2000 Important Legal Terms you must Know Part-I

By | February 2, 2021
2000 Important Legal Terms you must Know

Introduction

Legal terms have a distinct quality because they are precise, and precision is essential to understand the actual meaning of terms in the legal field. A legal principle may or may not apply to a given factual situation on the sole criterion of the words in which it is stated. For instance, in law, the term ‘dishonest’ has an entirely different meaning from ‘fraudulent’. Similarly, causing death ‘knowingly’ has a different meaning than causing death ‘intentionally’ and there is a different prescribed punishment for both under the law.

In this article, we have prepared the first 500 important legal terms[1] which commonly occur in layman’s language, and everyone should know about to avoid misunderstanding on the concept. Many use legal terms without precision and sometimes without understanding, and thereby there is a need to know the exact meaning of as many legal terms as possible.

The article attempts to provide the readers with the important legal terms that occur necessarily in layman’s language. The list is prepared with the objective that they will help the students and readers not only for an Entrance Test but also for their stay in law colleges and beyond. The list is prepared in alphabetical order [from letter A to E] and includes all the required legal terms one needs to understand. You will master through any legal term questions with reasonable certainty once you are familiar with these terms.

Important Legal Terms you must Know

A

  1. Abandon: To intentionally give up a right or property without any plan of reclaiming it in the future; to desert a spouse or child.
  2. Abatable nuisance: A nuisance that can be reduced.
  3. Abate: To decrease, reduce, or diminish; to end, dismiss, or temporarily suspend a lawsuit. Abatement of a legacy: A reduction in the amount of a legacy after the payment of debts owed by the person who granted the legacy.
  4. Abatement of taxes: A reduction in the amount owed by the taxee.
  5. Abdicate: To renounce a responsibility or position; generally used to describe the act of a sovereign giving up a throne or an official renouncing the privileges and duties of his or her office; also used to describe a government or official failing to fulfill responsibilities or duties.
  6. Abduct: (i) To take or carry away a person illegally by force or persuasion. (ii) To take away or detain unlawfully a female, intending to force her into marriage, concubinage, or prostitution. (iii) For a woman to entice a husband to abandon his wife for her.
  7. Abet: To help or encourage someone else to commit a crime.
  8. Abettor: A person who abets or instigates a crime; an abettor shares criminal intent with the person who in fact commits the crime.
  9. Abeyance: A state of temporary disuse or suspension; an unsettled state; the condition of an estate in fee or freehold during a lapse in succession with no current titleholder or owner.
  10. Ab initio: From the beginning; used to describe contracts, marriages, deeds, etc., that is either valid or void from their inception.
  11. Abode: A home or place of residence; a domicile
  12. Abolish: To end or do away with; generally used to describe formally ending an institution, system, or custom, such as slavery or a tax.
  13. Aboriginal: Indigenous, native to a place from earliest times.
  14. Abortion: The premature ending of a pregnancy; in legal context, generally refers to a deliberate termination, though the term can also apply to spontaneous natural expulsion of a fetus before it becomes viable.
  15. Abridge: To shorten or condense while retaining the sense of the original document. Abrogate: To repeal, revoke, or end; particularly applies to laws, rights, orders, or formal agreements.
  16. Abscond: To depart quickly and secretly in order to avoid arrest or a lawsuit, particularly after committing some crime such as theft; to leave the jurisdiction of local courts or to hide from them.
  17. Abstain: To refrain from doing something, such as voting.
  18. Abstract: Existing only in thought or theory and not in reality (1) A summary, abridgement, or condensation of a longer document. (2) That which is abstract or theoretical, often used in the phrase “in the abstract.” (1) To summarize or abridge. (2) To remove something from something else, as in abstracting money from a bank.
  19. Absurd: Illogical, incongruous, and obviously untrue.
  20. Abuse: To misuse; to wrong or mistreat a person or animal physically, mentally, or sexually.
  21. Abuse of process: Using the courts and legal process for some improper purpose, such as initiating a lawsuit for revenge or intimidation.
  22. Abut: To share a boundary; to touch; to adjoin.
  23. Accept: To receive willingly; to agree voluntarily; implies the right to refuse.
  24. Acceptance: In contract law, voluntarily consenting to an offer, which then creates a binding contract. Conditional acceptance is when agreeing to accept an offer if a certain condition is fulfilled and implied acceptance is when an agreement that is implied from a person’s words and deeds rather than from explicit acceptance of the offer.
  25. Accession: (1) An addition; something added to an existing body of property; the right to ownership of one’s property even after its form has been altered (e.g., if A cuts down B’s tree and makes it into a chair, B can still claim ownership of the chair by accession). (2) The attainment of a rank or title, as in a monarch’s accession to a throne. (3) Accepting or joining a treaty or association.
  26. Accessory: (1) Something added to another object as a decoration or to make it more useful. (2) Someone who helps another person commit a crime.
  27. Accessory after the fact: A person who aids a felon, knowing that he or she has committed a felony and intending to help him or her escape punishment.
  28. Accessory before the fact: Someone who encourages or helps another plan to commit a felony but who is not present during the commission of the crime.
  29. Accident: A chance occurrence or incident; an unforeseen and unintended event; often used to describe unfortunate occurrences, such as injury or mishap.
  30. Accident, unavoidable: An accident that occurs despite the exercise of due care and common sense; an accident that could not have been prevented.
  31. Accomplice: Someone who knowingly and willingly helps another commit a crime.
  32. Accord: To give or grant; to agree. An agreement; a treaty; an agreement between two parties that settle a dispute and provide satisfaction to the wronged party.
  33. Accord and satisfaction: A means of ending a dispute by forming an agreement (the accord) that one party will pay the other some consideration (the satisfaction, often less than the amount originally agreed to) and that this will discharge any remaining obligation.
  34. Accountability: Responsibility; the state of being answerable for something.
  35. Accredit: To recognize officially or authorize; to attribute; to send someone to another place (often internationally) as an official envoy.
  36. Accuse: To charge someone with a crime; to institute legal proceedings against a suspected criminal.
  37. Acknowledge: To admit or confirm; to accept responsibility.
  38. Acquiesce: To accept without protest; to give implied consent by silence.
  39. Acquiescence, estoppel by: Estoppel that arises if a party has the opportunity to object to something but gives implied consent by inaction.
  40. Acquisition: The process of acquiring; something acquired.
  41. Acquit: To set free or release; to absolve of criminal liability.
  42. Act: To do something, usually voluntarily. (i) an action or deed. (ii) A law or written ordinance passed legislative body.
  43. Action: (i) A proceeding or an action; the right to pursue a lawsuit. (ii) A court proceeding; a lawsuit; a formal complaint brought by one party to prosecute another or demand rights within a court of law.
  44. Actionable: Forming the legal basis of a cause of action.
  45. Active concealment: Intentional and purposeful concealment.
  46. Active negligence: Negligence that occurs through some positive act as opposed to passive inaction.
  47. Active participant: Someone who engages in some conduct that is part of the commission of a crime.
  48. Activism, judicial: The practice of making legal decisions based on beliefs about individual rights and attitudes rather than precedent and statute.
  49. Act of God: Something that happens as a result of natural forces that cannot be controlled by humans, such as storms, earthquakes, or floods. Also called act of providence.
  50. Actual damages: Damages awarded for real injuries as opposed to nominal or punitive damages.
  51. Ad damnum: To the damage; the clause in a complaint in which a plaintiff specifies the damages he or she seeks.
  52. Addendum: Something that is added on; usually written material added to the end of a document.
  53. Adeem: To remove, revoke, or take away; to take away a legacy or future bequest in advance.
  54. Ademption: Revocation of a legacy by a testator before the testator’s death, sometimes by giving the recipient the property.
  55. Adequate compensation: Under eminent domain, the market value of property when taken.
  56. Adequate remedy at law: A remedy that provides complete and appropriate relief.
  57. Adhesion contract: A contract offered to one party by another on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, in which the offering party creates all the details of the contract and the receiving party has no opportunity to bargain or modify the contract. This is common with standard form contracts. Often there is doubt as to whether an adhesion contract is valid because one party has so little bargaining power.
  58. Ad hoc: For this; arranged for one particular purpose.
  59. Ad infinitum: To infinity; repeatedly; forever.
  60. Adjoining: Joined with; touching; in contact with.
  61. Adjourn: To postpone; to suspend; to stop with the intent of resuming later.
  62. Adjudicate: To judge; to formally issue a final judgment in a court proceeding. Synonymous with adjudge.
  63. Adjudge: To decide; to pass judgment; to sentence.
  64. Ad litem: For the lawsuit; for the purposes of the lawsuit being prosecuted.
  65. Administrative agency: A governmental organization that implements a particular piece of legislation, such as workers’ compensation or tax law.
  66. Administrator: A person appointed by a court to handle the estate of someone who dies intestate, i.e., without a will.
  67. Admissible: Acceptable; valid; able to be admitted.
  68. Adultery: Voluntary sexual congress between a married person and someone who is not his or her spouse.
  69. Adversary: Opponent; opposing counsel.
  70. Adverse possession: A method of acquiring property without buying it; if a person uses land not belonging to him or her in a manner that is open (so that the owner knows about it or should know), but without permission of the owner, continuously, actually, and exclusively for a period of time prescribed by statute (usually a number of years), then a court will find that the person has earned title to the land.
  71. Advisory opinion: An opinion rendered by a judge or court that indicates how the court would rule on a question without actually ruling on some adversary proceeding; an advisory opinion is only informative and is not binding.
  72. Advocacy: Pleading or arguing for a cause.
  73. Affidavit: A written statement of facts whose truth is confirmed by the oath of the party making it, used as evidence in court.
  74. Affiliate: To associate with; to join officially.
  75. A fortiori: With a stronger reason; used in argument to describe a proposition that must be true because it is a subcategory of something that is true.
  76. Against the law: Illegal; also describes a court decision made despite insufficient evidence or material issues.
  77. Against the will: Describes the state of mind of a victim of robbery or rape.
  78. Agency: (i) A relationship in which one person, the agent, is authorized to act on behalf of the other, the principal. (ii) A department or group that performs a specific task for the government. (iii) A business that provides a specific service, often arranging transactions between customers.
  79. Agent: A person authorized to act for another person, the principal, in specific or unlimited ways.
  80. Aggravated assault: Assault made worse than simple assault by the addition of aggravating circumstances, such as extreme indifference to human life or the use of a deadly weapon.
  81. Aggravating circumstances: Circumstances that increase the severity of a crime or tort.
  82. Aggrieved party: Someone who has been injured, suffered a loss, or whose rights or property are at risk.
  83. Agreement: A mutual understanding between two or more parties; a meeting of minds. It often leads to a contract.
  84. Aid and abet: To knowingly help someone commit a crime.
  85. Aleatory contract: A legal contract in which the outcome depends on an uncertain event. Aleatory contracts are commonly used in insurance policies.
  86. Alibi: A defense in which the defendant claims to have been someplace other than the scene of a crime when the crime was committed and produces evidence to prove it, thus proving that it was physically impossible for him or her to have committed the crime in question.
  87. Alien: A foreigner; someone born in another country who has not become a citizen of his or her country of residence.
  88. Alimony: An allowance ordered by the court that one spouse pays to the other after a divorce or separation for the support and maintenance of the recipient.
  89. Allege: To claim; to assert; to state in a pleading what one intends to prove at trial.
  90. Alternative pleading: A form of pleading in which the pleader sets forth two or more different and possibly inconsistent versions of his or her claim or defense.
  91. Amend: To fix; to improve; to modify or revise a document. N. amendment.
  92. Amends: Reparations; something done to make up for a wrong done to someone else.
  93. Amicus curiae: Friend of the court; someone who is not a party to a lawsuit but who has a strong interest in the subject matter of a case and petitions the court for permission to file a brief providing information on the matter to aid the court in rendering its decision; such a brief is called an amicus curiae brief or amicus brief.
  94. Annotate: To add notes to a text explaining it or commenting on it; often done to court cases and statutes.
  95. Animus donandi: Intent to give
  96. Annul: (i) To declare something invalid; to abolish; to make nonexistent. (ii) To declare that a marriage was never legally valid and therefore never existed
  97. Anticipatory breach of contract: A breach of contract that occurs when one party announces before the time scheduled for performance that he or she will not perform according to the contract.
  98. Anticipatory offense: A crime whose purpose is to commit a crime, such as a conspiracy.
  99. A posteriori: Relating to knowledge gained through recent observation or experience.
  100. Appellant: One who files an appeal
  101. Arbitrary: At whim or at random instead of according to logic or rules; capricious
  102. Arbitration: A form of dispute resolution in which a neutral third party renders a decision after both parties speak for themselves at a hearing
  103. Arguendo: Arguing; for the sake of argument; hypothetically.
  104. Assault: To attack physically; to threaten or attempt to cause injury to someone else.
  105. Attorney: A lawyer; more generally, an agent appointed to act for another person
  106. Attorney general: An attorney who serves as the head of the Department of Justice and chief legal adviser to the president and who represents the country in legal matters; each state also has its own attorney general who performs the same functions at the state level.
  107. Award: To grant something; to give something as a prize or compensation.

 B

  1. Background check: An investigation performed on a person’s history and background that can include criminal records, bankruptcies, liens, civil court judgments, previous and current addresses, property ownership, and other information
  2. Bad debt: An uncollectible debt; a debt owed by an insolvent debtor
  3. Bad faith: Deceit; intent to defraud; dishonesty in dealing with someone.
  4. Bail: To furnish money or property to get someone released from prison.
  5. Bail bond: A contract between a prisoner, the state, and a third party known as a bail bondsman, in which the bail bondsman agrees to furnish bail for the prisoner in return for a fee and takes the risk that the prisoner will not return for trial.
  6. Bailee: A person who holds goods or property for someone else for a specific purpose, such as a mechanic keeping a car for repairs.
  7. Bailiff: (i) A court officer who keeps order and looks after jurors and prisoners. (ii) An agent or steward who is responsible for property or goods.
  8. Bailment: The delivery of goods to a bailee to be held in trust for a specific purpose, such as repairs, often formalized with a contract.
  9. Bailor: One who delivers personal property or goods to a bailee.
  10. Bankruptcy: A process in which a court declares a person or business insolvent and orders the debtor’s assets to be sold to pay off creditors, at which point the debtor is discharged from any further obligation and may begin anew
  11. Bar: (i) The court; a particular place in the courtroom. (ii) A body of attorneys; such bodies are organized at the local, state, or national level. (iii) To prevent or forbid
  12. Bargain: To negotiate the terms of a transaction or agreement
  13. Barrister: In the United Kingdom, a lawyer who conducts trials
  14. Battery: A wrongful and intentional physical touching that causes offense and possibly, though not necessarily, injury.
  15. Bench: (i) A court; the seat a judge occupies in a courtroom; the office of judge. (ii) The collective body of judges.
  16. Bench trial: A trial conducted by a judge without a jury.
  17. Bench warrant: An order issued by a court for the arrest of a person, often used to make that person appear in court.
  18. Beneficial interest: In trusts, the benefit or profit from the use of property enjoyed by a beneficiary who has an equitable interest in it, as opposed to the legal title held by a trustee.
  19. Beneficial owner: Someone who has an equitable title of property but not legal title.
  20. Beneficial use: A right to use and enjoy property without holding legal title to it.
  21. Beneficiary: Someone who benefits from someone else’s act, such as a person for whom property is held in trust, the recipient of the proceeds of an insurance policy, or someone named in a will as a recipient of property
  22. Bequeath: To leave a gift of personal property to someone by a will.
  23. Bequest: A gift of personal property made in a will; a legacy.
  24. Bequest, conditional: A bequest that takes place when specified conditions are met.
  25. Bequest, residuary: A bequest of all items remaining in an estate after specified legacies and debts are paid.
  26. Bequest, specific: A bequest of a specific item or items
  27. Beyond a reasonable doubt: In a criminal case, proven by evidence to the point that a reasonable man or woman would be entirely convinced and morally certain that the defendant is guilty
  28. Bias: A preconceived opinion or prejudice; a condition that renders someone unable to judge a matter impartially.
  29. Bid: An offer to buy or sell goods or services at a stated price, common at auctions or among builders or labourers seeking contracts
  30. Bigamy: Knowingly being married to more than one spouse at once.
  31. Bigot: A person who is prejudiced against people who live differently or who hold different beliefs from him or her
  32. Bill of lading: A receipt given by a carrier to someone who entrusts goods to the carrier for shipment, serving as a contract between shipper and carrier and giving its holder title to the goods held by the carrier.
  33. Bipartisan: Containing representatives from both of two sides or parties.
  34. Blackmail: Demanding money in exchange for performing a duty or under threat of revealing injurious information or causing injury to one’s person or property; extortion.
  35. Blank endorsement: Endorsing a check or promissory note by signing it without writing in a recipient’s name, leaving space for insertion of a recipient’s name.
  36. Blasphemy: Irreverent or profane speech or writing about religion or sacred things.
  37. Blog: Weblog; a website typically produced by an individual that contains entries on particular topics, links to other websites, and sometimes comments from readers.
  38. Board: A group of people who manage a business or public office.
  39. Bonafide: In good faith; genuine; not intending to deceive.
  40. Bond: Written evidence of a debt issued by a company or government in which the issuing body agrees to pay a fixed rate of interest during the period of the loan and to repay the principal at a specified date, called maturity.
  41. Bond, bearer: A negotiable instrument payable to its holder.
  42. Bond, surety: A bond issued by a surety promising to perform an obligation if the person who is supposed to perform it defaults.
  43. Bond issue: Raising funds by offering bonds to investors; the bonds issued for that purpose.
  44. Bondsman: Someone who serves as surety for a bond
  45. Boycott: To withdraw from commercial or social dealings with a person, business, or state as a way of showing displeasure with that party’s actions
  46. Breach: To break a promise; to fail to perform a duty or observe an agreement. N. breach.
  47. Breach, constructive: A breach occurring when one party does something to prevent his or her fulfilling contractual duties or announces beforehand that he or she will not fulfil contractual duties.
  48. Breach, material: A serious breach of a contract that essentially destroys the value of the contract, excuses the non-breaching party from further performance and allows suit for breach of contract.
  49. Breach, partial: A failure to perform some of the duties of a contract, which gives the non-breaching party the right to collect damages but does not excuse his or her performance of contractual duties.
  50. Breach of contract: Failure to perform acts promised in a contract.
  51. Breach of duty: Failure to perform legal or moral duties, or to use the care that a reasonable man or woman would use in given circumstances.
  52. Breach of trust: A trustee’s failure to properly perform duties required by the trust.
  53. Brief: (1) To write a summary of a case. (2) To inform someone of the details of something
  54. Burden of proof: A party’s duty to furnish sufficient evidence to sustain an allegation
  55. Bureaucracy: A form of government or organization with a hierarchical structure of officials, authority delegated from top to bottom, well-defined positions within the structures, inflexible rules, and usually a fairly complicated administrative system.
  56. Bylaws: The internal rules and regulations made by a business or organization to govern its internal workings

C

  1. Cabinet: The President’s board of advisors, composed of the heads of the executive departments, the vice president, and occasionally other officials
  2. Cafeteria plan: A fringe-benefit plan that allows employees to choose from a range of benefits, selecting them according to individual needs.
  3. Callable: Able to be paid off before maturity.
  4. Calumny: Slander or defamation; making false statements to harm someone’s reputation; a slanderous statement.
  5. Campaign: (i) An organized effort to achieve some goal, usually election to political office or promotion of a political or social cause. (ii) Military operations in a specific area or done for a particular reason.
  6. Cancel: To annul; to revoke; to announce that something previously planned will not take place.
  7. Canon: A rule or standard; a body of rules, particularly for governing the conduct of a kind of professional; a rule suggesting appropriate conduct for legal professionals.
  8. Capacity: Legal competence; having the age and mental capacity to understand the consequences of one’s actions and to make rational decisions.
  9. Capias: A writ issued by the court demanding that a named person be taken into custody.
  10. Capital: Wealth in the form of money and assets; all the assets owned by a business.
  11. Capitalize: To convert present or expected income into an asset; in business accounting, to record an expense (such as repairs to a building) as a capital asset because it will produce long-term benefits, thus allowing the expense to be written off over a period of time.
  12. Capital offense: An offense for which execution is a possible punishment; also called a capital crime.
  13. Capital punishment: The death penalty; punishment by death.
  14. Carnal knowledge: Sexual intercourse; penetration of a female’s genitals by a male’s.
  15. Carryback: In taxation, the process of applying for a deduction or credit from one year to the tax liability of a previous year.
  16. Carryover: A deduction or credit from one year to the tax liability of a future year.
  17. Carte blanche: Complete freedom to act as one chooses; unlimited discretionary power.
  18. Cartel: A coalition of independent producers, usually industrial corporations, who band together to set prices and restrict competition.
  19. Case law: The body of law derived from examination of previously judged cases, including their treatment of a subject and interpretation of legislation.
  20. Casualty: In insurance, an accident; something destroyed or badly damaged; a person killed.
  21. Causa: Cause, reason.
  22. Causa mortis: In anticipation of death.
  23. Causation: Causing something; a cause; the connection between cause and effect.
  24. Cause of action: A set of facts that creates a valid legal claim that can be grounds for a lawsuit.
  25. Caveat: Let him beware; a warning.
  26. Caveat emptor: Let the buyer beware; the principle that the buyer is responsible for examining merchandise and judging its quality before buying it.
  27. Censor: To examine published media looking for offensive content and suppressing it when found.
  28. Censure: A formal reprimand or expression of disapproval.
  29. Certify: To confirm formally; to authenticate in writing.
  30. Certiorari: A writ issued by an appellate court to a lower court requesting the official record of a decision made by the lower court so that the appellate court can review it for errors.
  31. Champerty: An illegal agreement between a party to a lawsuit and another person who agrees to pay the costs of pursuing the lawsuit in exchange for a share of the resulting proceeds.
  32. Charge: (1) to accuse someone of an offense. (2) To entrust someone with a duty. (3) To request money for something purchased or provided. (4) To issue instructions to a jury as to how they should analyze the facts and arguments presented at trial.
  33. Charter: A document granted by the state permitting the creation of a corporation, city, or university and defining its rights and privileges.
  34. Chattel: A possession; movable or personal property, as opposed to land or real property; something that can be owned.
  35. Chief: Most important; highest ranking.
  36. Chief justice: The judge who presides over a court with more than one judge.
  37. Choate: Completed.
  38. Chose in action: A claim that can be brought as a lawsuit.
  39. Churning: Excessive and unnecessary trades of stock by a broker in order to increase his or her commission.
  40. Circumstantial evidence: Evidence drawn from inference or deduction; secondary evidence.
  41. Citation: A reference in a legal document or argument to a legal authority such as a precedent or statute.
  42. Citizen: A legally recognized member of a nation or state, who owes allegiance to the government and in return, receives the government’s protection.
  43. Citizenship: The status of a citizen.
  44. Civil: Having to do with the concerns of citizens and the state; the branch of law that handles private matters as opposed to criminal ones.
  45. Civilian: A person not in the military; a private citizen.
  46. Civil law: Law concerned with citizens and private matters.
  47. Civil liberties: Personal rights and immunities from government oppression established and guaranteed by the Constitution, including freedom of speech and freedom of association; natural liberties that cannot be limited by the government.
  48. Civil procedure: The laws governing procedure and practice used in civil litigation.
  49. Civil rights: The rights of all citizens to personal liberties, freedom, and equality; rights specifically granted through laws enacted by communities, as opposed to civil liberties, which are rights that the government is not allowed to restrict.
  50. Claim: (i) to state the truth of something; to assert. (ii) To assert ownership of or right to money or property and demand it.
  51. Claimant: One who makes a claim
  52. Class action: A lawsuit brought by one or a few members of a group on behalf of all the members, especially certified by the court to confirm that all the members share a concern and meet other requirements.
  53. Clause: A paragraph, stipulation, or article in a legal document such as a contract or pleading.
  54. Clemency: Mercy, forgiveness, or leniency
  55. Clerical: Having to do with bookkeeping, records, filing, correspondence, and similar duties
  56. Closing argument: An attorney’s final arguments to the judge and jury at the conclusion of his or her case, summing up the facts supporting the case and explaining why the opposing side’s case is inadequate.
  57. Closing statement: A document that records the details of the sale, including purchase price, deductions, tax adjustments, and credits, resulting in the net amount that the seller receives
  58. Code: A systematic collection of laws, regulations, or rules.
  59. Code, civil: The collection of laws based on the French Napoleonic Code that governs Louisiana jurisprudence. Also known as code civil.
  60. Code, penal: A collection of laws dealing with criminal acts and punishments.
  61. Co-defendant: Someone who is a defendant together with someone else accused of the same crime or offense, or who issued with another defendant in a single action.
  62. Codicil: An addendum to a will, modifying, adding to, revoking, or explaining portions of the original document.
  63. Codify: To arrange laws or rules systematically.
  64. Coerce: To force someone to act against his or her wishes, through the use of verbal or physical threats or other forms of compulsion.
  65. Cognizable: Within a court’s jurisdiction.
  66. Cognizance: Jurisdiction or judicial notice.
  67. Co-heir: One of two or more heirs inheriting from the same estate.
  68. Collate: To collect information and arrange it in order.
  69. Collateral: Something pledged as security for a loan, to be forfeited if the debt is not paid.
  70. Collateral estoppels: A doctrine holding that a judgment on issues litigated by two parties is binding on them for those issues in all subsequent actions with different causes of action.
  71. Collective bargaining: Negotiation and dispute resolution over employment matters between a representative group of employees and the employer.
  72. Colloquium: In an action for slander or libel, a declaration that words spoken or written by the defendant was about the plaintiff and intended by the defendant.
  73. Collude: (i) Conspire; to agree secretly to commit some fraudulent act. (ii) In a divorce proceeding, for the husband and wife to agree that one of them will commit some act that can be grounds for divorce.
  74. Collusive action: A lawsuit brought by people who do not actually have a grievance in order to see how the court will rule or to establish a precedent; courts will not hear collusive actions because they have no real controversy.
  75. Colour: Appearance as opposed to reality; disguise; hiding facts behind a false legal theory.
  76. Colourable: Presenting a deceptive appearance.
  77. Comity: (i) Courtesy toward others. (ii) The judicial practice of one court recognizing the decisions of courts from other jurisdictions out of respect.
  78. Comity of nations: Recognition by one nation within its own territory of the laws of another nation.
  79. Commence: To begin
  80. Commit: (i) To do or perform a deed or act. (ii) To entrust to the care of someone else; to send someone to prison or a mental institution. (iii) To bind oneself to someone or something.
  81. Commitment: (i) The act of committing. (ii) An obligation.
  82. Commodity: (i) Something that can be sold; a thing of value. (ii) Raw materials or agricultural products that can be bought and sold.
  83. Common law: A system of law based on judicial precedent and custom rather than statute and code; the system of jurisprudence used in England and most of the United States
  84. Compact: An agreement between two or more parties, especially states or governments, to work together on shared concerns.
  85. Compensate: (i) To give someone money to make up for an injury he or she has suffered. (ii) To pay someone for work he or she has performed.
  86. Competency: Ability to stand trial or serve as a witness.
  87. Competent: capable; having the ability to do something; capable of understanding.
  88. Competent court: A court with proper jurisdiction.
  89. Competent evidence: Evidence that is admissible because it is material and relevant.
  90. Complainant: A party who brings a legal complaint against another.
  91. Complaint: (i) The pleading that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff sets forth his or her causes of action and demands relief. (ii) In criminal law, a charge made before a magistrate that a particular person has committed an offense, in an effort to begin the process of prosecution.
  92. Compliance: The practice within a business of ensuring that all personnel are following applicable laws, rules, and regulations
  93. Concealment: Intentionally withholding information.
  94. Concerted action: An act that has been planned and performed by two or more people with a common purpose.
  95. Conciliation: Amicable resolution of a dispute by the parties themselves, often done before trial.
  96. Conclusive evidence: Incontrovertible evidence; evidence that establishes a proposition and that cannot be disproved.
  97. Concur: To agree.
  98. Condemn: (i) to find someone guilty of a crime; to sentence someone to death. (ii) To disapprove of publicly. (iii) To officially declare a building unfit for use. (iv) To use eminent domain to take private property for public use.
  99. Condition precedent: A fact or state of affairs that must exist before a particular contractual duty must be performed.
  100. Condition subsequent: A future event that will end a contractual obligation.
  101. Condonation: In marriage, the forgiveness of some behavior that would be grounds for divorce by resuming cohabitation on the condition that the behavior not happens again.
  102. Condone: To approve, albeit reluctantly; to allow undesirable behaviour to continue
  103. Confidential: Secret; private
  104. Confiscate: To take someone’s private property for public use; during wartime, to take an enemy’s property; for the government to appropriate private property without compensation
  105. Conflict of interest: An ethical dilemma in which a person is entrusted with two duties at odds with one another, in which attention to one duty will harm the other.
  106. Conflict of laws: The conflict that results when a controversy occurs in more than one jurisdiction, thus raising the question of which jurisdiction’s law to apply to the matter; the branch of law that considers these questions, also called choice of law.
  107. Conglomerate: A corporate entity composed of several different corporations merged together.
  108. Conjugal rights: Rights that each spouse can expect from the other, particularly sexual rights but also the rights to society, comfort, and affection.
  109. Consanguinity: Blood relationship; the relationship of people who share a common ancestor.
  110. Consideration: The payment or reward essential to the formation of a contract and that persuades a person to enter the contract; something of value given in exchange for a performance or a promise.
  111. Consortium: (i) A married person’s right to fellowship, help, and affection from his or her spouse. (ii) An association of several companies that join together to pursue a common object for a specified period of time, in which the members do not assume liability for one another’s actions.
  112. Conspirator: A person who participates in a conspiracy.
  113. Constituent: One who authorizes someone else to act for him or her, usually used to name the members of a community that elect and are represented by a legislator or politician.
  114. Constitution: A collection of fundamental principles of law according to which a nation or organization is to be governed.
  115. Constitutional: According to principles defined in the Constitution.
  116. Contempt: Disregard for authority; willful disobedience or disrespect.
  117. Contempt of court: Disobedience to a court and its officers; any act intended to interfere with the operation or dignity of the court.
  118. Contingent: Depending on something; occurring if some specified condition occurs; provisional.
  119. Convention: (i) An agreement, usually among several nations, that is less formal than a treaty. (ii) A meeting of members of a professional, political, or social organization.
  120. Convertible securities: Bonds or preferred stock that can be exchanged for common stock or another lesser security, generally within the same company.
  121. Convict: For a court to find someone guilty of a crime.
  122. Conviction: The legal act of finding someone guilty of a crime; the end of the prosecution, including the judgment or sentence.
  123. Cooperative: A business owned and run by its members for the purpose of mutual help, in which profits and costs are shared
  124. Copyright: The legal right to publish, perform, or display a work of literature, art, music, drama, recording, or film, protected both by common law and by statute, including the Copyright Act
  125. Corporal punishment: Physical punishment, such as beating
  126. Corporation: The legal entity created by the law of an association of people who hold shares of a business, existing as an artificial person that can sue and be sued and whose liability is generally limited to corporate assets.
  127. Corporeal: Having a physical body.
  128. Corpus: Body; a collection or mass; the principal mass of a physical substance. In trust law, it is the principal or res of an estate.
  129. Corpus delicti: The body of a crime; the person or object on which the crime is committed, or the prima facie showing that the person or object was the victim of a crime; a necessary element for conviction, including the occurrence of some injury and some criminal act.
  130. Corpus juris: Body of law; a book that collects principles of law.
  131. Corroborate: To confirm or verify; to agree with or give support to.
  132. Counsel: (i) An attorney, a lawyer; also called counselor. (ii) Legal advice.
  133. Counterclaim: A claim made by a defendant to oppose the claim brought by the plaintiff
  134. Counterfeit: Fake; forged; copied with the intention of passing off as authentic.
  135. Course of employment: The normal duties and activities associated with a job; the activities that an employee performs as his or her customary services to the employer.
  136. Court-martial: (i) A military court that hears cases involving members of the armed forces. (ii) A trial or proceeding before a military court.
  137. Court of appeals: A court that hears appeals of decisions made by trial courts.
  138. Covenant: A contract or formal agreement; often produced in writing and signed by all parties
  139. Credibility: The quality, especially in a witness, of being believable and likely, to tell the truth.
  140. Creditor: A person or business to whom a debt is owed.
  141. Crime: An act that violates criminal law.
  142. Criminalize: To decide that some act is a crime; to pass a law stating that an act is a crime
  143. Criminal mischief: The crime of maliciously injuring property.
  144. Criminal procedure: The body of law that governs actions in criminal courts, including investigation, prosecution, and punishment.
  145. Criminal record: An official history of a person’s arrests, convictions, sentences, and paroles; also called a rap sheet.
  146. Cross-examination: At trial or deposition, the examination of a witness by the party opposed to the side that produced him or her, regarding testimony already raised on direct examination and matters of witness credibility.
  147. Culpable: Guilty; deserving blame or punishment
  148. Custodian: One who cares for something, ranging from buildings to financial assets.
  149. Custom: The traditional, ordinary, and accepted way of doing things in a particular community
  150. Customs: Tariffs or taxes on imported goods; also called customs duties.
  151. Cybercrime: A crime committed using computers, networks, or the Internet.
  152. Cyberlaw: The field of law that encompasses issues involving computers, networks, and information technology.

 D

  1. Damage: Physical harm; injury.
  2. Damages: Money awarded as compensation for injury or loss.
  3. Damages, actual: Damages for actual losses and injuries sustained; also called compensatory damages or general damages.
  4. Damages, consequential: Damages for an injury that arises from the consequences of an act, for loss that arises from an injury but is not directly caused by the injury and would not necessarily occur; also called special damages.
  5. Damages, incidental: Damages for expenses that arise out of an occurrence that gives rise to a claim for actual damages.
  6. Damages, liquidated: A sum that a party to a contract agrees to pay if he or she breaches it; meant to be a reasonable estimate of the loss that the breach would cause.
  7. Damages, punitive: Damages over and above compensation for the actual injury, intended to punish the wrongdoer for malicious conduct; also called exemplary damages.
  8. Damnum absque injuria: Harm without injury; a loss or injury that does not give rise to a legal action to recover damages.
  9. Damnum fatale: Harm due to fate; an injury caused by an act of God or some force beyond human control.
  10. Deadly force: Force that could kill the person against whom it is used.
  11. Death penalty: Capital punishment; punishing someone for a serious crime such as murder by killing him or her.
  12. Debit: In accounting, a sum of money that is charged and due; the opposite of credit.
  13. Debt: Something, usually money, that is owed; an obligation to pay a certain amount
  14. Debtor: A person who owes a debt to someone else
  15. Deceased: Someone who has died; a dead person. ADJ. Dead. decedent. N. Someone who has died.
  16. Deceive: To make someone believe something that is not true; to mislead
  17. Declaration, dying: A statement made by someone who thinks he or she is about to die about the circumstances of his or her death; dying declarations are sometimes admissible as evidence
  18. Declaratory judgment: A judgment issued by a court in which it determines the legal rights of the parties or expresses an opinion on the law but does not award a remedy; also called declaratory relief.
  19. Decree: The judicial decision of a court in equity made after hearing testimony and determining the rights of the parties
  20. Decree nisi: A conditional judgment that will be made permanent unless a party can show cause why it should not be; common in actions for divorce.
  21. Decriminalize: To legalize an act that was formerly criminal.
  22. Deed: A written instrument, signed and delivered, by which one person conveys land to another.
  23. Deed of release: A deed that releases the property from an encumbrance, such as a mortgage.
  24. Deed of trust: A deed that transfers the title of the property to a trustee as security; used instead of a mortgage in some states.
  25. De facto: In fact, in reality; used to describe a situation that is for all practical purposes the case, though it might not be legal or official
  26. Defamation: An intentional publication or public statement of false information that damages someone’s reputation.
  27. Defeasance: The action of rendering something null and void; an instrument that negates or nullifies some other instrument, such as a will or deed.
  28. Defend: To resist an attack; to shield or repel; to represent a defendant in a lawsuit.
  29. Defendant: The party against whom a lawsuit is brought; in civil cases, the party who responds to the complaint; in criminal cases, the person against whom charges are brought.
  30. Defense: A response, reason, or allegation offered by a defendant to a lawsuit as to why the plaintiff has not established a claim and should not receive relief; a denial of the plaintiff’s claims or an attack on the validity of the plaintiff’s causes of action.
  31. Defer: To put off to a later time; to postpone.
  32. Deficit: A shortfall; an insufficiency; the condition brought about by spending more money than is earned; in accounting, the opposite of surplus.
  33. Defraud: To take money or property from someone through the use of fraud or deceit; to cheat someone; to misrepresent a fact intending for someone to rely on it and thereby harm him or her.
  34. Degree of negligence: A measurement of different kinds of negligence, used to determine whether someone is sufficiently negligent to be liable for an injury
  35. De jure: By law, by right; the condition of being in compliance with all applicable laws; legitimate and lawful.
  36. Delegate: To entrust someone with a task or responsibility
  37. Delict: A violation of the law; a tort, injury, or crime.
  38. Delicto, ex: Arising out of a tort.
  39. Delinquency: Neglect of duty; the commission of minor crimes.
  40. Delinquent: (i) Of a person, neglecting one’s duty; failing to pay a debt; guilty of a crime or failure of duty. (ii) Of a debt, due and unpaid.
  41. Delude: To deceive someone or persuade him or her to believe something that is false.
  42. Demand note: A note or instrument that is payable on demand or on presentation
  43. Demise: To lease property; to convey property for life or for years; to bequeath.
  44. Demur: To object to a point of law or fact alleged by the opposing party on the grounds that it does not advance the interests of the party making the statement
  45. Denounce: To publicly declare someone or something to be morally wrong or evil
  46. De novo: Anew; starting again at the beginning; doing something a second time as if the first time had not occurred.
  47. Deponent: A witness who testifies at a deposition.
  48. Deport: To send a foreign national from one country to another because he or she has committed a crime or is of illegal immigration status.
  49. Depose: (i) to question a witness at a deposition. (ii) To testify under oath
  50. Deposition: A form of discovery before trial in which an attorney questions a witness under oath and a court reporter makes a transcript of the testimony, which can then be used as evidence at trial.
  51. Depreciate: To decrease in value over time.
  52. Depredation: Attacking or plundering; robbing or pillaging
  53. Derelict: In poor condition; neglected; abandoned.
  54. Derivative: Something that comes from another person or source
  55. Descent: Family origin; heredity; the transmission of property and goods by inheritance.
  56. Descent, collateral: Descent among relatives who share a common ancestor but are not in a direct line, as between uncle and nephew or between cousins.
  57. Descent, lineal: Descent in a direct line, as from parent to child or grandparent to grandchild.
  58. Desist: To stop; to refrain from doing something.
  59. Despotism: A form of government in which one ruler has absolute power
  60. Detain: To hold in custody; to arrest; to keep or hold back.
  61. Detainer, unlawful: Wrongfully keeping a person’s property or goods and refusing to deliver them at the right time or on-demand
  62. Detinue: A common law action brought to recover property that has been unlawfully taken
  63. Devise: A testamentary gift of real property made in a will.
  64. Devolve: To pass from one person to another, often as a result of the operation of law and without any intentional act by either party
  65. Dictum: A statement or observation made by a judge about a case that is not an official part of a judicial opinion, does not embody the court’s decision, and is not binding.
  66. Dilatory: Deliberately slow; intended to delay something.
  67. Diligence: Persistence and care; attentiveness; hard work
  68. Diligence, due: N. Investigation of the management, operation, and facts surrounding an investment opportunity; steps that a person must take to satisfy the requirements in buying or selling something.
  69. Diminished capacity: N. In criminal law, a mental state that is not sufficient to have the mens rea needed to commit a crime, brought on by mental disease or defect, trauma, or intoxication
  70. Disability: A physical or mental condition that prevents someone from performing certain acts; lack of legal capacity, caused by a condition such as infancy or insanity
  71. Disbar: To expel a lawyer from the bar and rescind his or her license to practice law
  72. Discharge: (i) to perform a duty; to satisfy a debt. (ii) To dismiss or release someone. (iii) To terminate someone’s employment.
  73. Discontinuance: An end to a lawsuit brought about voluntarily by a plaintiff; a nonsuit or dismissal.
  74. Discredit: To hurt someone’s credibility or reputation; to make an idea, a statement, an individual, or a piece of evidence appear unreliable.
  75. Discretion: (i) Independent judgment; freedom and authority to decide how to act; the power given to public officials to act independently in fulfilling their duties
  76. Dismissal: A judge’s order that terminates a lawsuit, motion, etc., without considering the issues involved in the matter
  77. Disposition: (i) Giving up or relinquishing property, especially through a will. (ii) The settlement of a matter; a judge’s final ruling. (iii) In a criminal case, the sentence. (iv) Demeanor or personality
  78. Dispute: A disagreement or argument; a conflict
  79. Dissent: To hold a contrary opinion
  80. Dissolution: The act of terminating something
  81. Dividend: Corporate profits and earnings distributed to shareholders in proportion to the number of shares they own.
  82. Docket: (i) A list on a court calendar of cases scheduled to be tried. (ii) On appeal, a formal record summarizing the proceedings of a lower court.
  83. Documentary evidence: Evidence consisting of documents whose authenticity has been established.
  84. Domain: (i) Total ownership of land; land that is owned completely. (ii) The property owned by a nation or state; synonymous with public domain. (iii) An area of expertise or influence.
  85. Domestic violence: Violent physical behaviour committed by one family member against another.
  86. Domicile: A legal home; the country or state that a person considers his or her permanent residence, even if he or she is living elsewhere
  87. Dominion: Ownership and control over how a piece of property is used; title and possession.
  88. Double jeopardy: A second prosecution for an offense after the defendant has already been tried for it and acquitted
  89. Dower: In common law, a widow’s right to a life estate in her dead husband’s property
  90. Dual citizenship: The condition of being a citizen of two nations simultaneously
  91. Due care: The legal duty a person owes to others in order not to be negligent
  92. Due process of law: Fair judicial treatment guaranteed to every citizen
  93. Duress: Conduct intended to force someone to do something he or she does not want to do, such as the threat of violence or coercion

E

  1. Earnest: Something that one person gives another to mark a promise or bind a contract, such as a token, pledge, or partial payment.
  2. Earnest money: Money paid by a buyer on entering a contract as proof of his or her intention to pay the full price at the proper time.
  3. Easement: A right to use someone else’s property (the servient estate or burdened property) for a specific purpose.
  4. Eavesdrop: To secretly and unlawfully listen to a conversation, either by entering a private place to listen, installing a listening or recording device outside a private place, or intercepting communications over telephones or other devices.
  5. Ecclesiastical: Relating to the Christian church.
  6. Ecclesiastical court: A court with jurisdiction over religious and church matters.
  7. Ecclesiastical law: Law applying to religious matters
  8. Egalitarian: Supporting equality and fair treatment for all people
  9. Ejectment: A common law action brought by a property owner to eject a tenant who has refused to leave at the appointed time or someone claiming the land by adverse possession.
  10. Ejusdem Generis: Of the same kind; a rule of interpreting statutes holding that if a statute lists a few examples of something, then it will be assumed that it only includes things similar to the examples; e.g., if for “dangerous weapon” it uses examples of guns, then the term refers only to firearms and not to other weapons such as knives.
  11. Electoral College: The group of representatives chosen from each state to cast their votes in a presidential election.
  12. Eligible: Able or qualified to do or receive something.
  13. Emancipate: (i) to free someone from the control of someone else; to liberate. (ii) For a parent to relinquish parental rights and duties toward a child.
  14. Embezzle: To misappropriate or steal funds entrusted to one’s care. N. embezzlement.
  15. Embracery: The crime of trying to influence a juror with bribes, promises, etc.
  16. Emergency doctrine: The principle that a person is not expected to exercise the same degree of care when faced with an emergency or sudden peril as he or she would under ordinary circumstances.
  17. Eminent domain: The government’s right to take private property for public use in return for just compensation to the property owner.
  18. Emissions trading: The practice of assigning businesses a certain number of credits that permit them to emit specified amounts of pollution, which they can then trade with other businesses that need to emit more or less pollution than their credits allow; also called cap and trade.
  19. Emolument: The total compensation from a job, including salary, rank, benefits, and other privileges and advantages.
  20. Employment at will: A type of employment in which either employer or employee may end the working relationship at any time and for any reason.
  21. Enabling clause: A clause in a statute that gives the proper officials the power to enforce it.
  22. Enabling statute: A statute that gives someone a new power.
  23. Enact: To make something happen; to create a law.
  24. Enacting clause: A clause at the beginning of a statute that identifies its purpose and the body that has created it.
  25. En banc: On the bench; by the whole court; refers to occasions when all the judges of a court participate in a session, or when the panel of judges is expanded for a special case.
  26. Encroach: To intrude; to gradually advance into someone else’s property or territory. N. encroachment.
  27. Encryption: The practice of converting information into code that can only be deciphered with a key.
  28. Encumber: To burden; to place a debt or mortgage on a property
  29. Endorse: (i) To sign the back of a check or other negotiable instrument to make it payable to someone else. (ii) To express approval of someone or something.
  30. Endow: To bestow something on someone; to provide financial support by granting property or an income.
  31. Endowment: A fund granted to support something, usually an institution such as a university or charity.
  32. Enforce: To take action to ensure that a law is upheld.
  33. Enfranchise: To grant someone the right to vote.
  34. Enjoin: To order or require someone to do something.
  35. Enjoyment: The ability to use and profit from the property one owns. See also quiet enjoyment.
  36. Enlargement: An extension of time granted by a court, to do something that ordinarily must be completed by a specific deadline; also called enlargement of time.
  37. Enrollment period: A limited period of time in which individuals can sign up for benefits or health insurance plans, usually for the upcoming year.
  38. Entail: (i) to bring along certain inevitable consequences. (ii) An inheritance restricted to a particular family line; property that is settled in that way.
  39. Entitlement: A right granted; a benefit or right guaranteed by law, such as Social Security.
  40. Entity: A being or abstraction, such as a corporation or estate, that can hold legal rights and obligations, owe and pay taxes, and sue or be sued
  41. Enumerated powers: Powers expressly granted by the Constitution to a branch of government.
  42. Equality: The condition of having the same opportunities, rights, privileges, and liabilities.
  43. Equal justice: Equal and impartial treatment of all people by the law and government.
  44. Equal opportunity: A policy of treating employees equally and not discriminating on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age, etc.
  45. Equal protection of the laws: The principle that every person is entitled to the same treatment under the law as other people in similar conditions.
  46. Equitable: (i) Fair, impartial, just. (ii) Arising in equity instead of law.
  47. Equity: (i) A branch of jurisprudence that arose in England as an alternative to the harsh common law in which courts tried to determine what would be fair in a given situation instead of strictly applying law and precedent, used in matters where the law was inadequate; today, equity and the law have merged for the most part, but equitable principles and remedies still exist. (ii) Fairness, justice. (iii) The value of a property minus any mortgages or liens on it.
  48. Equity, court of: A court that hears cases and makes judgments according to principles of equity
  49. Equity jurisdiction: The body of cases and matters that is appropriate for hearing in equity.
  50. Erroneous: Mistaken; in error.
  51. Erroneous judgment: A judgment rendered using a mistaken application of the law.
  52. Error: A mistake; an inaccurate conception of fact or law.
  53. Error, fundamental: An error committed by a trial court that harms the case enough to render the judgment void.
  54. Error, reversible: An error that justifies an appellate court’s reversing a trial court’s decision. See also assignment of error.
  55. Error of fact: A mistake made because an essential fact is not known or because something that was believed to be a fact was actually not true.
  56. Error of law: A mistake made in applying the law to a case.
  57. Escape clause: A clause in a contract that allows the parties to it to break the contract without penalty if a specified event happens or under specified circumstances.
  58. Escheat: The reversion of property to the state if it has no verifiable owner or anyone to inherit it.
  59. Escrow: A legal document, money, or property entrusted by the people making a contract to a third person, who holds it until the contract is finalized and then delivers it to the proper person.
  60. Escrow account: A bank account into which funds are held as security until the escrow condition is fulfilled.
  61. Estate: (i) An interest in or ownership of land. (ii) All the money, property, and goods that one person owns.
  62. Estate, legal: An estate recognized and enforceable by law.
  63. Estate tax: A tax on property transferred after the owner’s death that is levied on the estate.
  64. Estoppels: A restraint or bar; a doctrine that prevents a person from doing or saying something that would contradict some earlier action or statement that another has relied on and the contradiction of which would hurt that other person.
  65. Ethics: Moral principles governing behaviour
  66. Euthanasia: Mercy killing; painlessly killing someone who is suffering from a painful incurable disease or who is in a coma and has no hope of ever waking up.
  67. Euthanasia, active: Actively doing something to kill someone, such as administering poison.
  68. Euthanasia, passive: Withholding artificial support in order to let a person die naturally; see also right to die, living will.
  69. Evade: To avoid, elude, or escape.
  70. Evasive: Elusive; trying to escape or avoid.
  71. Evict: (i) to recover something from someone through judicial action. (ii) To expel a tenant from property he or she has leased.
  72. Evidence: Anything used to prove the truth of an issue in court; includes testimony, documents, objects, and anything else that could persuade the jury.
  73. Evidentiary: Forming evidence.
  74. Examine: To inspect; to investigate; to question or interrogate.
  75. Exception: Something excluded from a category to which it would ordinarily belong; something that does not follow the general rule.
  76. Excise: A tax on certain actions or occupations, the manufacture and sale of particular items, or the transfer of property; also called excise tax.
  77. Exclusive jurisdiction: Power over a kind of lawsuit or person that is held by only one court or tribunal, requiring that all actions of that sort be heard there.
  78. Exculpate: To show that someone is not guilty of a crime or wrongful act; to clear of blame or fault.
  79. Executive: Having the power to make things happen and carry out laws; the power held by the president and governors.
  80. Executor: A person chosen by a testator to give away his or her property according to his or her will.
  81. Executory: Not yet complete; awaiting a future event for completion.
  82. Exemplary damages: Damages awarded on top of actual damages if the wrong done to the plaintiff by the defendant was aggravated in some way.
  83. Exempt: To release someone from an obligation or liability.
  84. Exhaustion of remedies: The state of having attempted and failed to get a remedy through administrative channels before bringing a matter to litigation
  85. Exigent circumstances: An emergency situation in which immediate action is necessary, regardless of procedural requirements; generally applied to situations in which law enforcement officials conduct a search and seizure without a warrant
  86. Exile: Banishment from a country; a person who has been expelled from a country.
  87. Ex officio: Out of duty; by virtue of one’s office or status
  88. Exonerate: To absolve; to release from blame or obligation.
  89. Ex parte: From a side; on behalf of one side of a case
  90. Ex post facto: From the point of view of subsequent events; after the fact; retroactive
  91. Extrajudicial: Done outside of court; not legally authorized.
  92. Eyewitness: Someone who sees an event firsthand

[1] Hackney Blackwell, Amy. The Essential Law Dictionary. United States, Sphinx Pub., 2008.


  1. Law Library: Notes and Study Material for LLB, LLM, Judiciary and Entrance Exams
  2. Online Exam Preparation – The Prep Destination

One thought on “2000 Important Legal Terms you must Know Part-I

  1. Law Student

    Very helpful, compiling these much legal words might need lot of hardwork,time and dedication.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.