- C -
-A crime punishable by death.
Calendar -A list of cases
scheduled for hearing in court.
Canons of ethics
-Standards of ethical conduct for attorneys.
Capacity -Having legal
authority or mental ability. Being of sound mind.
Caption -Heading or
introductory party of a pleading.
Case law -Law established
by previous decisions of appellate courts, particularly the United
States Supreme Court.
Cases -General term for an
action, cause, suit, or controversy, at law or in equity;
questions contested before a court of justice.
Cause - A lawsuit,
litigation, or action. Any question, civil or criminal, litigated
or contested before a court of justice.
Cause of action -The fact
or facts which give a person a right to relief in court.
Caveat -A warning; a note
Censure -An official
reprimand or condemnation of an attorney. (See disbarment or
Certificate of Title
-Document issued by Registrar of Titles for real estate registered
under the Torrens System, which is considered conclusive evidence
of the present ownership and state of the title to the property
Certification -1. Written
attestation. 2. Authorized declaration verifying that an
instrument is a true and correct copy of the original.
Certiorari -A writ of
review issued by a higher court to a lower court. A means of
getting an appellate court to review a lower court's decision. If
an appellate court grants a writ of certiorari, it agrees to take
the appeal. (Sometimes referred to as "granting cert.")
Challenge -An objection,
such as when an attorney objects at a hearing to the seating of a
particular person on a civil or criminal jury.
Challenge for cause -A
request from a party to a judge that a certain prospective juror
not be allowed to be a member of a jury because of specified
causes or reasons. (Also, see peremptory challenge.)
Chambers -A judge's
private office. A hearing in chambers takes place in the judge's
office outside of the presence of the jury and the public.
Change of venue -Moving a
lawsuit or criminal trial to another place for trial. (See venue.)
Charge to the jury -The
judge's instructions to the jury concerning the law that applies
to the facts of the case on trial.
Chief judge -Presiding or
administrative judge in a court.
Chattel -An article of
Child -Offspring of
Chronological -Arranged in
the order in which events happened; according to date.
-All evidence except eyewitness testimony. One example is physical
evidence, such as fingerprints, from which an inference can be
Citation -A writ or order
issued by a court commanding the person named therein to appear at
the time and place named; also the written reference to legal
authorities, precedents, reported cases, etc., in briefs or other
Citators -A set of books
which provides the subsequent history of reported decisions
through a form of abbreviations or words. Most widely used are
Civil -Relating to private
rights and remedies sought by civil actions as contrasted with
Civil action -An action
brought to enforce or protect private rights.
Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB)
-A commission which promotes and regulates the civil air transport
industry in the U.S. and between the U.S. and foreign countries.
Civil law Law based on a
series of written codes or laws.
Civil procedure -The rules
and process by which a civil case is tried and appealed, including
the preparations for trial, the rules of evidence and trial
conduct, and the procedure for pursuing appeals.
Civil Service Commission
-A federal agency which regulates the hiring of government
Claim -A debt owing by a
debtor to another person or business. In probate parlance, the
term used for debts of the decedent and a procedure that must be
followed by a creditor to obtain payment from his estate.
Class action -A lawsuit
brought by one or more persons on behalf of a larger group.
Clayton Act -A federal law
which is an amendment to the Sherman Act dealing with antitrust
regulations and unfair trade practices.
Clean air acts -Federal
and state environmental statutes enacted to regulate and control
Clear and convincing evidence
-Standard of proof commonly used in civil lawsuits and in
regulatory agency cases. It governs the amount of proof that must
be offered in order for the plaintiff to win the case.
Clemency or executive clemency
-Act of grace or mercy by the president or governor to ease the
consequences of a criminal act, accusation, or conviction.
(Sometimes known as commutation or pardon.)
Clerk of Court
-Administrator or chief clerical officer of the court.
Closing argument -The
closing statement, by counsel, to the trier of facts after all
parties have concluded their presentation of evidence.
Code of Federal Regulations
-An annual publication which contains the cumulative executive
Code of Professional -The
rules of conduct that govern the legal profession Responsibility .
Codicil An amendment to a
Collate -To arrange in
order; verify arrangement of pages before binding or fastening;
Collective mark -Trademark
or service mark used by members of a cooperative, an association,
or other collective group or organization.
Commit -To send a person
to prison, asylum, or reformatory by a court order.
Common law -Also case law.
Law established by subject matter heard in earlier cases.
Commutation -The reduction
of a sentence, as from death to life imprisonment.
Comparative fault -A rule
in admiralty law where each vessel involved in a collision is
required to pay a share of the total damages in proportion to its
percentage of fault.
-The rule under which negligence is measured by percentage, and
damages are diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence
attributable to the person seeking recovery.
Complainant -The party who
complains or sues; one who applies to the court for legal redress.
(See also plaintiff.)
Complaint -1. The legal
document that usually begins a civil lawsuit. It states the facts
and identifies the action the court is asked to take. 2. Formal
written charge that a person has committed a criminal offense.
Conciliation -A form of
alternative dispute resolution in which the parties bring their
dispute to a neutral third party, who helps lower tensions,
improve communications, and explore possible solutions.
Conciliation is similar to mediation, but is may be less formal.
-Sentences for more than one crime that are to be served at the
same time, rather than one after the other. (See also cumulative
or consecutive sentences.)
Condemnation -The legal
process by which the government takes private land for public use,
paying the owners a fair price. (See eminent domain.)
Conformed copy -An exact
copy of a document on which has been written things that could not
or were not copied, i.e., a written signature is replaced on the
conformed copy with a notation that it was signed by the parties.
-Successive sentences, one beginning at the expiration of another,
imposed against a person convicted of two or more violations. (See
also cumulative or concurrent sentences.)
voluntary acceptance of the wish of another.
right given to a person to manage the property and financial
affairs of a person deemed incapable of doing that for himself or
herself. (See also guardianship.)
Consideration -The price
bargained for and paid for a promise, goods, or real estate.
fundamental law of a nation or state which establishes the
character and basic principles of the government.
Constitutional law -Law
set forth in the Constitution of the United States and the state
Consumer bankruptcy -A
proceeding under the Bankruptcy Code filed by an individual (or
husband and wife) who is not in business.
Contempt of court -Willful
disobedience of a judge's command or of an official court order.
of a legal proceeding to a later date.
Contract -An agreement
between two or more persons which creates an obligation to do or
not to do a particular thing. A legally enforceable agreement
between two or more competent parties made either orally or in
-The rule of law under which an act or omission of plaintiff is a
contributing cause of injury and a bar to recovery.
transferring title of land for one person or group of persons to
Conviction -A judgment of
guilt against a criminal defendant.
-Supplementary evidence that tends to strengthen or confirm the
Counsel -A legal adviser;
a term used to refer to lawyers in a case.
Counterclaim -A claim made
by the defendant in a civil lawsuit against the plaintiff. In
essence, a counter lawsuit within a lawsuit.
Court -A body in
government to which the administration of justice is delegated.
-Attorney appointed by the court to represent a defendant, usually
with respect to criminal charges and without the defendant having
to pay for the representation.
Court costs -The expenses
of prosecuting or defending a lawsuit, other than the attorney
fees. An amount of money may be awarded to the successful party
(and may be recoverable from the losing party) as reimbursement
for court costs.
Court of original jurisdiction
-A court where a matter is initiated and heard in the first
instance; a trial court.
Court reporter - A person who
transcribes by shorthand or stenographically takes down testimony
during court proceedings, a deposition, or other trial-related
governing practice and procedure in the various courts.
Creditor -A person to whom
a debt is owed by another.
Crime -An act in violation
of the penal laws of a state or the United States. A positive or
negative act in violation of penal law.
Criminal justice system-
The network of courts and tribunals which deal with criminal law
and its enforcement.
Cross-claim- A pleading
which asserts a claim arising out of the same subject action as
the original complaint against a co-party, i.e., one co-defendant
cross claims against another co-defendant for contribution for any
damages assessed against him.
The questioning of a witness produced by the other side.
for two or more crimes to run consecutively, rather than
Custody- Detaining of a
person by lawful process or authority to assure his or her
appearance to any hearing; the jailing or imprisonment of a person
convicted of a crime.