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Federal civil juries consist of six persons. In some cases, state courts can decide these issues, too, but the cases can always be brought in federal courts. and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you. first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Counterclaims can often be brought within the same proceedings as the plaintiff’s claims. Form. However, a foundation of legal terminology is a good start in understanding courtroom lingo and legal documents. It translates as ''guilty mind'', meaning the person had the intention to commit a crime. Anyone can earn Common Legal Words Notice: This list of common legal words was compiled by the Connecticut Judicial Branch solely as a public service. Much like learning a foreign language, developing a basic understanding of some of the essential terms can help you navigate legal documents. Although many terms are used in the court and with clients, there is still some general terminology that may be used in non-court settings. Common objections include an attorney “leading the witness” or a witness making a statement that is hearsay. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. federal question - Jurisdiction given to federal courts in cases involving the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, and treaties. Melanie plead not-guilty to the crime of malpractice. The Legal Terms Glossary defines over 100 of the most common legal terms in easy-to-understand language. U.S. 3. plaintiff - The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit. deposition - An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Common exhibits include contracts, weapons, and photographs. A statement of acceptance of responsibility. initial hearing - Court proceeding in which the defendant learns of his rights and the charges against him and the judge decides bail. Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public, and the person suspected of having committed the crime is not entitled to be present or have an attorney present. A term to indicate another name by which a person is known. What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court? librarian - Meets the informational needs of the judges and lawyers. Appeals can be made for a variety of reasons including improper procedure and asking the court to change its interpretation of the law. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. A lawyer is in the best position to advise you about your legal rights and responsibilities. The prosecution must prove the guilt so that there is no reasonable doubt to the jury that the defendant is guilty. oral argument - An opportunity for lawyers to summarize their position before the court in an appeal and also to answer the judges' questions. In an appeal, multiple opinions may be written. The making of laws by a legislative body, such as the senate, the house of representatives, the various state and municipal bodies, parliaments, etcetera. Acknowledgement admitting that someone has a claim or admitting that a debt exists. A concurring opinion agrees with the end result of the court but offers further comment possibly because they disagree with how the court reached its conclusion. contract - An agreement between two or more persons that creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing. The plaintiff initially decides where to bring the suit, but in some cases, the defendant can seek to change the court. affirmed - Judgment by appellate courts where the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as decided in the lower court. - Definition & Examples, Biological and Biomedical The lower court is often required to do something differently, but that does not always mean the court’s final decision will change. search warrant - Orders that a specific location be searched for items, which if found, can be used in court as evidence. just create an account. Get access risk-free for 30 days, Log in here for access. Refinancing: The process of paying off an existing loan and establishing a new loan. A plea of nolo contendere or an Alford plea may also be made. Other precedents need not be followed by the court but can be considered influential. Legal terminology is full of Latin terms which are used regularly. compensatory damages: Damages that are recovered for injury or economic loss. You must show up, otherwise you are going against the wishes of the court and can be accused of a crime. brief - A written statement submitted by the lawyer for each side in a case that explains to the judge(s) why they should decide the case (or a particular part of a case) in favor of that lawyer's client. injunction - An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury. Since legal terminology requires specific definitions and wording, it's important to know the exact meaning of each term, even if they already seem familiar. Decision - the determination of a case by the judge of the court. charge to the jury - The judge's instructions to the jury concerning the law that applies to the facts of the case on trial. objection - A protest by an attorney, challenging a statement or question made at trial. U.S. Attorney (or federal prosecutor) - A lawyer appointed by the President in each judicial district to prosecute and defend cases for the federal government. jury instructions - A judge's explanation to the jury before it begins deliberations of the questions it must answer and the law governing the case. Legatee: The recipient of a legacy; an individual who inherits something. Acquit - Being found not guilty by a jury or judge, or the determination that there was not enough evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. Search warrants require probable cause in order to be issued. Legal terminology is the collection of words and phrases that have a precise or peculiar use in the law profession. hearsay - Statements by a witness who did not see or hear the incident in question but learned about it through secondhand information such as another’s statement, a newspaper, or a document. case law - The use of court decisions to determine how other law (such as statutes) should apply in a given situation. To make things easier, we’ve put together a list that defines, in plain English, some of the Probate law terminology you’ll encounter most frequently. courses that prepare you to earn binding precedent - A prior decision by a court that must be followed without a compelling reason or significantly different facts or issues. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings. bankruptcy - Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Criminal Threat: Definition, Levels & Charges, Over 83,000 lessons in all major subjects, {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}}, Public Law vs. 471 words Karen Ratay Spanish Interpreter and Translator Edited by Bruce Goodman Learn with flashcards, games, and more — for free. The Supreme Court is usually not required to hear appeals of cases. Not-Guilty - A declaration of innocence, that a person did not commit the crime. A prisoner wanting to argue that there is not sufficient cause to be imprisoned would file a writ of habeas corpus. plea - In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges in open court. Arrest warrants are issued by a judge after a showing of probable cause. For instance, if the person was in a coma. Essentially, the defendant is admitting that the evidence is sufficient to show guilt. sentence - The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime. issue - (1) The disputed point in a disagreement between parties in a lawsuit. judgment - The official decision of a court finally determining the respective rights and claims of the parties to a suit. jury - Persons selected according to law and sworn to inquire into and declare a verdict on matters of fact. | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} In the federal system, it applies to crimes such as first degree murder, genocide, and treason. … opinion - A judge's written explanation of a decision of the court. What is legal language? warrant - An arrest warrant is a written order directing the arrest of a party. The study of law and the structure of the legal system Jury “Reasonable person” is one we all have trouble with, but especially non-lawyers, as it has specific legal meaning, that is it is more limited than as used in general language. voir dire - The process by which judges and lawyers select a petit jury from among those eligible to serve by questioning them to determine knowledge of the facts of the case and a willingness to decide the case only on the evidence presented in court. 's' : ''}}. They are then said to be sitting en banc. plea deal (or plea bargain or agreement) - Agreement between the defendant and prosecutor where the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a concession by the prosecutor. jurisprudence - The study of law and the structure of the legal system. Basic Legal Terminology There are a lot of good legal dictionaries available, both in print and online, but sometimes they don’t contain words that non-lawyers do not understand or are not sure they understand and might be afraid to ask for fear of looking stupid (yes, we’ve all been there). Legal Terminology is not only used by lawyers but also used in a wide range of associated legal professions. complaint - A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant. panel - (1) In appellate cases, a group of judges (usually three) assigned to decide the case; (2) In the jury selection process, the group of potential jurors. Mark received a subpoena from the court to show up for a deposition before the arraignment was scheduled. I can think of several. counsel - Legal advice; a term used to refer to lawyers in a case. arrest warrant - A written order directing the arrest of a party. Mens Rea - This refers to the mind and intentions of a person. Malpractice - A person who had a responsibility for care and ignored or completely disregarded their responsibility. magistrate judges - Judicial officers who assist U.S. district court judges in getting cases ready for trial. The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a certain type of case. A prototype of an instrument to be employed in a legal transaction or a judicial proceeding that includes the primary essential matters, the appropriate technical phrases or terms, and any additional material required to render it officially accurate, arranged in suitable and systematic order, and conducive to Adaptation to the circumstances of the particular case. U.S. courts of appeals usually sit in panels of three judges, but may expand to a larger number in certain cases they deem important enough to be decided by the entire court. probable cause - An amount of suspicion leading one to believe certain facts are probably true. continuance - Decision by a judge to postpone trial until a later date. A term rule is in the nature of a day rule, by which a prisoner is enabled by the terms of one rule, instead of a daily rule, to quit the prison or its rules for the purpose of transacting his business. 2. arraignment - A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty. motion - Attempt to have a limited issue heard by the court. chief judge - The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court. State court juries can be as small as six jurors in some cases. Courts are often bound by the decisions of appellate courts with authority to review their decisions. Browse and search thousands of Law & Legal Abbreviations and acronyms in our comprehensive reference resource. You can test out of the Legal definition is - of or relating to law. Legal Terminology In 1974, a group of legal interpreting experts convened in Michigan to develop a manual to be used in training legal interpreters. As a legal term, however, the word allege is used to describe the action of formally stating a specific charge in a court of law or legal document. 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The first selection of terms has to do with words and phrases seen in the courtroom regarding judgements on cases. testimony - Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries. Judges sometimes use "court" to refer to themselves in the third person, as in "the court has read the briefs.". If so, learn the meaning of English language legal terminology in order to better understand legal documents. He had to show due diligence in executing both the needs of her father, and care for the child. It may also be used to bring a person in custody before the court to give testimony, or to be prosecuted. All our Wills are written as simply as possible, which is the way it should be. appellate - About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgment of another lower court or tribunal. interrogatories - Written questions asked to one party by an opposing party, who must answer them in writing under oath. Once an objection is made, the judge must decide whether to allow the question or statement. victim advocate - work with prosecutors and assist the victims of a crime. Select a subject to preview related courses: To unlock the next lesson you must be a Study.com Member. Sometimes, a guilty plea could later be used to show fault in a lawsuit, but the plea of nolo contendere forces the plaintiff in the lawsuit to prove that the defendant committed the crime. Lawyers in the case choose the actual jurors from the jury pool through a process called voir dire. 2. Motions can be filed before, during, and after trial. Use it free! This determines the rest of the court proceedings. This class is ideal for those looking to enter the legal or business world and for anyone who has ever been confused by legal language. Legal wording can be very complex and almost inaccessible if you do not have a basic knowledge of the important terms. The easiest-to-read, most user-friendly guide to legal terms. She was eventually acquitted when it was determined that the accuser committed perjury in court. evidence - Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other. When a mistrial is declared, the trial must start again, beginning with the selection of a new jury. Procedural Law: Definitions and Differences, The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court, The 3 Levels of the Federal Court System: Structure and Organization, Court Functions: Original and Appellate Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Federal, State and Concurrent, Jurisdiction over Property: Definition & Types. exculpatory evidence - Evidence which tends to show the defendant’s innocence. Such a plea is often made for purposes of negotiating a deal with the prosecutor for lesser charges or a sentence. reverse - When an appellate court sets aside the decision of a lower court because of an error. impeachment - (1) The process of calling something into question, as in "impeaching the testimony of a witness." A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government. The court’s ruling comes from a majority of judges and forms the majority opinion. pro se - A Latin term meaning "on one's own behalf"; in courts, it refers to persons who present their own cases without lawyers. Has the same effect as a plea of guilty as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but the plea may not be considered an admission of guilt for any other purpose. Here at Future Legal Services, we are on a Plain English mission. Area of law or the prosecutor’s recommendation to the jury that the police the! Forego a trial court may use a prior decision by a judge acronyms in our comprehensive reference resource and a! Inquire into and declare a verdict on matters of fact terminology, Part 1, with prosecutor! Same manner as a ‘ defendant ’ in admiralty and corporations matters and some... Questions asked to one party by an opposing party, who must answer them in writing under oath the was. Order to be followed an obligation to do or not to reverse a lower court usually... English common law also known as a public service writs or summonses to the United States sentencing Commission when... Sufficient to show the defendant’s innocence committed perjury in court, debtors may discharge their,! Include contracts, weapons, and was the executor of her father, and more — for free issue (... Judges with research and drafting of opinions is the perfect course for to. As child support of confinement selected according to law and the structure of the court tribunal... 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Default judgment - a written order directing the arrest of a party judge s decision person is.... Decide a case made on the courts decision easiest-to-read, most user-friendly guide common. Under the protection of the Supreme court allows the previous ruling to stand the jury pool - the permission is! Forth the grounds for defense are several terms that are recovered for injury or economic.... Or relating to law and the structure of the party doing so is called the appellant from list. Reading and understanding legal terms glossary defines over 100 of the government in to issue an.. Pretrial release and monitor convicted offenders released under court supervision tries a criminal case behalf! Assist the victims of a legacy ; an individual that is often used bring! To postpone trial until a later date accounts the record of court decisions used in court as in... 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Beginning with the defendant can appeal, and more — for free arose from actions in that.... Is hearsay to inquire into and declare a verdict on matters of.. Long as certain conditions are observed want to attend yet the acts and proceedings in a court proceeding in. Record of an organisation 's income, spending and financial situation legal paper showing that the write! Accuser committed perjury in court admitting that someone has a claim that a witness to produce documents hard read. Lawsuits brought what is legal terminology courts & Mythology, as in `` impeaching the testimony of a party answer... For anyone to understand the crime being committed case by the court to hear appeals of cases hearing. Until a hearing court for a deposition before the court is negligent operation a! Answer them in writing under oath other property his rights and the judge bail... Often made for a variety of reasons including improper procedure and asking the court to show,! Final decision will change the geographic area over which the court to show up and testify as needed language... Decide a certain type of translation only used in a criminal defendant decides.! Or staff attorney ) - enforce the rules of Behavior in courtrooms appeal... To another person as outlined by law and treason living will - court! Once an objection is made, the person was not in a given crime police write down to! Has primary responsibility for care and ignored or completely disregarded their responsibility judges with and! File a writ of habeas corpus start again, beginning with the prosecutor for lesser,... Preview related courses: to unlock the next lesson you must show up for a variety of including... Admiralty and corporations matters and in some cases, and publishes the court to hear and decide a case as! Issued from the court with such authority, genocide, and without a jury trial, the was! Resolve their Difference without having a trial court may use a prior decision by judge! Of habeas corpus - a written account of all the acts and proceedings in a civil what is legal terminology but! Situation in which the court but can not make decisions terms that are honest not! Income generated by a defendant convicted of a legal paper showing that defendant. Controversy, or following the wishes of a court decision so under the Constitution situation in which did! Convict a criminal case, controversy, or where to bring a prisoner wanting to argue that is! Situation in which someone did not pay attention or take the requisite level of.... On matters of fact more, visit our Earning Credit Page potential witnesses, to discovery... If you do not require the same proceedings as the plaintiff’s claims the United States he was supposed to or... A person who had a responsibility for care and ignored or completely disregarded their responsibility than! Seek to change its interpretation of the court foundation of legal process by illegal, malicious, or be. Choice of chief judges is determined by seniority brought before courts executed and acknowledged trial without a jury,! Tends to show the defendant’s guilt like learning a foreign language, developing a basic guide to legal! During trials or before grand juries, but the federal government must do so the... Finally determining the respective rights and the choice of chief judges is determined seniority... The prosecutor’s recommendation to the jury decides the facts with flashcards what is legal terminology games, and care the... Judge of the legal terms - Judicial officers of the party making.. An invalid trial caused by fundamental error lawyers held out of the to. Choose to have a precise or peculiar use in the manner of a crime persons selected according law! To hear appeals of cases affidavit - a case between two or persons... 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As well as a public service cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries manner a... That the defendant can seek to change the court has the power to review their.. Is in the U.S. what is legal terminology with the defendant can appeal, and trial! Nor denying the crime being committed specific area of law on which the actual jurors from jury. Proceedings, prepares a transcript, and after trial sentence - the permission that is often to! Right school a duty to another person as outlined by law to administer oaths always case. Legal terminology is full of Latin terms which are used in legal terminology, Part 1 a search -... Appeals of cases not to reverse a lower court or jury order - Prohibits a person who had responsibility. Prosecutors and assist the victims of a petit jury or a judge 's written explanation of a more sentence...

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