Abstract of title - A
chronological summary of all official records and recorded
documents affecting the title to a parcel of real property.
Acceptance - The taking
and receiving of anything in good faith with the intention of
Accomplice - 1. A partner
in a crime. 2. A person who knowingly and voluntarily participates
with another in a criminal activity.
Accretion - The increase
or accumulation of land by natural causes, as out of a lake or
Acknowledgment - A formal
declaration before an authorized official by the person who
executed an instrument that it is his free act and deed; the
certificate of the official on such instrument attesting that it
was so acknowledged.
Acquittal - A release,
absolution, or discharge of an obligation or liability. In
criminal law the finding of not guilty.
Action Case- Cause, suit,
or controversy disputed or contested before a court of justice.
Additur - An increase by a
judge in the amount of damages awarded by a jury.
Adjective law - Also,
procedural law. That body of law which governs the process of
protecting the rights under substantive law.
Adjudication - Giving or
pronouncing a judgment or decree. Also the judgment given.
Administrative agencies -
Agencies created by the legislative branch of government to
administer laws pertaining to specific areas such as taxes,
transportation, and labor.
Administrator - 1. One who
administers the estate of a person who dies without a will. 2. A
Admiralty law - Also,
maritime law. That body of law relating to ships, shipping, marine
commerce and navigation, transportation of persons or property by
Admissible evidence -
Evidence that can be legally and properly introduced in a civil or
Admonish - To advise or
caution. For example the court may caution or admonish counsel for
Advance sheets - Paperback
pamphlets published by law book publishers weekly or monthly which
contain reporter cases, including correct volume number and page
number. When there are sufficient cases, they are replaced by a
Adversary proceeding - One
having opposing parties such as a plaintiff and a defendant.
Individual lawsuit(s) brought within a bankruptcy proceeding.
Adverse possession -
Method of acquiring real property under certain conditions by
possession for a statutory period.
Affiant - The person who
makes and subscribes an affidavit.
Affidavit - A voluntary,
written, or printed declaration of facts, confirmed by oath of the
party making it before a person with authority to administer the
Affirmation - A solemn and
formal declaration that an affidavit is true. This is substituted
for an oath in certain cases.
Affirmative defense - A
defense raised in a responsive pleading (answer) relating a new
matter as a defense to the complaint; affirmative defenses might
include contributory negligence or estopped in civil actions; in
criminal cases insanity, duress, or self-defense might be used.
Affirmed - In the practice
of appellate courts, the word means that the decision of the trial
court is correct.
Agreement -Mutual consent.
Aid and Abet - To
actively, knowingly, or intentionally assist another person in the
commission or attempted commission of a crime.
Alien - A foreign-born
person who has not qualified as a citizen of the country.
Allegation - A statement
of the issues in a written document (a pleading) which a person is
prepared to prove in court.
Alteration - Changing or
Alternative dispute resolution
- Settling a dispute without a full, formal trial. Methods
include mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and settlement,
American Bar Association - A
national association of lawyers whose primary purpose is
improvement of lawyers and the administration of justice.
American Law Reports - A
publication which reports cases from all United States
jurisdictions by subject matter.
Ancillary - A proceeding
which is auxiliary or subordinate to another proceeding. In
probate, a proceeding in a state where a decedent owned property
but was not domiciled.
Annotations - Remarks,
notes, case summaries, or commentaries following statutes which
describe interpretations of the statute.
Answer - A formal, written
statement by the defendant in a lawsuit which answers each
allegation contained in the complaint.
Answers to Interrogatories - A
formal written statement by a party to a lawsuit which answers
each question or interrogatory propounded by the other party.
These answers must be acknowledged before a notary public or other
person authorized to take acknowledgments.
Antitrust acts - Federal
and state statutes to protect trade and commerce from unlawful
restraints, price discriminations, price fixing, and monopolies.
Appeal - A
proceeding brought to a higher court to review a lower court
Appeal Bond - A guaranty
by the appealing party insuring that court costs will be paid.
Appearance - The act of
coming into court as a party to a suit either in person or through
Appendix - Supplementary
materials added to the end of a document.
Appellate court - A court
having jurisdiction to hear appeals and review a trial court's
Appellee - (See
respondent) The party against whom an appeal is taken.
Arbitration - The hearing
of a dispute by an impartial third person or persons (chosen by
the parties), whose award the parties agree to accept.
Arbitrator - A private,
disinterested person chosen by the parties in arbitration to hear
evidence concerning the dispute and to make an award based on the
Arraignment - The hearing
at which the accused is brought before the court to plead to the
criminal charge in the indictment. He may plead
"guilty," "not guilty," or where permitted
"nolo contendere." (See preliminary hearing.)
Arrest - To take into
custody by legal authority.
Assault - Threat to
inflict injury with an apparent ability to do so. Also, any
intentional display of force that would give the victim reason to
fear or expect immediate bodily harm.
Assignment - The transfer
to another person of any property, real or personal.
Assumption of risk - A
doctrine under which a person may not recover for an injury
received when he has voluntarily exposed himself to a known
At issue - The time in a
lawsuit when the complaining party has stated their claim and the
other side has responded with a denial and the matter is ready to
Attachment- Taking a
person's property to satisfy a court-ordered debt.
Attorney-at-law - An
advocate, counsel, or official agent employed in preparing,
managing, and trying cases in the courts.
Attorney-in-fact - A
private person (who is not necessarily a lawyer) authorized by
another to act in his or her place, either for some particular
purpose, as to do a specific act, or for the transaction of
business in general, not of legal character. This authority is
conferred by an instrument in writing, called a "letter of
attorney," or more commonly "power of attorney."
Attorney of record - The
principal attorney in a lawsuit, who signs all formal documents
relating to the suit.
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