation. Politicians will sometimes refuse to discuss a matter or an issue which is "lis pendens" because they do not want their comments to be perceived as an attempt to influence a court of law.

Literal construction A form of construction which does not allow evidence extrapolated beyond the actual words of a phrase or document but, rather, takes a phrase or document at face value, giving effect only to the actual words used. Also known as "strict" or "strict and literal" construction. Contrasts with liberal construction (which allows for the input from other factors such as the purpose of the document being interpreted).

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

Livery Delivery. An archaic legal word from the feudal system referring to the actual legal transmission of possession of an object to another. For example, a knight would obtain an estate in land as tenure in exchange for serving in the king's army for 40 days a year. The king would give exclusive possession of the land, (i.e. "livery") to the knight. A writ of livery also developed which allowed persons to sue for possession of land under the feudal system. Livery (or "delivery") of the land was important in completing legal possession or, as it was known in the feudal system, seisin.

Living will A document that sets out guidelines for dealing with life-sustaining medical procedures in the eventuality of the signatory's sudden debilitation. Living wills would, for example, inform medical staff not to provide extraordinary life-preserving procedures on their bodies if they are incapable of expressing themselves and suffering from an incurable and terminal condition.

LL.B., L.M. or LL.D.


The Latin abbreviations for the three classes of law degrees: Legum Baccalaureus i.e.(LL.B.) the regular bachelors degree in laws, Legum Magister i.e. the masters degree in laws (LL.M.) and Legum Doctor i.e. the doctorate in law (LL.D.). These are basic prerequisites to admission to the practice of law in many states.

Locus delicti Latin "locus delicti" as the pace where a criminal offense was committed or "loco parentis" to refer to a person who stands in the place of a parent such as a step-parent in a common law relationship.

Locus in quo Scene of the event

Locus standi Latin for "the place where one stands." A litigants standing in court. The right to appear and be heard before a body such as a court, a legislature, a committee, etc.

Long arm statutes Each court is bound to a territorial jurisdiction and does not normally have jurisdiction over persons that reside outside of that jurisdiction. For example, a court in Scotland would not normally have jurisdiction over a resident of Ireland. Long-arm statutes are a tool which gives a court jurisdiction over a person even though the person no longer resides in the territory limits of the court. For example, UIFSA allows a court to have jurisdiction over a non-resident support payor. .

Magna Carta


Charter to which subscribed King John of England on June 12, 1215 in which a basic set of limits were set on the King's powers. King John had ruled tyrannically. His barons rebelled and committed themselves to war with King John unless he agreed to the Charter. Held to be the precursor of habeas corpus as Article 39 of the Magna Carta held that no man shall be "imprisoned, exiled or destroyed ... except by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land".

Magnum opus Latin a great work of someones life.

Maintenance Refers to the obligation of one person to contribute, in part or in whole, to the cost of living of another person. Maintenance is usually expressed in a currency amount per month as in "$450 a month maintenance." Some countries prefer the words "support" (spousal or child) or "alimony" but they all mean the same thing.

Malfeasance Doing something which is illegal. Compare with misfeasance and nonfeasance.

Malpractice Defense the area of law that focuses on representing those professionals who have been accused of negligence, misconduct, lack of ordinary skill, or a breach of duty in the performance of a professional service (medicine, law, etc.) resulting in injury or loss.

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.

Manslaughter Accidental homicide or homicide which occurs without an intent to kill, and which does not occur during the commission of another crime or under extreme provocation.


Maritime law A very specific body of law peculiar to transportation by water, seamen and harbors.

Marriage The state-recognized, voluntary and exclusive contract for the lifelong union of two persons. Most countries do not recognize marriage between same-sex couples or polygamous marriages.

Matrimony The legal state of being married. Ecclesiastics talk of the "holy" state of matrimony.

Mediation a process of non-binding intervention between parties to promote resolution of a grievance, reconciliation, settlement, or compromise outside of the court system (see also mediation and alternative dispute resolution)

Medicaid Program federally funded medical support for low income families.

Medical Support legal provision for payment of medical and dental bills.

Mens rea Latin for "guilty mind." Many serious crimes require the proof of "mens rea" before a person can be convicted. In other words, the prosecution must prove not only that the accused committed the offence but that he (or she) did it knowing that it was prohibited; that their act (or omission) was done with an intent to commit a crime.

Mergers & Acquisitions the area of law that involves the acquisition of or merging of a corporation of one or more others and/or any of various methods of combining two or more organizations.


Military Law law that is enforced by the military rather than civil authority.

Minor A person who is legally underage. It varies between 21 and 18 years of age. Each state sets an age threshold at which time a person is invested with all legal rights as an adult. For many new adults, this may mean access to places serving alcohol and the right to purchase and consume alcohol, smoke cigarettes and drive a car. But there are many other legal rights which a minor does not have such as, in some states, the right to own land, to sign a contract or to get married.

Minutes The official record of a meeting. Some minutes include a summary (not verbatim) of the discussion along with any resolutions. Other minutes just contain a record of the decisions. Minutes start off with the name of the organization, the place and date of the meeting and the name of those person's present. Minutes are prepared by the corporate secretary and signed by either the president or secretary.

Miranda warning Also known as the "Miranda Rule, this is the name given to the requirement that police officers, in the U.S.A., must warn suspects upon arrest that they have the right to remain silent, that any statement that they make could be used against them in a court of law, that they have the right to contact a lawyer and that if they cannot afford a lawyer, that one will be provided before any questioning is so desired. Failure to issue the Miranda warning results in the evidence so obtained to not be admissible in the court. The warning became a national police requirement when ordered by the US Supreme Court in the 1966 case Miranda v. Arizona and that is how it got the name. Supreme Court of India has adopted this principle in the case of Nandini Satpathy (a former chief minister of Orissa) vs. P.L. Dani AIR 1977 SC 1025 while widening the scope of article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution.

MisMis-joinder When a person has been named as a party to a law suit when that person should not have been added. When this is asserted, a court


will usually accommodate a request to amend the court documents to strike, or substitute for, the name of the mis-joined party. Compare with non-joinder.

Misdemeanor (USA) A crime of lesser seriousness than a felony where the punishment might be a fine or prison for less than one year.

Misfeasance Improperly doing something which a person has the legal right to do. Compare with malfeasance and nonfeasance.

Misrepresentation A false and material statement which induces a party to enter into a contract. This is a ground for rescission of the contract.

Mistrial A partial or complete trial which is found to be null and void and of no effect because of some irregularity. The sudden end of trial before it would ordinarily end because of some reason which invalidates it. Once a mistrial is declared, the situation is as if the trial had never occurred. Some common reasons for a mistrial include a deadlocked jury, the death of a juror or a serious procedural and prejudicial mistake made at the trial which cannot be corrected.

Mitigating circumstances These are facts that, while not negating an offence or wrongful action, tend to show that the defendant may have had some grounds for acting the way he/she did. For example, assault, though provoked, is still assault but provocation may constitute mitigating circumstances and allow for a lesser sentence.

Mitigation of damages A person who sues another for damages has a responsibility to minimize those damages, as far as reasonable. For example, in a wrongful dismissal suit, the person that was fired should make some effort to find another job so as to minimize the economic damage on themselves.


Mittimus Latin: Literally, we send. A warrant granted for sending to prison a person charged with crime (Law): A writ by which a record is transferred out of one court to another (Law). The writ is used to transfer court records from one court to another. Also, a writ directing a sherriff to seize and hold a defendant and to a jailkeeper to keep the prisoner under the courts direction.

MNaghten Rule The common law test of criminal responsibility under which a person was not responsible for criminal acts and was thus entitle to an acquittal by reason of insanity if as a result of mental disease or defect he or she did not understand what he or she did or that it was wrong, or if he or she was under a delusion(but not otherwise insane) that, if true, would have provided a good defense (as where the defendant thought he or she was acting in self-defense or carrying out the will of god). This is called the right and wrong test because it is often said that one was not insane under MNaghten rule if he or she could distinguish right from wrong. The test has been criticised as too restrictive and has been changed in many jurisdictions.

MNREGA Acronyms for The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 the act aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas of India by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

Modus operandi Latin: method of operation. Used by law enforcement officials to refer to a criminal's preferred method of committing crime. For example, car thief "George" may have a break and enter technique that leaves a long scratch mark on the door. Upon discovery of a stolen vehicle with such a mark, the law enforcement officials might include "George" in the list of suspects because the evidence at the crime scene is consistent with his "modus operandi."

Moiety Half of something. For example, it can be said that joint tenants hold a moiety in property. In old criminal law, there were "moiety acts"


which allowed half of the fine money to be handed over to the informer.

Money Laundering Money laundering, at its simplest, is the act of making money that comes from Source A look like it comes from Source B. Money laundering is a crime if it is used to disguise the origins of illegallyobtained money, because the proceeds of a crime are made to appear legitimate. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication from simple to complex. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount of money laundered, either worldwide or within their national economy. In 1996 the International Monetary Fund estimated that two to five percent of the worldwide global economy involved laundered money. However, the FATF, an intergovernmental body set up to combat money laundering, admitted that "overall it is absolutely impossible to produce a reliable estimate of the amount of money laundered and therefore the FATF does not publish any figures in this regard." Academic commentators have likewise been unable to estimate the volume of money with any degree of assurance. Regardless of the difficulty in measurement, the amount of money laundered each year is in the billions and poses a significant policy concern for governments. As a result, governments and international bodies have undertaken efforts to deter, prevent and apprehend money launderers. Financial institutions have likewise undertaken efforts to prevent and detect transactions involving dirty money, both as a result of government requirements and to avoid the reputational risk involved. Indian parliament framed The Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002; it came into effect on 1 July 2005. Section 12 (1) prescribes the obligations on banks, financial institutions and intermediaries (a) to maintain records detailing the nature and value of transactions which may be prescribed, whether such transactions comprise of a single transaction or a series of transactions integrally connected to each other, and where such series of transactions take place within a month; (b) to furnish information of transactions referred to in clause (a) to the Director within such time as may be prescribed and t records of the identity of all its clients. Section 12 (2) prescribes that the records referred to in sub-section (1) as mentioned above, must be maintained for ten


years after the transactions finished. It is handled by the Indian Income Tax Department. The provisions of the Act are frequently reviewed and various amendments have been passed from time to time. The recent activity in money laundering in India is through political parties, corporate companies and share market. It is investigated by the Indian Income Tax Department.

Monopoly A commercial advantage enjoyed by only one or a select few companies in which only those companies can trade in a certain area. Some monolopoies are legal, such as those temporarily created by patents. Others are secretly built by conspiracy between two or more companies and are prohibited by law.

Moot Also called a "moot point": a side issue, problem or question which does not have to be decided to resolve the main issues in a dispute.

Moot court Fictional or hypothetical trial, usually hosted by law schools, as training for future barristers or litigators.

Moratorium The temporary suspension of legal action against a person.

Mortgage An interest given on a piece of land, in writing, to guarantee the payment of a debt or the execution of some action. It automatically becomes void when the debt is paid or the action is executed. In some jurisdictions, it entails a conveyance of the land until the debt is paid in full. The person lending the money and receiving the mortgage is called the mortgagee; the person who concedes a mortgage as security upon their property is called a mortgagor.


MOU Abbreviation for "Memorandum of Understanding." A document which, if meeting the other criteria, can be, in law, a contract. Generally, in the world of commerce or international negotiations, a MOU is considered to be a preliminary document; not a comprehensive agreement between two parties but rather an interim or partial agreement on some elements, in some cases a mere agreement in principle, on which there has been accord. Most MOU's imply that something more is eventually expected.

Murder Intentional homicide (the taking of another person's life), without legal justification or provocation.

Mutatis Mutatis mutandis With the necessary changes having been made. With the respective differences having been considered. The necessary changes having been made; having substituted new terms; with respective differences taken into consideration. Things being changed. E.g. a proprietor of an estate fues his land and the fue contracts all contain the same general clauses, the same obligations on the feuars and confer the same rights. In such a case two of the feu charters are said to be the same mutatis mutandis, that is, they are the same, if(or when) the name of the disponee, the particular description of the lands feud, and other suchlike particulars which are peculiar to each, are changed.

Nation A group or race of people that share history, traditions and culture. The United Kingdom is comprised of four nations or national groups: the English, Scots, Irish and Welsh. Canada includes FrenchCanadians, English-Canadians and a number of aboriginal nations. Thus, states may be comprised of one or several nations. It is


common English to use the word "nation" when referring to what is known in law as "states."

National treatment A tenet of international trade agreements whereby nations must afford imported goods the same treatment that they afford domestic or "national" products (no discrimination).

Natural justice A word used to refer to situations where audi alteram partem (the right to be heard) and nemo judex in parte sua (no person may judge their own case) apply. The principles of natural justice were derived from the Romans who believed that some legal principles were "natural" or self-evident and did not require a statutory basis. These two basic legal safeguards govern all decisions by judges or government officials when they take quasi-judicial or judicial decisions.

n.b. Nota bene Latin abbrieved form n.b. take notice, Mark well.

NCND Agreement An international trade instrument; "non circumvention/non disclosure agreement" used in the preliminary stages of a business transaction where the Seller and Buyer do not know each other, but are brought into contact with each other by one or more intermediaries (also known as brokers or middlemen), to fulfill the transaction. Non Circumvention/Non Disclosure Agreements ensure that the intermediaries in the transaction are not cicumvented and excluded from the transaction by the Buyer and/or Seller and/or the other intermediaries. Many trade transactions are chain-like. Product flows like this: seller-broker-broker-broker-buyer. The brokers in the middle use NCNDs to ensure that they are not circumvented by anyone else in the chain; also, to ensure that information on the other parties in the chain is not disclosed to outside parties. They are valid for a specified term; usually two years.

Negligence Not only are people responsible for the intentional harm they cause, but their failure to act as a reasonable person would be expected to


act in similar circumstances (i.e. "negligence") will also give rise to compensation. Negligence, if it causes injury to another, can give rise to a liability suit under tort. Negligence is always assessed having regards to the circumstances and to the standard of care which would reasonably be expected of a person in similar circumstances. Everybody has a duty to ensure that their actions do not cause harm to others. Between negligence and the intentional act there lies yet another, more serious type of negligence which is called gross negligence. Gross negligence is any action or an omission in reckless disregard of the consequences to the safety or property of another. See also contributory negligence and comparative negligence.

Negotiate To communicate on a matter of disagreement between two parties, with a view to first listen to the other party's perspective and to then attempt to arrive at a resolution by consensus.

Nemo judex in parte sua Latin and a fundamental principle of natural justice which states that no person can judge a case in which he or she is party. May also be called nemo judex in sua causa or nemo debet esse judex in propria causa.

Next of kin The nearest blood relative of a deceased. The expression has come to describe those persons most related to a dead person and therefore set to inherit the decesased's property.

Nolo contendere Latin for "I will not defend it." Used primarily in criminal proceedings whereby the defendant declines to refute the evidence of the prosecution. In some jurisdictions, this response by the defendant has same effect as a plea of guilty.

Non est factum Latin for "not his deed" and a special defense in contract law to allow a person to avoid having to respect a contract that she or he signed because of certain reasons such as a mistake as to the kind of contract. For example, a person who signs away the deed to a


house, thinking that the document signed was only a guarantee for another person's debt, might be able to plead non est factum in a court and on that basis get the court to void the contract.

NonNon-joinder When a person who should have been made a party to a legal proceedings has been forgotten or omitted. This is usually addressed by asking the court to amend documents and including the forgotten party to the proceedings. It is the opposite of mis-joinder.

Parent Noncustodial Parent parent who does not have primary custody of a child.

Nonfeasance Not doing something that a person should be doing. Compare with malfeasance and misfeasance.

Non obstante clause Latin Notwithstanding clause Words anciently used in public and private instruments, intended to preclude, in advance, any interpretation contrary to certain declared objects or purposes. A clause frequent in old English statutes and letters patent, (so termed from its initial words,) importing a license from the crown to do a thing which otherwise a person would be restrained by act of parliament from doing. A power in the crown to dispense with the laws in any particular case. This was abolished by the bill of rights at the Revolution.

Notary Also known as "notary public": a legal officer with specific judicial authority to attest to legal documents usually with an official seal. Most countries do not have notaries vesting administrative legal authority in lawyers or court officers. Jurisdictions which do have notaries include the Canadian provinces of Quebec and British Columbia and Australia.

Notwithstanding In spite of, even if, without regard to or impediment by other things.


Novation Substitute a new debt for an old debt cancelling the old debt. (Compare with "subrogation")

Nudum pactum A contract-law term which stands for those agreements which are without consideration, such as a unilateral undertaking, which may bind a person morally, but not under contract law, in those jurisdictions which still require consideration.

Nuisance Excessive or unlawful use of one's property to the extent of unreasonable annoyance or inconvenience to a neighbor or to the public. Nuisance is a tort.

Nunc pro tunc Latin: now for then. It refers to the doing of something late (after it should have been done in the first place), with effect as if it had been done on time.

Nursing Home Neglect the area of law focusing on the establishments that provide maintenance and personal or nursing care for persons who are unable to care for themselves.

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

Obiter dictum


Latin: Incidental remark, an observation by a judge on a matter not specifically before the court or not necessary in determining the issue before the court; a side opinion which does not form part of the judgment for the purposes of stare decisis May also be referred to as "dicta" or "dictum."

Obligation amount of money to be paid as support by the responsible parent and the manner by which it is to be paid .

Obligee The person who is to receive the benefit of someone else's obligation; that "someone else" being the obligor. Also called a "promisee." Some countries refer to the recipient of family support as an "obligee".

Obligor A person who is contractually or legally, committed or obliged, to providing something to another person; the recipient of the benefit being called the obligee. Also known as the "promisor."

Obscenity An elusive concept used in the context of criminal law to describe a publication which is illegal because it is morally corruptive. The common law has struggled with this word as society has evolved towards greater tolerance of alternative sexual behavior. Historically, it included any lewd material which had no apparent social value, which was offensive to contemporary community standards of decency, and even material which tended to invoke impure sexual thoughts. As an example of a modern definition, Canada has defined obscene material as any publication a dominant characteristic of which is the undue exploitation of sex, or of sex and crime, horror, cruelty or violence.

Obstructing justice An act which tends to impede or thwart the administration of justice. Examples include trying to bribe a witness or juror or providing law enforcement officers with information known to be false.


Offense A crime; any act which contravenes the criminal law of the state in which it occurs. Spelled "offence" in Commonwealth countries.

Offer A explicit proposal to contract which, if accepted, completes the contract and binds both the person that made the offer and the person accepting the offer to the terms of the contract. See also "acceptance".

Offset amount of money taken from a parent`s State or Federal income tax refund to satisfy a child support debt.

Offshore Banking & Trusts/Asset Protection an area of law that involves financial transactions under the laws of a country other than the United States. Some countries (particularly in the Caribbean) are popular nations of financial transactions since they have little corporate regulation or taxes and only moderate management fees. Professional trustees in the country perform routine contacts with the local government but take no active part in management.

Ombudsman or Lokpal A government official, especially in Scandinavian countries, who investigates citizens' complaints against the government or its functionaries. In India, Ombudsman is called as Lokpal or Lokayukta. An Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was set up on 5 January 1966 under the Chairmanship of Shri Morarji Desai. It recommended a two-tier machinery: Lokpal at the Centre (Parliamentary commissioner as in New Zealand) and one Lokayukta each at the State level for redressal of people's grievances. However, the jurisdiction of the Lokpal is not extended for judiciary like in New Zealand. The central Government introduced the first Lokpal Bill, Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill in 1968 and lastly in 2005, which has so far not been enacted. Lokayukta institution has come into existence in different years, in different States in India. Orissa is the first state to present a bill on establishment of Lokayukta in 1970; however, Maharashtra is the first state to have established the institution in 1972. There after, this institution was established in


different States in different years namely: Maharashtra (1972), Bihar (1974), Uttar Pradesh (1977), Madhya Pradesh (1981), Andhra Pradesh (1983), Himachal Pradesh (1983), Karnataka (1984), Assam (1986), Gujarat (1988), Delhi (1995), Punjab (1996), Kerala (1998), Chhattishgarh (2002), Uttaranchal (2002) and West Bengal (2003) and Haryana (2004). The structure of the Lokayukta is not uniform across all the states. Some states have UpaLokayukta under Lokayukta and in some states; the Lokayukta doesn't have suo moto powers of instigating an enquiry. The Government of India has designated several ombudsmen (sometimes called Chief Vigilance Officer or CVO) for the redressal of grievances and complaints from individuals in the banking, insurance and other sectors being serviced by both private and public bodies and corporations. The CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) was setup on the recommendations of Santhanam Committee (196264). Kerala State has an Ombudsman for Local Self Government institutions like Panchayats, Municipalities and Corporations. He or she can enquire/investigate into allegations of action, inaction, corruption and mal administration. A Retd. Judge of the High Court is appointed by the Governor for a term of 3 years. The appointment is made under the provisions of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act. In the State of Rajasthan, the Lokayukta institution was established in the year 1973 after the Rajasthan Lokayukta and Up-Lokayuktas Act, 1973 was passed by the State Legislature and received assent of the President on 26.3.1973.

Omnibus bill A draft law before a legislature which contains more than one substantive matter, or several minor matters which have been combined into one bill, ostensibly for the sake of convenience. The omnibus bill is an "all or nothing" tactic.

Onus probandi Latin: the burden of proof. It is usually used in the context of evidence. The onus of proof in criminal cases lies with the state. It is the state that has the burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt. In civil cases, the onus of proof lies with the plaintiff who must prove his case by balance of probabilities. So "onus" refers both to the party


with the burden, and to the scope of that burden, the latter depending whether the context is criminal or civil.

OpenOpen-ended agreement An agreement or contract which does not have an ending date but which will continue for as long as certain conditions, identified in the agreement, exist.

Order A formal written direction given by a member of the judiciary; a court decision without reasons.

Ordinance An executive decision of a government which has not been subjected to a legislative assembly (contrary to a statute). It is often detailed and not, as would be a statute, of general wording or application. This term is in disuse in many jurisdictions and the words "regulations" or "bylaws" are preferred.

Orphan A person who has lost one or both of his or her natural parents.

Out-of-court settlement Out-ofAn agreement between two litigants to settle a matter privately before the Court has rendered its decision.

Owelty The difference which is paid or secured by one coparcener to another, for the purpose of equalizing a partition. In other words a lien created or a pecuniary sum paid by order of the court to effect an equitable partition of property (as in divorce) when such a partition in kind would be impossible, impracticable, or prejudicial to one of the parties owelty award. In other words


Par value shares Shares issued by a company which have a minimum price. Shares which are without par value or "non par value shares" are shares which may be sold at whatever price the company's board of directors decides.

Paralegal A person who is not a lawyer or is not acting in that capacity but who provides a limited number of legal services. Each country differs in the authority it gives paralegals in exercising what traditionally would be lawyers' work.

Pardon A pardon is a government decision to allow a person who has been convicted of a crime, to be free and absolved of that conviction, as if never convicted. It is typically used to remove a criminal record against a good citizen for a small crime that may have been committed during adolescence or young adulthood. Although procedures vary from one state to another, the request for a pardon usually involves a lengthy period of time of impeccable behavior and a reference check. Generally speaking, the more serious the crime, the longer the time requirement for excellent behavior. In the USA, the power to pardon for federal offenses belongs to the President.

Parens patriae Latin: A British common law creation whereby the courts have the right to make unfettered decisions concerning people who are not able to take care of themselves. For example, court can make custody decisions regarding a child or an insane person, even without statute law to allow them to do so, based on their residual, common law-based parens patriae jurisdiction.

Pari delicto Latin for "of equal fault." For example, if two parties complain to a judge of the non-performance of a contract by the other, the judge


could refuse to provide a remedy to either of them because of "pari delicto": a finding that they were equally at fault in causing the contract's breach.

Pari passu Latin: Equitably and without preference. This term is often used in bankruptcy proceedings where creditors are said to be "pari passu" which means that they are all equal and that distribution of the assets will occur without preference between them.

Parol Evience rule The word paro is derived from Latin word parabola / speech, parol parable. By word of mouth; spoken, as opposed to written. Pertaining to the matters arising from, but not contained within writing. An oral contract is a parol contract. In the law of contracts, the parol evidence rule excludes or limits evidence of matters, including evidence of prior negotiations or other documents, which are not contained within the confines of the written agreement between the parties and are confines of the written agreement between the parties and which are offered to vary or contradict the terms of the written agreement.

Parole An early release from incarceration in which the prisoner promises to heed certain conditions (usually set by a parole board) and under the supervision of a parole officer. Any violation of those conditions would result in the return of the person to prison.

Parricide Killing one's father or another a family member or close relative.

Partnership A business organization in which two or more persons carry on a business together. Partners are each fully liable for all the debts of the enterprise but they also share the profits exclusively. Many states have laws which regulate partnerships and may, for example, require some form of registration and allow partnership agreements. One of the basic advantages of partnerships is that they tend to allow business losses to be deducted from personal income for tax purposes (see also limited partner).


Patent An exclusive privilege granted to an inventor to make, use or sale an invention for a set number of years (eg. in Canada, 17 years). Normally, no one company can retain a monopoly over a product or service because this is considered to economically harmful to society. But as a financial incentive to potential inventors, the state grants a temporary monopoly to that inventor through the issuance of a patent.

Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights the area of law dealing with an idea, invention, trade secret, process, program, data, formula, patent, copyright, or trademark or application, right, or registration (often times referred to as intellectual property law)

Paternity Being a father. "Paternity suits" are launched when a man denies paternity of a child born out of wedlock. New technology of DNA testing can establish paternity thus obliging the father to provide child support.

Paternity Judgment legal determination of fatherhood.

Payee The person to whom payment is addressed or given. In family law, the term usually refers to the person who receives or to whom support or maintenance is owed. In commercial law, the term refers to the person to whom a bill of exchange is made payable. On a regular check, the space preceded with the words "pay to the order of" identifies the payee.

Payor The person who is making the payment(s). Again, in the context of family law, the word would typically refer to the person to a support or maintenance debtor. In commercial law, the word refers to the person who makes the payment on a check or bill of exchange.


Pen register An electronic surveillance device which attaches to a phone line and which registers every number dialed from a specific telephone. This surveillance device is not as effective as wire-tapping.

Pendente lite Latin: during litigation. For example, if the validity of a will is challenged, a court might appoint an administrator pendente lite with limited powers to do such things as may be necessary to preserve the assets of the deceased until a hearing can be convened on the validity of the will. Another example is an injunction pendente lite, to last only during the litigation and, again, designed simply to preserve something until the decisive court order is issued.

Benefits Pension & Benefits the area of law dealing with compensation under given conditions to a person following retirement from employment or to surviving dependents.

Percolating water Water which seeps or filters through the ground without any definite channel and not part of the flow of any waterway. The best example is rain water.

Per incurium It meansthrough inadvertence, in ignorance of the relevant lawToday it is used more commonly in BrE than in AmE. E.g., as general rule the only cases in which decisions should be held to have given per incurium are those of decisions given in ignorance or forgetfulness of some consistent statutory provision or of some authority binding on the court concerned.

Perjury The deliberate, willful giving of false, misleading, or incomplete testimony under oath. An intentional lie given while under oath or in a sworn affidavit. Deliberate or willful uttering of untruths when under oath in a court or similar tribunal.


Perpetuating testimony The recording of evidence when it is feared that the person with that evidence may soon die or disappear and that this person's evidence, if recorded, could then be used in the future to prevent a possible injustice or to support a future claim of property.

Perpetuity Forever; of unlimited duration. There is a strong bias in the law against things that are to last in perpetuity. Rights that are to last forever are said to hinder commerce as an impediment to the circulation of property. That is why there is a rule against perpetuities.

Person An entity with legal rights and existence including the ability to sue and be sued, to sign contracts, to receive gifts, to appear in court either by themselves or by lawyer and, generally, other powers incidental to the full expression of the entity in law. Individuals are "persons" in law unless they are minors or under some kind of other incapacity such as a court finding of mental incapacity. Many laws give certain powers to "persons" which, in almost all instances, includes business organizations that have been formally registered such as partnerships, corporations or associations.

Personal Injury & Torts the area of law that involves civil law cases designed to obtain compensation for injury to your person. The personal injury attorney usually tries to negotiate with the opposing party or their insurance company. If necessary, and if the attorney thinks you have a good chance of winning, the case may go to trial. The main concerns in a personal injury case are negligence and liability. Before you can collect an award, your attorney will have to prove that the defendant is liable. To prove liability, the attorney must establish negligence. If there is a failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury or damage then there may be negligence. Once liability and negligence have been established, the judge or the jury may award money to compensate for medical costs, lost wages and lost future earnings as well as for pain and suffering.

Personal representative


In the law of wills, this is the general name given to the person who administers the estate of a deceased person. There are two kinds of personal representatives. Where a person dies without a will, the court must appoint an administrator. Where a personal representative is named in a will, the personal representative is known as an executor.

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. Petitions set out the facts, identifies the law under which the court is being asked to intervene, and ends with a suggested course of action for the court to consider (eg. payment of damages to the plaintiff). Petitions are normally filed by lawyers because courts insist on complicated forms but most states will allow citizens to file petitions provided they conform to the court's form. Some states do not use the word "petition" and, instead, might refer to an "application", a "complaint" or the "writ."

Pettifogger A petty or underhanded lawyer or an attorney who sustains a professional livelihood on disreputable or dishonorable business. The word has also taken on an common usage definition referring to anyone prone to quibbling over details.

Petty offense A minor crime and for which the punishment is usually just a small fine or short term of imprisonment.

PF Provident Fund, Putative Father

Physical custody A child custody decision which grants the right to organize and administer the day to day residential care of a child. This is usually combined with legal custody.

Picket Picket


To object publicly, on or adjacent to the employer's premises, to an employer's labor practices, goods or services. The most common form of picketing is patrolling with signs.

PIL Abbreviation for public interest litigation.

Pillory A medieval punishment and restraining device made of moveable and adjustable boards through which a prisoner's head or limbs were pinned. Pillories were often fixed to the ground in a city's main square and on market days, local criminals were exhibited. Citizens were given license to throw things at the prisoners. As such, this method of punishment was not just humiliating but often led to serious injury or death. For the government, this was a public statement serving to warn others of the consequences of crime. England abolished the pillory as a form of punishment in 1837.

Plaintiff The person who brings an case to court; who sues. May also be called "claimant", "petitioner" or "applicant. The person being sued is generally called the "defendant" or the "respondent."

Plea bargaining Negotiations during a criminal trial, between an accused person and a prosecutor in which the accused agrees to admit to a crime (sometimes a lesser crime than the one set out in the original charge), avoiding the expense of a public trial, in exchange for which the prosecutor agrees to ask for a more lenient sentence than would have been recommended if the case had of proceeded to full trial. The normal rule of law is that judges are not bound by plea bargains although, as past lawyers themselves, they are generally aware of plea bargains and a reasonable recommendation of a prosecutor on sentencing is always heavily considered.

Pleadings That part of a party's case in which he or she formally sets out the facts and legal arguments which support that party's position. Pleadings can be in writing or they can be made verbally to a court, during the trial.


Poach To kill or take an animal or fish from the property of another.

Polygamy Being married to more than one person. Illegal in most countries.

Polygraph A lie-detector machine which records even the slightest variation in blood pressure, body temperature and respiration as questions are put to, and answers elicited from a subject.

Post mortem After death.

Postal rule A rule of contract law that makes an exception to the general rule that an acceptance is only created when communicated directly to the offeror. An acceptance is binding and the contract is said to be perfected when the acceptor places this acceptance in the mail box for return mail even if, in fact, it never reaches the offeror. An 1892 British case summarized it as follows: "Where the circumstances are such that it must have been within the contemplation of the parties that, according to the ordinary usages of mankind, the post might be used as a means of communicating the acceptance of an offer, the acceptance is complete as soon as it is posted."

Power of attorney A document which gives a person the right to make binding decisions for another, as an agent. A power of attorney may be specific to a certain kind of decision or general, in which the agent makes all major decisions for the person who is the subject of the power of attorney. The person signing the power of attorney is usually referred to, in law, as the donor and the person that would exercise the power of attorney, the donee.

Prcipe or precipe


Latin: used to refer to the actual writ that would be presented to a court clerk to be officially issued on behalf of the court but now mostly refers to the covering letter from the lawyer (or plaintiff) which accompanies and formally asks for the writ to be issued by the court officer. The precipe is kept on the court file, but does not accompany the writ when the latter is served on the defendant.

Praemunire An offence against the King or Parliament, in old English law, which led to serious penalties but not capital punishment.

Precatory words Words that express a wish or a desire rather than a clear command. "Precatory words" are often found in trusts or wills and cause great difficulties when courts try to find the real intention of the settlor or testator, For example, the words "all my property to my wife to be disposed of as she may deem just and prudent in the interest of my family" were found to be "precatory" and did not constitute a trust for family members other than the wife.

Precedent A case which establishes legal principles to a certain set of facts, coming to a certain conclusion, and which is to be followed from that point on when similar or identical facts are before a court. Precedent form the basis of the theory of stare decisis which prevent "reinventing the wheel" and allows citizens to have a reasonable expectation of the legal solutions which apply in a given situation.

Precept A rule of conduct. A code or statement of principles. A court order, writ, warrant or other judicial process. A court order directing an official to perform some act in support of the courts decision, such as an order to find and pro- duce a person. A rule of law or a code of moral conduct, such as the Bar Council of India Model Rules of Professional Responsibility, a code intended to govern the conduct of lawyers.

Preferred shares A share in a company that has some kind of special right or privilege attached to it, such as that it is distinguished from the company's


common shares. The most common special right is a preference over holders of common shares when dividends are declared. Another, is for the preferred shares to be redeemable at the option of either the holder or the company. Still another might be to disallow voting rights to preferred shareholders. Depending on the local laws in your state, there may be no limit to the qualifications a company can attach to preferred shares. For example, a family company may only allow holders of preferred shares to use a recreational property belonging to the company.

Preponderance A word describing evidence that persuades a judge or jury to lean to one side as opposed to the other during the course of litigation. In many states, criminal trials require evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. But in civil trials, evidence is required only by preponderance of the evidence. The judge (or jury, where applicable) will perceive the evidence of one side as outweighing the other based on which side has the most persuasive or impressive evidence. The strength or "weight" of evidence is not decided by the sheer number of witnesses because the judge decides on the credibility of witnesses and give their testimony weight accordingly. The side with the preponderance of evidence wins the case.

Prescription A method of acquiring rights through the silence of the legal owner. Known in common law jurisdiction as "statute of limitations." When used in a real property context, the term refers to the acquisition of property rights, such as an easement, by long and continued use or enjoyment. The required duration of continued use or enjoyment, before legal rights are enforceable, is usually written in a state's law known as "statute of limitations."

Presumption of advancement A presumption in trust, contract and family law which suggests that property transferred from a parent to a child, or spouse to spouse, is a gift and would defeat any presumption of a resulting trust.

Presumption of Paternity a rule of law under which evidence of a man`s paternity (e.g. voluntary acknowledgment, genetic test results) creates a presumption that the man is the father of a child. A rebuttable


presumption can be overcome by evidence that the man is not the father, but it shifts the burden of proof to the father to disprove paternity.

Prima facie (Latin) A legal presumption which means "on the face of it" or "at first sight". Law-makers will often use this device to establish that if a certain set of facts are proven, then another fact is established prima facie. For example, proof of mailing a letter is prima facie proof that it was received by the person to whom it was addressed and will accepted as such by a court unless proven otherwise. Other situations may require a prima facie case before proceeding to another step in the judicial process so that you would have to at least prove then that at first glance, there appears to be a case.

Principal An agent's master; the person for whom an agent has received instruction and to whose benefit the agent is expected to perform and make decisions.

Private law Law which regulates the relationships between individuals. Family, commercial and labor law are examples of private law because the focus of those kinds of laws is the relationships between individuals or between corporations or organizations and individual, with the government a bystander. They are the counter part to public law.

Privilege A special and exclusive legal advantage or right such as a benefit, exemption, power or immunity. An example would be the special privileges that some persons have in a bankruptcy to recoup their debts from the bankrupt's estate before other, non-privileged creditors.

Pro bono Provided for free. Pro bono publico means "for the public good."

Pro forma


As a matter of form; in keeping with a form or practice. Something done pro forma may not be essential but it facilitates future dealings. For example, an invoice might be sent to a purchaser even before the goods are delivered as a matter of business practices.

Pro possessore As a possessor. For example, a person may exercise certain rights over a thing not as owner but pro possessore: as a person who possesses, but does not own, the thing.

Pro rata Latin: to divide proportionate to a certain rate or interest. For example, if a company with two shareholders, one with 25% and the other with 75% of the shares, received a gift of $10,000 and desired to split it "pro rata" between the shareholders, the shareholder with 25% of the shares would receive $2,500 and the 75% shareholder, $7,500.

Pro se Latin: in one's personal behalf. Contrast with pro socio.

Pro socio Latin: on behalf of a partner; not on one's personal behalf.

Pro tempore Latin: something done temporarily only and not intended to be permanent.

Probability Of Paternity The probability that the alleged father is the biological father of the child as indicated by genetic test results.

Probate The area of law dealing with the validity of wills, administration of estates and sometimes over the affairs of minors and persons adjudged incompetent.


Probation A kind of punishment given out as part of a sentence which means that instead of jailing a person convicted of a crime, a judge will order that the person reports to a probation officer regularly and according to a set schedule. It is a criminal offence not to obey a probation order and is cause for being immediately jailed. If someone is "on probation", that means that they are presently under such a Court order. These orders may have special conditions attached to them such as not to leave the city, drink alcohol, consume drugs, not to go to a specific place or contact a certain person.

Products Liability Law the area of law focusing on the liability imposed on a manufacturer or seller of a defective and unreasonably dangerous product (see also personal injury law).

Profit 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.

Profit 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.

Prohibition A legal restriction against the use of something or against certain conduct. For example, in the 1920s, both the USA and Canada enacted liquor prohibitions, outlawing the manufacture or use of alcoholic beverages.

Promisee A person whom is to be the beneficiary of a promise, an obligation or a contract. Synonymous to "obligee."



The person who has become obliged through a promise (usually expressed in a contract) towards another, the intended beneficiary of the promise being referred to as the promisee. Also sometimes referred to a "obligor."

Promissory note An unconditional, written and signed promise to pay a certain amount of money, on demand or at a certain defined date in the future. Contrary to a bill of exchange, a promissory note is not drawn on any third party holding the payor's money; it is a direct promise from the payor to the payee.

Property Property is commonly thought of as a thing which belongs to someone and over which a person has total control. But, legally, it is more properly defined as a collection of legal rights over a thing. These rights are usually total and fully enforceable by the state or the owner against others. It has been said that "property and law were born and die together. Before laws were made there was no property. Take away laws and property ceases." before laws were written and enforced, property had no relevance. Possession was all that mattered. There are many classifications of property, the most common being between real property or immoveable property (real estate such as land or buildings) and "chattel", or "moveable" (things which are not attached to the land such as a bicycle, a car or a hammer) and between public (property belonging to everybody or to the state) and private property.

Propinquity Nearness in place; close-by. Also used to describe relationships as synonymous for "kin."

Propound To offer a document as being authentic or valid. Used mostly in the law of wills; to propound a will means to take legal action, as part of probate, including a formal inspection of the will, by the court.




Pro rata Proportionally; for a proportion. In a situation where several debtors are each liable for her/his own share or proportion only, they are said to be bound pro rata term pro rata is contrasted with in solidum where several debtors are each liable for the whole debt. An example of both phrases may be found in the liability of partners; each is liable in solidum for the debts of the partnership in relation to creditors, but each is liable only pro ratain relation to between themselves.

Prosecute To bring judicial proceedings against a person and to administer them until the conclusion of the court proceedings. Lawyers are hired by the government to administer the prosecution of criminal charges in the courts.

Prospectus A document in which a corporation sets out the material details of a share or bond issue and inviting the public to invest by purchasing these financial instruments.

Prostitute A person who offers sexual intercourse for hire.

Pro tanto So far; to that extent.

Proxy A right which is signed-over to an agent. Proxies are used frequently at annual meetings of corporations where the right to exercise a vote is "proxied" from the shareholder to the agent.

Public Assistance


money granted from the State! Federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children program to a person or family for living expenses; eligibility based on need.

Public domain A term of American copyright law referring to works that are not copyright protected, free for all to use without permission. Examples include works that were originally non-copyrightable (items that by their very nature are not eligible for copyright such as ideas, facts or names), copyright that has been lost or expired, where copyright is owned or authored by the federal government (federal documents and publications are not copyrighted and so are public domain), and those works which have been specifically granted to the public domain.

Public law Those laws which regulate (1) the structure and administration of the government, (2) the conduct of the government in its relations with its citizens, (3) the responsibilities of government employees and (4) the relationships with foreign governments. Good examples are criminal and constitutional law. It can be distinguished from private law, which regulates the private conduct between individuals, without direct involvement of the government. For example, an unsolicited punch in the nose would constitute a crime for which the government would prosecute under criminal law but for which there would also be a private legal action possible by the injured party under tort law, which is private law although governments can be held responsible under tort law. As you can see, the line is often hard to draw between public and private law.

Public Utilities Law the area of law dealing with the business organizations (such as an electric company) performing a public service and subject to special governmental regulation.

Puisne Junior or lower in rank, as opposed to the chief justice. For example, there are 29 puisne judges on the Supreme Court of India and a chief justice.

Punitive damages


Special and highly exceptional damages ordered by a court against a defendant where the act or omission which caused the suit, was of a particularly heinous, malicious or highhanded nature. Where awarded, they are an exception to the rule that damages are to compensate not to punish. The exact threshold of punitive damages varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some countries, and in certain circumstances, punitive damages might even be available for breach of contract cases but, again, only for the exceptional cases where the court wants to give a strong message to the community that similar conduct will be severely punished. They are most common in intentional torts such as rape, battery or defamation. Some jurisdictions prefer using the word "exemplary damages" and there is an ongoing legal debate whether there is a distinction to be made between the two and even with the concept of aggravated damages.

Quantum Latin: amount or extent.

Quantum meruit Latin for "as much as is deserved." This is a legal principle under which a person should not be obliged to pay, nor should another be allowed to receive, more than the value of the goods or services exchanged.

QuasiQuasi-judicial Refers to decisions made by administrative tribunals or government officials to which the rules of natural justice apply. In judicial decisions, the principles of natural justice always apply. But between routine government policy decisions and the traditional court forums lies a hybrid, sometimes called a "tribunal" or "administrative tribunal" and not necessarily presided by judges. These operate as a government policy-making body at times but also exercise a licensing, certifying, approval or other adjudication authority which is "judicial" because it directly affects the legal rights of a person. Some


law teachers sugest that there is no such thing as a "quasi-judicial" decision or body; the body or decision is either judicial or not.

Quid pro quo Latin: something for something. The giving of something in exchange for another thing of equal value.

Quo warranto Latin and referring to a special 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.

Quorum The number of people who must be present at a meeting before business can be conducted. Without "quorum", decisions are invalid. Many organizations have a quorum requirement to prevent decisions being taken without a majority of members present.

QW Quarterly Wage

Raison detre Reason for being, Reason or justification for existing, the purpose that justifies a things existence.

Ransom Money paid to have a kidnapped person released.


Real property Immoveable property such as land or a building or an object that, though at one time a chattel, has become permanently affixed to land or a building.

Real Property Law law dealing with "property" consisting of land, buildings, crops, or other resources still attached to or within the land or improvements or fixtures permanently attached to the land or a structure on it.

Redemption Buying back. When a vendor later buys the property back. A right of redemption gives the vendor the right to buy back the property. In some jurisdictions where a mortgage transfers title to the lender until the mortgage is paid off, the "buying back" of the property is known as redemption.

Relator An informer; a person who has supplied the facts required for a criminal prosecution or a civil suit. In criminal prosecutions in some states, this would be indicated by the use of the expression ex. rel. as in The State of California ex. rel. Robert Smith v. George Doe.

Remainder A right to future enjoyment or ownership of real property. The "leftover" after property has been conveyed first to another party. A remainder interest is what if left-over after a life estate has run its course. Contrary to a reversion, a remainder does not go to the grantor or his (or her) heirs.

Rent This is the consideration paid by a tenant to a landlord in exchange for the exclusive use and enjoyment of land, a building or a part of a building. Under normal circumstances, the rent is paid in money and at regular intervals, such as the first of every month. The word has also come to be used as a verb as in to "rent an apartment", although the proper legal term would be to "lease an apartment."


Replevin A legal action taken to reclaim goods which have been distrained. A re delivery to the owner of his cattle or goods distrained on any cause upon security that he will prosecute the action of replevin against the person who distrained. The replavisor is the party who takes back his goods. Replevin is derived of replegiare, to redeliver to the owner upon pledged or surety.

Res gestae Latin for "things done." A peculiar rule, used mostly in criminal cases, which allows hearsay if the statement is made during the excitement of the litigated event. For example, the words "stick 'em up!" used during an armed robbery would be admissible in evidence under the res gestae rule. So, too, would spontaneous statements made by the defendant during or right after the crime. Some laws even allow res gestae statements to be introduced in evidence in special kinds of prosecutions. For example, in child sexual abuse cases, the statement made by a child to another person may be allowed as evidence even though, technically, it offends the rule against hearsay. This is to recognize the trauma of having a child testify in open court on the subject of her or his abuse. Res gestae evidence usually requires a voir dire hearing before it is admissible unless the defense allows it to be put on the trial record unchallenged.

Res ipsa loquitur A word used in tort to refer to situations where negligence is presumed on the defendant since the object causing injury was in his or her control. This is a presumption which can be rebutted by showing that the event was an inevitable accident and had nothing to do with the defendant's responsibility of control or supervision. An example of res ipsa loquitur would be getting hit by a rock which flies off a passing dump truck. The event itself imputes negligence (res ipsa loquitur) and can only be defeated if the defendant can show that the event was a total and inevitable accident.

Res judicata Latin: A matter which has already been conclusively decided by a court.



To abrogate or cancel a contract putting the parties in the same position they would have been in had there been no contract. Rescission can occur in one of two ways: either a contract can be set aside (rescinded) because of some defect in its formation (such as misrepresentation, duress or undue influence) or it can be set aside by agreement by the parties, for example if they reach a new agreement.

Respondent The party that "responds to" a claim filed in court against them by a plaintiff. The more common term is defendant. The word is also used to refer to the party who wins at the first court level but who must then respond to an appeal launched by the party that lost the case at the first court level (upon appeal, this latter person is called the appelant).

Restitutio in integrum Latin for restitution to the original position. In contract law, upon breach of contract, the injured party may ask the court to reverse the contract and revert the parties to their respective positions before the contract was accepted. But if the court finds that restitutio in integrum is not possible because of actions or events occurring since the date of acceptance, then the court may order that damages be paid instead.

Restitution Under ancient English common law, when a party enforced a court judgement and then that judgement was overturned on appeal, the appellant could ask the appeal court for "restitution", or financial compensation placing that appellant in the same position as if the original legal decision had not been enforced. A new strain of common law has also developed called "restitution", closely associated with unjust enrichment, whereby a person is deprived of something of value belonging to them, can ask a court to order "restitution". The best example is asking a court to reverse or correct a payment made in error.

Resulting trust A trust that is presumed by the court from certain situations. Similar to a constructive trust but for resulting trusts, the court presumes an intention to create a trust; the law assumes that the property is not


held by the right person and that the possessor is only holding the property "in trust" for the rightful owner. In constructive trusts, the courts don't even bother with presuming an intention; they simply impose a trust from the facts.

Retainer A contract between a lawyer and his (or her) client, wherein the lawyer agrees to represent and provide legal advice to the client, in exchange for money. The signed retainer begins the client-lawyer relationship from which flow many responsibilities and duties, primarily on the lawyer, including to provide accurate legal advice, to monitor limitation dates and to not allow any conflict of interest with the relationship with the client.

Reversion A future interest left in a transferror or his (or her) heirs. A reservation in a real property conveyance that the property reverts back to the original owner upon the occurence of a certain event. For example, Jim gives Bob a bulding using the words "to Bob for life". Upon the death of Bob, the property reverts back to Jim or to Jim's heirs. Differs from a remainder in that a remainder takes effect by an act of the parties involved. A reversion takes effect by operation of the law. Nor is a reversion a "left-over" as is a remainder. Rather, it reverts the entire property.

Right of first refusal A right given to a person to be the first person allowed to purchase a certain object if it is ever offered for sale. The owner of this right is the first to be offered the designated object if it is ever to be offered for sale.

Riparian rights Special rights of people who own land that runs into a river bank (a "riparian owner" is a person who owns land that runs into a river). While not an ownership right, riparian rights include the right of access to, and use of the water for domestic purposes (bathing, cleaning and navigating). The extent of these rights varies from


country to country and may include the right to build a wharf outwards to a navigable depth or to take emergency measures to prevent flooding.

Rule against perpetuities A common law rule that prevents suspending the transfer of property for more then 21 years or a lifetime plus 21 years. For example, if a will proposes the transfer of an estate to some future date, which is uncertain, for either more than 21 years after the death of the testator or for the life of a person identified in the will and 21 years, the transfer is void. Statute law exists in many jurisdictions which supersedes the common law rule. For more information, see the WWLIA article on the "Rule against Perpetuities."

Rule Nisi An interlocutory order or decree of a court which will become final unless the party affected shows cause why it should not be enforced. A procedure under which one party can move ex parte to secure an order or judgment which, by its terms, will become final if the other party fails to show the court why it should not be granted.

Ruling The decision of the court on an issue of law; any official decision, determination, decree or interpretation. A Revenue Ruling is an official pronouncement by the Internal Revenue Service, often in response to a question asked by a taxpayer, which gives guidance to all taxpayers with a similar question.

Sanction This is a very unusual word with two contradictory meanings. To "sanction" can mean to ratify or to approve but it can also mean to punish. The "sanction" of a crime refers to the actual punishment, usually expressed as a fine or jail term. To make valid or binding; to approve of. To give effect to, as in that conduct was sanctioned by a


law passed by Congress. Also, a formal decree or oath. The destruction or seizure of property. Also, a detriment or penalty imposed for violation of a statute or regulation. The imposition of a penalty or fine.

Sanctuary A special criminal law option available in Medieval times to persons who had just committed a crime, allowing them to seek refuge in a church or monastery. There, they could be exempted from the normal prosecution which, in those days, was quite severe. But the ordeal, even within sanctuary, was no piece of cake. The fugitive had to remain within the walls of the sanctuary, abandon his or her oath to the king, followed which they had a short period of time to leave the country. They were considered to be "dead", so much so that their land was forfeited to the King and their wife considered to be a widow. If they refused to renounce their oath, they could be starved out of the sanctuary. Henry VIII of England even took to branding them with a hot iron before they left the country just in case they tried to return; they could then be quickly spotted and arrested. Abolished from the common law in 1624 and, in France, at the time of the Revolution, the principle of sanctuary continues today, in somewhat altered form, as diplomatic asylum under international law.

Search warrant A court order (i.e. signed by a judge) that gives a police the permission to enter private property and to search for evidence of the commission of a crime, for the proceeds of crime or property that the police suspect may be used to commit a crime. These court orders are obtained on the basis of a sworn statement by the requesting law enforcement officer and will precisely describe the place to be searched and, in some cases, the exact property being sought.

Securities Law the area of law dealing with securities, which is the generic term for shares of stock, bonds and debentures issued by corporations and governments to evidence ownership and terms of payment of dividends or final pay-off. They are called securities because the assets and/or the profits of the corporation or the credit of the government stand as security for payment. However, unlike secured transactions in which specific property is pledged, securities are only as good as the future profitability of the corporation or the management of the governmental agency.


Seisin The legal possession of property. In law, the term refers more specifically to the possession of land by a freeholder. For example, a owner of a building has seisin, but a tenant does not, because the tenant, although enjoying possession, does not have the legal title in the building.

Sentence The punishment given to a person who has been convicted (i.e. found to be guilty) of a crime. It may be time in jail, community service or a period of probation.

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.

Servient tenement The land which suffers or has the burden of an easement. The beneficiary of the easement is called a dominant tenement.

Servitude From Roman law, referring to rights of use over the property of another; a burden on a piece of land causing the owner to suffer access by another. An easement is type of servitude as is a profit prendre.

Settlor The person who actually creates a trust by donating property to be managed and administered by a trustee but from which all profits would go to a beneficiary. The law books of some countries refer to this person as a "donor."


Sexual Harassment the area of law dealing specifically with discrimination consisting of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct directed at an employee because of his or her sex.

Share A portion of a company bought by a transfer of cash in exchange for a certificate, the certificate constituting proof of share ownership. Persons owning shares in a company are called "shareholders". There are two basic kinds of shares: common and preferred. A shareholder is not liable for the debts or other obligations of the company except to the extent of any commitment made to buy shares. The two other benefits of shares include a right to participate in profits (through dividends) and the right to share the residue of assets of the company, once liabilities have been paid off, if it is ever dissolved.

Shareholder agreement A contract between the shareholders of the company and the company itself, in which certain things, usually the purview of the board of directors, are detailed. For example, a shareholder might be allowed to manage the company, instead of a board of directors. The shareholder agreement will also, typically, control inflows to the company (purchase of shares), how profits are to be distributed, dispute resolution and what to do if a shareholder dies.

Silent partner A person who invests in a company or partnership but does not take part in administering or directing the organization; he or she just shares in the profits or losses.

Sine die Adjourned without giving any future date of meeting or hearing. A court that adjourns sine die essentially dismisses the case by saying that it never wants to hear the case again! A meeting which adjourns sine die has simply not set a date for it's next meeting.


Sine qua non Without which, not; that without which a thing cannot be. The essential thing upon which another depends for its existence.

Slander Verbal or spoken defamation.

Slander of title Intentionally casting aspersion on someone's property including real property, a business or goods (the latter might also be called "slander of goods"). A form of jactitation. For example, stating that a house is haunted or alleging that a certain product infringes a patent or copyright.

Slavery When a person (called "master") has absolute power over another (called "slave") including life and liberty. The slave has no freedom of action except within limits set by the master. The slave is considered to be the property of the master and can be sold, given away or killed. All the fruits of the slave's labor belongs to the master (see, for example, the extract from "The 1740 South Carolina Slave Code" in the History of the Law). Slavery was once very prevalent in the world but is now illegal in most countries.

Small Business the area of law that involves the creation and needs of "small business". A small business can be any activity or enterprise entered into for profit, usually a company, a corporation, partnership, or any such formal organization.

Small claims A regular court but which has simplified rules of procedure and process to deal with claims of a lesser value. Many jurisdictions have established small claims courts which, because of their structures


and reliance on deformalized proceedings, allow for expedited hearings and where representation by lawyer is not required or encouraged. Some typical distinctive characteristics of small claims courts include the ability to serve by regular mail and to seize both a court and an adversary at far less cost than in ordinary courts.

Socage A term of the feudal system which referred to the tenure which was exchanged for certain goods or services which were not military in nature. Socage is often described as "free and common socage" although the "free and common" qualification is now of a purely historical significance.

Social Security/Disability Law the area of law assisting those who, due to a disability, require a program of public provision for the economic security and social welfare of the individual and his or her family.

Solicitor A lawyer that restricts his or her practice to the giving of legal advice and does not normally litigate. that court room. In England and some other Commonwealth jurisdictions, a legal distinction is made between solicitors and barristers, the former with exclusive privileges of giving oral or written legal advice, and the latter with exclusive privileges of preparing and conducting litigation in the courts. In other words, solicitors don't appear in court on a client's behalf and barristers don't give legal advice to clients. In England, barristers and solicitors work as a team: the solicitor would typically make the first contact with a client and if the issue cannot be resolved and proceeds to trial, the solicitor would transfer the case to a barrister for the duration of the litigation. Lawyers in some states, such as Canada, sometimes use the title "barrister and solicitor" even though, contrary to England, there is no legal distinction between the advising and litigating roles. Canadian lawyers can litigate or give legal advice (as is the case in the USA, where lawyers are referred to as "attorneys").

Sovereign Has two meanings. The first one is a technical word for the monarch (king or queen) of a particular country as in "the Sovereign of England is Queen Elizabeth." The other meaning of the word is to


describe the supreme legislative powers of a state: that they are totally independent and free from any outside political control or authority over their decisions. The people of Quebec, for example, has, at times, supported governments which have proposed that Quebec become a "sovereign" state; that all legislative authority of the government of Canada over their territory cease and that the government of Quebec be enabled to regulate in any matter at all; and that the government of Quebec represent itself internationally.

Split custody A child custody decision which means that legal custody goes back and forth between parents like a ping-pong ball, as they, in turn, take care of the child. They are very rare (for example, only 5% of all custody orders in the USA) because they works against consistent upbringing decisions for the child.

Standing committee A term of parliamentary law which refers to those committees which have a continued existence; that are not related to the accomplishment of a specific, once-only task as are ad hoc or special committees. Standing committees generally exist as long as the organization to which it reports. Budget and finance or nomination committees are typical standing committees of a larger organization.

Stare decisis A basic principle of the law whereby once a decision (a precedent) on a certain set of facts has been made, the courts will apply that decision in cases which subsequently come before it embodying the same set of facts. A precedent which is binding; must be followed.

State A term of international law: those groups of people which have acquired international recognition as an independent country and which have four characteristics; permanent and large population with, generally, a common language; a defined and distinct territory; a sovereign government with effective control; and a capacity to enter into relations with other states (i.e. recognized by other states). The India, USA, Canada and China are examples of states. States are the primary subjects of international law. The United Nations is comprised of all the states of the world. Some large states have


subdivided into smaller units each having limited legislative powers normally restricted to subjects which are more properly regulated at a local, rather than a national level. Thus, the states of the USA are not really "states" under international law. It is common for the general public and English dictionaries to use the word "nations" to refer to what international law calls "states."

Status quo The existing condition or state of affairs. The posture or position which the parties are occupying or have just occupied. The condition of the parties before any action is taken to change that condition; the existing condition can be preserved by the court through a restraining order or temporary injunction

Statute of Limitations the period during which someone can be held liable for an action or a debt-statutes of limitations for collecting child support vary from State to State.

Statutes The written laws approved by legislatures, parliaments or houses of assembly (i.e., politicians). Also known as "legislation". The written laws of the Canadian Province of Newfoundland, for example, are in a multi-volume set of books called the Statutes of Newfoundland.

Statutory rape The common law definition of rape has not proven adequate to reflect modern values. It is limited to sex without consent and with a woman, and only where the victim is not the wife of the rapist. Many states have enacted laws which include under the charge of rape, sex with a minor even if done with the minor's consent, sex without consent regardless of whether the victim is male or female, and sex without consent regardless of the matrimonial bond between victim and rapist.

Statutory trust A trust created by the effect of a statute. They are usually temporary in nature and serve the purpose of bridging ownership of property to benefit a certain class of individuals which the statute is designed to protect. Some examples are the temporary trusts that the law of


some states impose on the executor of an estate, the holding and administration of tax or other pay deductions (including vacation pay) by employers, the trust accounts of lawyers and the statutory trust on money paid for a construction project on behalf of any person who might have a construction lien on the property.

Stay an order by a court which suspends all or some of the proceedings in a case.

Stirpes Latin: the offspring of a person; his or her descendants. For example, inheriting per stirpes means having a right to a deceased's estate because you happen to be a descendant of the deceased.

Strict liability Tort liability which is set upon the defendant without need to prove intent, negligence or fault; as long as you can prove that it was the defendant's object that caused the damage.

Sua sponte Latin of ones own accord.

Sub judice A matter that is still under consideration by a court. You will hear of politicians declining to speak on a certain subject because the subject matter is "sub judice".

Subinfeudation The process whereby, under the feudal system of tenure, a person receiving a grant of land from a lord, could himself become a lord by subdividing and subletting that land to others.

Subordination To be subject to the orders or direction of another; of lower rank.



an order of the court for a witness to appear at a particular time and place to testify and/or produce documents in the control of the witness (if a "subpena duces tecum"). A subpena is used to obtain testimony from a witness at both depositions (testimony under oath taken outside of court) and at trial.

Subrogation When you pay off someone's debt and then try to get the money from the debtor yourself. (Compare with "novation".)

Subservient tenement The real property that supports or endures an easement. The real property benefitting from an easement is called the dominant tenement.

Substituted Substituted service If a party appears to be avoiding service of court documents, a request may be made with the court to, instead of personal service (i.e. giving the document directly to the person), that the document be published in a local newspaper, served on a person believed to frequent the person or mailed to his (or her) last known address.

Successor A person who takes over the rights of another.

Sui juris A person who possesses full civil rights and is not under any legal incapacity such as being bankrupt, of minor age or mental incapacity. Most adults are sui juris.

Summary conviction offence In Canada, a less serious offence than indictable offences for which both the procedure and punishment tends to be less onerous.


Summons In the USA, this is one of the initial documents issued in a civil suit; giving the defendant notice of the claim and an opportunity to defend it. The summons also gives the court which issues it the authority to dispose of the matter. In Canadian criminal law, this is the document used by the police to compel an accused to attend court to answer the charges. It does not involve the arrest of the accused and is used where the police, either by the relatively less serious nature of the crime or because of the standing of the accused in the community, do not believe that arrest is necessary to ensure the attendance of the accused at court.

Surety The person who has pledged him or herself to pay back money or perform a certain action if the principal to a contract fails, as collateral, and as part of the original contract. Technically, where a person provides collateral after or before the original contract is signed, and as a separate contract, the person is called a "guarantor" and not a "surety."

Synallagmatic contract A civil law term for a reciprocal or bilateral contract: one in which both parties provide consideration. A contract of sale is a classic example, where one party provides money and the other, goods or services. A gift is not a synallagmatic contract.

TaftTaft-Hartley The name of an American federal labor law which was passed in 1947, and which sought to "equalize legal responsibilities of labor organizations and employers"; ie. balance the Wagner Act, which, it was felt, may have gone to far in protecting union rights. Where the Wagner Act had was aimed primarily at employer behavior, the Taft-


Hartley was aimed at unions and sought to restrain their activities under certain circumstances, by detailing union rights and duties. For example, the Taft-Hartley Act exempted supervisors from it's provisions, allowed employees to decline participation in union activities and permitted union decertification petitions.

Tamper To interfere improperly or in violation of the law such as to tamper with a document. The term "jury tampering" means to illegally disrupt the independence of a jury member with a view to influencing that juror otherwise than by the production of evidence in open court.

Tax Litigation the area of law that provides assistance in the preparation and presentation of a lawsuit or other resort to the courts to determine a legal question or matter as relating to tax situations.

Taxation the area of law that focuses on taxes.

Technology Technology the area of law dealing with the scientific technology involving the production or use of devices especially in the fields of electronics and computers.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families time-limited assistance payments to poor families. The program provides parents with job preparation, work and support services to help them become self-sufficient.

Tenancy by the entireties A form of co-ownership in English law where, when a husband transferred land to his wife, the property could not be sold unless


both spouses agreed nor could it be severed except by ending the marriage.

Tenant A person to whom a landlord grants temporary and exclusive use of land or a part of a building, usually in exchange for rent. The contract for this type of legal arrangement is called a lease. The word "tenant" originated under the feudal system, referring to land "owners" who held their land on tenure granted by a lord.

Tenants in common Similar to joints tenants. All tenants in common share equal property rights except that, upon the death of a tenant in common, that share does not go to the surviving tenants but is transferred to the estate of the deceased tenant. Unity of possession but distinct titles.

Tender An unconditional offer of a party to a contract to perform their part of the bargain. For example, if the contract is a loan contract, a tender would be an act of the debtor where he produces the amount owing and offers to the creditor. In real property law, when a party suspects that the other may be preparing to renege, he or she can write a tender in which they unequivocally re-assert their intention to respect the contract and tender their end of the bargain; either by paying the purchase or delivering the title.

Tenement Tenement Property that could be subject to tenure under English land law; usually land, buildings or apartments. The word is rarely used nowadays except to refer to dominant or servient tenements when qualifying easements.

Tenure A right of holding or occupying land or a position for a certain amount of time. The term was first used in the English feudal land system, whereby all land belonged to the king but was lent out to lords for a certain period of time; the lord never owning, but having tenure in the land. Used in modern law mostly to refer to a position a person occupies such as in the expression "a judge holds tenure for life and on good behavior."


Testamentary trust A trust which is to take effect only upon the death of the settlor and is commonly found as part of a will. Trusts which take effect during the life of the settlor are called inter vivos trusts.

Testator A person who dies with a valid will.

Testimony The verbal presentation of a witness in a judicial proceeding.

Torrens land registration system A land registration system invented by Robert Torrens and in which the government is the keeper of the master record of all land and their owners. In the Torrens system, a land title certificate suffices to show full, valid and indefeasible title. Used in Australia and several Canadian provinces.

Tort Derived from the Latin word tortus which meant wrong. In French, "tort" means a wrong". Tort refers to that body of the law which will allow an injured person to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury. Every person is expected to conduct themselves without injuring others. When they do so, either intentionally or by negligence, they can be required by a court to pay money to the injured party ("damages") so that, ultimately, they will suffer the pain cause by their action. Tort also serves as a deterrent by sending a message to the community as to what is unacceptable conduct.

Tort-feasor Tort-feasor Name given to a person or persons who have committed a tort.

Tracing A legal proceeding taken under the law of equity where the plaintiff attempts to reclaim specific property, through the court, whether the property is still in the first acquirer's hands or it has passed onto others, and even if the property has been converted (related


common law terms: conversion, trover and detinue). This is a procedure frequently used by a trust beneficiary to recover misappropriated trust property.

Traffic Violations the "right to drive" is a privilege, which is governed by the individual states. Traffic violations are a mix of regulatory and penal (criminal) offenses based on violations of state statutes and city ordinances relating to the operation of vehicles.

Transferee A person who receives property being transferred (the person from whom the property is moving is the transferor).

Transferor A person from whom property moves. Property is transferred from the transferor to th transferor. I sell you my house and in transferring title to you, I am the transferor and you, the transferee.

Transportation Law the area of law focusing on the conveyance of passengers or goods especially as a commercial enterprise.

Treaty A formal agreement between two states signed by official representatives of each state. A treaty may be "law-making" in that it is the declared intention of the signatories to make or amend their internal laws to give effect to the treaty. The Berne Convention is an example of such as treaty. Other treaties are just contracts between the signatories to conduct themselves in a certain way or to do a certain thing. These latter type of treaties are usually private to two or a limited number of states and may be binding only through the International Court of Justice.

Trespass Unlawful interference with another's person, property or rights. Theoretically, all torts are trespasses.


Trial the area of law that focuses on the judicial examination of issues of fact or law disputed by parties for the purpose of determining the rights of the parties.

Trover An old English and common law legal proceeding against a person who had found someone else's property and has converted that property to their own purposes. The action of trover did not ask for the return of the property but for damages in an amount equal to the replacement value of the property. English law replaced the action of trover with that of conversion in 1852.

Trustee The person who holds property rights for the benefit of another through the legal mechanism of the trust. A trustee usually has full management and administration rights over the property but these rights must always be exercised to the full advantage of the beneficiary. All profits from the property go to the beneficiary although the trustee is entitled to reimbursement for administrative costs. There is no legal impediment for a trustee to also be a beneficiary of the same property.

Trustee de son tort A trustee "of his own wrong"; a person who is not a regularly appointed trustee but because of his or her intermeddling with the trust and the exercise of some control over the trust property, can be held by a court as "constructive" trustee which entails liability for losses to the trust.

Trusts the area of law that creates a fiduciary relationship in which one party holds legal title to another's property for the benefit of a party who holds equitable title to the property (see also estate planning).


UI Unemployment Insurance.

UIFSA The American uniform child and spousal support legislation, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act already adopted and implemented by most states and expected to be law throughout the USA soon. It is the successor of URESA and is a long-arm statutes as it gives the state which issues the first support order jurisdiction over the support payor anywhere in the USA for the purposes of varying that order. For more information, please see

Ultra vires Without authority. An act which is beyond the powers or authority of the person or organization which took it.

Unjust enrichment A legal procedure whereby you can seek reimbursement from another who benefitted from your action or property without legal justification. There are said to be three conditions which must be met before you can get a court to force reimbursement based on "unjust enrichment": an actual enrichment or benefit to the defendant, a corresponding deprivation to the plaintiff, and the absence of a legal reason for the defendant's enrichment. For example (and only theoretically as many countries have laws which have modified equity law in some situations), if you found somebody else's cash and spent it, you might be sued for reimbursement under unjust enrichment. The legal theory behind unjust enrichment is the constructive trust, which the court imposes upon the circumstances to hold the person unjustly enriched as the trustee for the person who should properly get the property back, held to be the beneficiary of the constructive trust. In broader prospect Unjust Enrichment is 1. The retention of a benefit conferred by another, without offering compensation, in circumstances where compensation is reasonably expected. [Cases: Implied and Constructive Contracts 3. C.J.S. Implied and Constructive Contracts 5.] 2. A benefit obtained from


another, not intended as a gift and not legally justifiable, for which the beneficiary must make restitution or recompense. 3. The area of law dealing with unjustifiable benefits of this kind.

Usufruct From ancient Roman law (and now a part of many civil law systems), "usufruct" means the rights to the product of another's property. For example, a farmer may give a right of "usufruct"of his land to a neighbor, thus enabling that neighbor to sow and reap the harvest of that land.

Usury Excessive or illegal interest rate. Most countries now prohibit interest rates above a certain level; and rates which exceed these levels are called "usury".

Utility/Telecom Interconnection a mechanism for resolving disputes that exists outside the state or federal judicial system specifically dealing with issues of communications at a distance (see also arbitration and mediation).

Vagrant A tramp or homeless person.

Vehicle Any thing that is designed to transport persons or objects. A bicycle has been held to be a vehicle.

Vendor The seller; the person selling.


Venue This has the same meaning as in everyday English except that in a legal context it usually refers specifically to the location of a judicial hearing. For example, if a criminal case has a very high media profile in a particular city, the "venue" may change to another city to ensure objective witnesses (i.e. that would not have been spoiled by media speculation on the crime).

Verba fortius accipiuntur contra proferentem Latin: a principle of construction whereby if words of a contract are ambiguous, of two equally possible meanings, they should be interpreted against the author of the words and not against the other party.

Verdict The decision of a jury. In criminal cases, this is usually expressed as "guilty" or "not guilty".In a civil case, the verdict would be a finding for the plaintiff or for the defendant.

Veterans Law the area of law that assists former members of the armed forces.

Vicarious liability When a person is held responsible for the tort of another even though the person being held responsible may not have done anything wrong. This is often the case with employers who are held vicariously liable for the damages caused by their employees.

Videlicet Latin for "to wit" or "that is to say." "Viz.", which is the abbreviation of videlicet, is much more commonly used. It is often found in legal documents to advise that what follows provides more detail about a preceding general statement. For example: "The defendant committed adultery; viz., on April 15th, at approximately 10:30 pm, he had sexual intercourse with Ms Jane Doe."



Latin: man or husband. Vir et uxor censentur in lege una persona is an old (and long abandoned in most countries) legal principle meaning that man and wife are considered to be one person in law. .

Vis An abbreviation of the Latin word videlicet. Short for "namely" or "that is to say."

Visitation the right of a non-custodial parent to visit or spend time with his or her children

Void or void ab initio Not legally binding. A document that is void is useless and worthless; as if it did not exist.For example, in many countries, contracts for immoral purposes are said to be "void":unenforceable and not recognized by the courts. A good example is a contract to commit a serious crime such as murder.

Voidable The law distinguishes between contracts which are void and those which are voidable. Some contracts have such a latent defect that they are said to be void (see definition of "void" above). Other have more minor defects to them and are voidable at the option of the party victimized by the defect. For example, contracts signed by a person when they are totally drunk are voidable by that person upon recovering sobriety.

Voir dire A mini-hearing held during a trial on the admissibility of contested evidence. For example, a defendant may object to a plaintiff's witness. The court would suspend the trial, immediately preside over a hearing on the standing of the proposed witness, and then resume the trial with or without the witness, or with any restrictions placed on the testimony by the judge as a result of the voir dire ruling. In a jury trial, the jury would be excused during the voir dire.

Volenti non fit injuria


Voluntary assumption of risk. A defence in tort that means where a person engages in an event accepting and aware of the risks inherent in that event, then they can not later complain of, or seek compensation for an injury suffered during the event. This is used most often to defend against tort actions as a result of a sports injury.

Voluntary Acknowledgement Of Paternity an acknowledgement by a man, or both parents, that the man is the father of a child, usually provided in writing on an affidavit or form.

Wage Withholding procedure by which automatic deductions are made from wage or income to pay some debt such as child support; may be voluntary or involuntary.

Waiver When a person disclaims or renounces to a right that they may have otherwise had. Waivers are not always in writing. Sometimes a person's actions can be interpreted as a waiver.

Warranty A guarantee given on the performance of a product or the doing of a certain thing. For example, many consumer products come with warranties under which the manufacturer will repair or replace any product that fails during the warranty period; the commitment to repair or replace being the "warranty".

Waste The abuse, destruction or permanent change to property by one who is merely in possesion of it as in the case of a tenant or a life tenant.


Wedlock Being married. Has the same meaning as "matrimony." Used mostly to refer to illegitimate children as "born out of wedlock."

White Collar Criminal Law the area of law that specifically deals with crime that is committed by salaried professional workers or persons in business, which involves a form of financial theft or fraud.

Will A written and signed statement, made by an individual, which provides for the disposition of their property when they die. (See also codicil and probate.)

WireWire-tapping An electronic surveillance device which secretly listens in and records conversations held over a phone line. It is usually only allowed with the permission of a judge and if it can be shown to be necessary for the solving of a serious crime.

Without prejudice A statements set onto a written document which qualifies the signatory as exempted from it's content to the extent that they may be interpreted as containing admissions or other interpretations which could later be used against the person signing; or as otherwise affecting any legal rights of the person signing. A lawyer will often send a letter "without prejudice" in case the letter makes admissions which could later prove inconvenient to the client.

Witness The regular definition of this word is a person who perceives an event (by seeing, hearing, smelling or other sensory perception). The legal definition refers to the court-supervised recital of that sensory experience, in writing (deposition) or verbally (testimony).

Words of limitation


Words in a conveyance or in a will which set the duration of an estate. If a will said "to Bob and his heirs", the words "and his heirs" were words of limitation because they indicate that Bob gets the land in fee simple and his heirs get no interest.

Words of purchase Words which specifically name the person to whom land is being conveyed. The property is conveyed to specifically and by name in a legal act such as a conveyance or will. This would preclude, for example, transfer as a result of intestacy.

Workers Compensation Law law that focuses on the remedies and compensation for injury to an employee arising out of and in the course of employment that is paid to the worker or dependents by an employer whose strict liability for such compensation is established by statute.

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. That "person" is typically either a sheriff (who may be instructed to seize property, for example) or a defendant (for whom the writ is the first notice of formal legal action. In these cases, the writ would command the person to answer the charges laid out in the suit, or else judgment may be made against them in their absence).

Wrongful Death an area of law that seeks to provide compensation to the heirs of a person whose death was caused by the negligent, willful, or wrongful act, neglect, omission, or default of another (see personal injury).

Wrongful dismissal Being fired from a job without an adequate reason or without any reason whatsoever. Employees do not have a right to a job for life and can be dismissed for economic or performance reasons but they cannot be dismissed capriciously. Most employment implies an employment contract, which may be supplemented by labor legislation. Either could provide for certain procedures to be followed, failing which any firing is wrongful dismissal and for which the


employee could ask a court for damages against the employer. Can also be referred to as "dismissal without just cause." Not all states recognize this tort law action.

Yellow dog contract A name given in American labor law to contract of employment by which the employee agrees to forfeit their employment if they join a union during the period of employment. These types of contracts are now prohibited by American law.

Young offender Young persons who, in many states, are treated differently than adult criminals and are tried in special youth courts. In Canada, for example, criminal suspects between 12 and 17 inclusively are processed under the Young Offenders Act, which includes several provisions which reflect the rehabilitative nature of the legislation.

ZamaZama-bandi A rent-roll; a roll showing both revenue and rent dues in a village (meaning varies according to the system) settlement of the amount of revenue assed upon an estate, a village, or district; a village or district rent roll; a register of the village holding: Settlement of the amount of revenue assed upon an estate, a village or district; a village or district rent rolls a register of the village holdings; a statement exhibiting the particulars of the public revenue, its amount, and how assed; annual statement of revenue with cultivators, or Ryotwari settlement; an annul statement, modified according to the circumstances under which the revenue is paid, whether by


individuals or communities, and whether to the Zamindar or to the government.

Zero Tolerance The policy of applying laws or penalties to even minor infringements of a code in order to reinforce its overall importance and enhance deterrence.