Glossary of Legal Terms
AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE A response to Plaintiff's claim which attacks his/her legal right to bring an action, as opposed to attacking the truth of the claim.
A.K.A. Also Known As
A.L.T.A. American Land Title Association
ACCELERATION CLAUSE In a mortgage, note, bond, etc., that requires the debtor to pay all or part of the balance sooner than the date specified for payment upon occurrence of event or circumstance described in the contract.
ACQUITTAL A release, absolution or discharge from an obligation or liability.
ACTUAL PHYSICAL CONTROL In DUI prosecution, having control of a motor vehicle, i.e., being in the driver's position with keys in the ignition, etc., having the accessibility to operate the vehicle or operating the vehicle while under the influence.
AD HOC For a special purpose, i.e. an Ad Hoc Committee.
ADJOURN To recess.
ADJUDICATION The legal process of resolving a dispute; the pronouncement of a judgment.
AD LITEM For the purposes of a law suit, i.e., a "Guardian Ad Litem" is a guardian appointed by the court to prosecute or defend a suit on behalf of a party who is incapacitated, for example an infant or child.
ADMISSION OF FACT A voluntary acknowledgement made by a party of the existence of certain facts.
ADVERSE POSSESSION A method of acquiring title to real property by possession for a statutory period of time under certain conditions.
AFFIDAVIT A written declaration or statement of facts, made voluntarily and confirmed by an oath.
AGGRIEVED PARTY One who has suffered a loss or injury.
ALIA Other things
ALIAS Another name, i.e., known by another name.
ALLEGATION The assertion, claim or statement made in a pleading setting out what the Plaintiff expects to prove.
AMICUS CURIAE Friend of the Court
AMORTIZATION SCHEDULE A periodic payment schedule of interest and principal owed on a debt.
ANCILLARY Auxiliary; describing a proceeding attendant upon or which aids another proceeding considered a principal.
ANTITRUST ACT Federal and State statutes to protect trade and commerce from unlawful restraint, price discrimination, price fixing, and monopolies.
APPEAL Resort to a superior court to review the decision of an inferior court or trial court.
APPELLANT One who seeks an appeal.
APPELLEE One who has an interest adverse to setting aside or reversing an inferior or trial court ruling.
ARBITRATION A process of dispute resolution in which a third neutral party renders a decision after hearing both sides of an issue.
ARRAIGNMENT A court procedure where the accused (in a criminal case) is brought before a judge for a formal reading of the charge and the defendant must plead "guilty" or "not guilty."
ASSIGNOR A person who assigns or transfers property to another. (Grantor).
ATTACHMENT A legal process or seizing another's property in accordance with a judicial order for the purpose of securing satisfaction of a judgment yet to be rendered.
ATTEMPT In criminal law-intent combined with an act falling short of the offense intended.
ATTEST To bear witness to a fact; to affirm to be true or genuine, i.e. a signature.
ATTORNEY OF RECORD An attorney who has filed a written "appearance" on behalf of a client indicating his representation of the client.
AWARD A decision or determination rendered by an arbitrator or judge setting forth the relief sought, i.e. monetary or injunctive relief.
BAILIFF A court officer who has charge of a court session to maintain order, custody of the jury and/or custody of a prisoner before the court.
BENEFICIARY One who benefits from the act of another.
BIFURCATED HEARING OR TRIAL To hold a separate hearing or trial of issues of a case independent of one another.
BRIEF A written document setting forth a summary, abstract, a condensed statement of a larger document.
BURDEN OF PROOF The necessity or duty of affirmatively proving a fact or facts in dispute of an issue raised between parties in a cause.
CAPACITY Legal qualification, competency, ability to understand the nature and effects of one's acts.
CAUSE OF ACTION The fact or facts which give one a right to judicial redress or relief against another.
CAVEAT A warning , caution or admonition.
CAVEAT EMPTOR Let the buyer beware; the principle that the seller of a product cannot be held responsible for its quality unless it is guaranteed in a warranty.
CHANCERY A court of equity.
CIRCUIT COURT CLERK Maintains all records of current and closed files of matters considered by the judiciary in the county.
CLOSING ARGUMENTS The final statements by the attorneys to a jury or court summarizing the evidence that has established or failed to establish.
CODICIL A supplement, addition or modification to a will.
COMPENSATION A payment; to pay for.
COMPENSATORY DAMAGES A payment for actual damages.
COMPLAINT The original or initial pleading by which an action is commenced.
CONSIDERATION The inducement to a contract; the reason or material cause of the contract.
CONTEMPT OF COURT Any act which is calculated to embarrass, hinder, or obstruct court in administration of justice.
CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE Failure to use ordinary care which combined with negligence of another party caused an injury.
COUNTY CLERK Maintains certain records of the county, i.e. death certificates, birth certificates, incorporation, etc.
COURT COSTS Fees and fines collected by the Circuit Court Clerk according to order of court.
COURT REPORTER A person trained to record all testimony and dialogue during a hearing or trial before the court.
COURT SUPERVISION To be under the authority of the court; under the terms set forth as a sentence of the court; under the terms of required performance by a court.
CROSS COMPLAINT A complaint filed by a party who has been charged in a complaint, against the party who filed the initial complaint, arising from the same event.
CROSS EXAMINATION The questioning of a witness at a trial, hearing or taking of a deposition, by the attorney opposed to the party who produced the witness.
CUSTODY The care and control of a thing or person.
DAMAGES A monetary compensation or indemnity, which may be recovered in the courts by any person who has suffered a loss, detriment or injury.
DECEDENT A deceased person.
DECISION A determination arrived at after consideration of facts, and in a legal context, law.
DECLARATION A document by the owner of property which is recorded in order to establish a legal order upon the property, i.e., a Declaration of Condominium.
DECLARATORY JUDGMENT Permits bringing of complaint for declaration of rights if there is an actual controversy between the parties; to put an end to conflicting decisions in regard to what the law is in relation to a particular matter.
DEFENDANT The person defending or denying; the party against whom relief or recovery is sought in an action or is accused in a criminal case.
DEPOSITION A pretrial discovery device by which one party (through its attorney) asks oral questions of the other party or a witness for the other party. A deposition is taken under oath outside of a courtroom. The testimony is then reduced to writing by the court reporter.
DIRECT EXAMINATION The first examination of a witness before the court by the party on whose behalf he is called.
DISCLOSURE To reveal facts relevant to a matter pending before a court.
DISCOVERY To disclose previously unknown information to an opposing party as required by law.
DISSENTING OPINION A contrary opinion; refusal to agree with something already stated or adjudged; generally relates to appellate or supreme court decisions.
DIVORCE The legal separation of husband and wife, effected by a judgment or decree of court dissolving the marriage relationship.
DOMICILE A person's legal residence.
EN BANC Means "on the bench" refers primarily to a panel of judges sitting at the same to hear a case, such as the appellate court.
ENHANCEMENT In criminal law, to upgrade or increase the degree of a charge against a person.
ENTRAPMENT The act of officers or agents of the government in inducing a person to commit a crime not contemplated by him, for the purpose of prosecuting that person.
ERISA Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Federal Act governing the funding, vesting and administration of pension plans.
ESTATE The nature and extent of interest which a person has in real and personal property.
ESTOPPEL To bar or prevent a party by his own acts from claiming a right to detriment of another party who is entitled to rely on such conduct and has acted accordingly.
EVIDENCE Testimony, writings, or material objects offered in proof of an alleged fact or proposition.
EXCLUSIONARY RULE Under this rule evidence which is obtained by an unreasonable search and seizure is excluded from admissibility under the Fourth Amendment.
EXCULPATORY To clear of wrong doing, as exculpatory evidence or statement.
EXECUTOR A person appointed by a testator to carry out the directions and requests in his will and to dispose of property according to his testamentary provisions after he is deceased.
EXHIBIT A paper or document, chart, map, diagram, or the like, referred to and made a part of an affidavit, pleading or brief.
EXPERT WITNESS One who is knowledgeable in a specialized field, science, technical profession or business who possesses knowledge by reason of his special study and/or experience.
FELONY A crime more serious in nature than a misdemeanor; i.e., aggravated battery as opposed to simple battery.
FINANCIAL STATEMENT A report summarizing the financial condition or financial results of a person or organization for a period of time.
GRAND JURY A jury of inquiry, whose duty is to receive complaints in criminal cases, hears evidence presented only by the State in order to determine if a trial should be held, if so, a "True Bill" is returned, if not, a "No Bill" is returned on the indictment.
GUARDIAN AD LITEM a special guardian appointed by the court to represent the interest of a minor child, infant or unborn person.
GUARDIAN A person lawfully invested with the power, and charged with the duty, of taking care of the person and/or management of the property and rights of another who, for defect or age, understanding or control is incapable of administering his own affairs.
HABEAS CORPUS The body. Used in conjunction with a variety of Writs, i.e., Writ of Habeas Corpus ad Testificandum, a Writ directing a warden to produce an inmate before the court to testify; Writ of Habeas Corpus ad Prosequendum, a Writ to a warden to produce an inmate for a trial or prosecution.
HEIR One who inherits property, whether real or personal upon the death of his ancestor.
IN CAMERA INSPECTION A hearing held in a place not open to the public, usually the judges chambers, to determine the admissibility of a document or evidence.
INDEMNIFY To restore the victim of a loss by payment, repair, or replacement; to hold harmless; to secure against loss or damage.
INTER ALIA Among others.
INTERROGATORIES A set or series of written questions drawn up for the purpose of being delivered to a party, witness, or other person having information of interest in a case.
INTESTATE To die without a will.
JUDGMENT The official decision of a court of law upon the respective rights and claims of the parties in a litigation before the court.
JURISDICTION The power of the court to decide a matter in controversy and presuppose the existence of a duly constituted court with control over the subject matter and the parties.
JURY PANEL A group of prospective jurors who are summoned and from which a grand jury or petit jury is chosen.
LACHES Negligence to assert a right or claim which taken together with lapse of time and other circumstances causing prejudice to an adverse party; a bar in court of equity; equity aides the vigilant and not those who slumber on their rights.
LETTERS TESTAMENTARY The formal instrument of authority and appointment given to an executor by the court, empowering him to discharge his office as executor.
LIABILITY A legal obligation, responsibility or duty.
LIBEL A defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures or signs that is injurious to the reputation of another.
LIS PENDIS A notice of pending litigation that effects the ownership of certain property.
LITIGATION A law suit. Legal action, including all proceedings therein.
LIVING WILL A document which governs the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from an individual in the event of an incurable or irreversible condition that will cause death within a relatively short time, when such person is no longer able to make decisions regarding medical treatment.
MEDIATION A private, informal dispute resolution process in which a neutral third person, the mediator, helps the parties reach an agreement.
MEMORANDUM OF LAW A statement of statutory and case law as it applies to a particular case or circumstance.
MERITORIOUS Possessing "merit" in the legal sense of the word. Deserving the attention of the court.
METES AND BOUNDS The boundary lines of land, with their terminal points and angles. A way of describing land by compass directions and distances.
MINOR A person under the age of 18 year.
MIRANDA RULE Prior to any custodial interrogation (by law enforcement authorities) after a person is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom in any significant way, the person must be warned: That he has a right to remain silent; that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him; that he has a right to the presence of an attorney during questioning; that if he cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires. Unless and until these warnings or a waiver of these rights are demonstrated at the trial, no evidence obtained in the interrogation may be used against the accused.
MISDEMEANOR Offenses lower than felonies and generally those punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture or imprisonment otherwise than in a penitentiary.
MISNOMER Mistake in name; giving incorrect name to a person in accusation.
MITIGATION To make less severe. Alleviation, reduction, abatement or diminution of a penalty or punishment imposed by law.
MITTIMUS A document issued by the court directing the sheriff or other officer to convey a person to prison.
M'NAGHTEN RULE A test applied for the defense of insanity. A person is not criminally responsible if, at the time of committing a crime, he was suffering from a disease of the mind.
MOOT ISSUE An issue when a determination is sought on a matter which, when rendered, cannot have any practical effect of the existing controversy.
MOTION An application made to a court or judge for purposes of obtaining a rule or order directing an act to be done in favor of the applicant.
MOTION IN LIMINE A pretrial motion requesting the court to prohibit opposing counsel from referring to or offering evidence on highly prejudicial matters that may have a predispositional effect on a jury.
MOTION FOR DIRECTED VERDICT A motion made by defense counsel when the state has failed to prove it's case.
MOVANT One who makes a motion before the court.
N.A.R. National Association of Realtors
NEE The name to which you were born; i.e., a maiden name.
NEGATE To deny or nullify.
NEGOTIATED PLEA A plea bargain in which a criminal defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge or for a reduced sentence.
NEXT FRIEND One acting for the benefit of an infant, child or a person unable to look after their own interest.
NO BILL A finding of insufficient grounds for an indictment.
NONSUIT The termination of an action which does not adjudicate issues on the merits.
NOTICE A written communication advising an adverse party of an action taken, i.e., a Notice of Filing, Notice of Motion.
NOTICE TO PRODUCE A request to an opposing party to produce specified documents or evidence for examination.
NOTICE TO QUIT A notice from a landlord to a tenant to vacate a rental property.
NULLIFICATION To void an issue without legal effect.
NUNC PRO TUNC Now for then, i.e., back dating an order of the court.
NUPTIAL Pertaining to marriage.
OPENING STATEMENTS An outline or summary of the nature of the case and of anticipated proof presented by the attorney to the jury at the start of a trial prior to testimony or evidence.
OPINED Stated an opinion.
OPINION A statement by a judge or court of the decision reached in regard to a cause tried and argued before them as to the law as applied to the case.
ORAL ARGUMENT Presentation by an attorney of reasons to affirm, reverse or modify a judgment before the Appellate Court.
ORDER OF PROTECTION A court order issued upon a complaint to prohibit one party from having any contact with the complaining party.
ORDINARY CARE The degree of care which one would normally use in their day to day affairs, i.e., care for one's safety.
OVERT ACT An intentional act, premeditated or by design.
PAIN AND SUFFERING Describes not only physical discomfort and distress but mental and emotional trauma.
PARALEGAL A legal assistant, having legal knowledge, working under the supervision of an attorney, but not licensed to practice law.
PARITY Equal in amount or value.
PARTITION The division of real estate between join tenants or tenants in common on title and deed to the property.
PATERNITY ACTION An action to determine the natural father of a child born out of wedlock, usually for purposes of child support enforcement.
PAUPER A poor person.
PECUNIARY BEQUEST A bequest of money to an heir or decedent.
PERCOLATION TEST A test to determine the capability of the soil to absorb and drain water for construction and septic systems.
PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE The right to challenge (not accept) a juror without being required to give a reason.
PERPETUITY Continuing forever.
PER SE By itself, unconnected with any other matters.
PER STIRPES A method of distributing assets of an estate where the decedent failed to have a Will; each share will pass to a descendent to his/her descendent to his/her descendent until distribution is made.
PETITION A formal written request to a court to take action in a certain matter.
PETITIONER One who presents a Petition to the court.
PIERCING THE CORPORATE VEIL a judicial process whereby a court will disregard usual immunity of corporate officers or entities from liability for wrongful corporate activities.
PLAINTIFF One who files a complaint or sues another in civil court.
PLEADING Formal allegations by the parties to a lawsuit of their respective claims and defenses to the nature of the suit.
PLENARY Full, complete, absolute.
PLURIES The third issue when the first and alias process has not been completed.
POLLING THE JURY A process of asking the jurors individually whether agreed and still agree with the verdict.
POWER OF ATTORNEY A written document whereby one person, as principal, appoints another as his/her agent and authorizes that agent to act in his/her behalf. (A Durable Power of Attorney will become and remain in effect in the event the rincipal becomes disabled).
PRAYER A request for the relief sought in a Petition.
PRECEDENT A decision by another in another case with similar circumstances that is used as an example which resolves a similar question of law.
PRECIPE A written instruction to the Clerk of the Court.
PREJUDICE A bias or partiality, a preconceived opinion. A leaning to one side of a cause of action.
PRELIMINARY HEARING A hearing to determine if the prosecutor has sufficient evidence against a defendant to hold him for trial.
PREMEDITATED To plan a criminal act prior to its inception.
PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT An agreement entered into by both parties prior to their marriage which denies one another a martial portion of the assets of the other.
PREPONDERANCE As a standard of proof in civil cases, consideration of the evidence presented which has greater weight.
PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE A procedure to narrow the issues to be tried before the court.
PRE-TRIAL DISCOVERY A process for both parties to disclose what evidence they plan to use during a trial.
PRIMA FACIE At first sight, on the face of it; so far as can be judged from the first disclosure.
PRIOR INCONSISTENT STATEMENTS In evidence, prior statements made by a witness which contract statements made and may be used to impeach the witness.
PROBABLE CAUSE Reasonable grounds to believe in certain alleged acts.
PROBATE A court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid.
PROBATE ESTATE The property of a deceased person.
PRO BONO Representation without a resulting fee. For free.
PRODUCT LIABILITY The legal liability of manufacturers and sellers to compensate buyers, users and even bystanders, for damages or injuries suffered because of defects in goods purchased.
PROOF The effect of evidence, the establishment of fact by evidence.
PROPRIETARY An owner, one who has the exclusive title to a thing.
PRO SE One who represents him/herself without benefit of an attorney.
PROBATE ESTATE The property of the deceased person that is subject to administration by the executor of the estate.
PROOF OF SERVICE Evidence submitted by a process server that he has served legal papers upon the defendant in an action.
PROVOCATION The act of inciting another to do a particular deed.
PROXIMATE CAUSE That which is nearest in the order of responsible cause. The force causes a natural sequence of events which results in an injury.
PUNITIVE DAMAGES A monetary punishment or penalty as for pain and suffering.
PURPORT To convey or imply, to the appearance of being.
QILDRO (Pronounced quildro) Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order. A court order determine how and when an Illinois employee's pension will be distributed to a on-employee spouse according to a divorce settlement.
QDRO (Pronounced quodro) Qualified Domestic Relations Order. Provides for the transfer of an interest in a "qualified" pension plan according to a divorce settlement.
QUASH To vacate, to annul or make void.
QUANTUM MERUIT Measures the amount of recovery under an implied contract to pay compensation as reasonable value of services rendered.
QUITCLAIM DEED A deed that releases interest in real estate by transferring it to another without monetary benefit.
QUO WARRANTO A writ to prevent the exercise of powers that are not conferred by law.
RATIFY To approve, sanction, validate or confirm.
RE In the matter of...(case name)
REBUTTAL To argue against the evidence, to refute, or take a way the effect of something.
RECEIVERSHIP Legal or equitable proceeding in which a receiver is appointed for an insolvent corporation, partnership or individual to preserve its assets for the benefit of the affected parties.
RECIPROCAL NONSUPPORT ACT A uniform law, adopted in most all states, by which a court where the custodial parent lives can commence proceedings against the support parent in another state.
RECITAL A formal statement setting for some matter of fact, in a deed or written document.
RECOGNIZANCE BOND To release from custody on one's reputation, to post your signature or name as your bond.
RECORD A written account of some act, court proceeding, transaction or instrument.
RECORDER OF DEEDS One who maintains a record of real estate transactions and ownership.
RECTIFY To correct or define something that is erroneous or doubtful.
RECUSAL The process by which a judge is disqualified on objection of either party or recuses himself from hearing a law suit.
REMEDY The means by which a right is enforced.
REPARATION Payment for an injury or damage; redress for a wrong done.
REPLEVIN An action whereby the owner or person entitled to repossession of goods or chattels may recover those items from the one who has wrongfully taken or detained such goods.
RES The subject matter of a trust or will; in civil law a thing or object.
RES JUDICATA A matter adjudged; a thing judicially acted upon or decided; a matter settled by judgment.
RESIDUARY ESTATE That which remains after debts and expenses of administration, legacies and devises have been satisfied according decedent's will.
RESPA Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. A federal statute governing disclosure of settlement costs in the sale of a residence.
RESTITUTION Compensation for the wrongful taking of property.
RESTRAINING ORDER An order of court which forbids a defendant from doing a threatened act.
RETAINER Compensation pay to an attorney for services to be rendered.
RETRIBUTION Something given or demanded in payment. A punishment based upon the nature of the crime or wrong doing.
REVENUE STAMPS A state and often a local tax on the sale of real estate.
REVOCABLE TRUST A trust in which the establishing party may revoke the trust.
RICO Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations laws. Federal and state laws designed to investigate, control and prosecute organized crime.
RIDER A paper attached (usually to a real estate contract) which amends or adds to the original contract.
RULE TO SHOW CAUSE An order of court commanding a party to appear and show cause why he should not be compelled to comply with the court's previous order.
SANCTIONS A penalty or other mechanism of enforcement used to provide incentives for obedience with the law or with rules and regulations.
SEARCH INCIDENT TO ARREST A police officer who has the right to arrest a person either with or without a warrant may search his person and the immediate area of the arrest for weapons.
SEARCH WARRANT A written order issued by the court authorizing a police agency to search and seize any property that constitutes evidence of the commission of a crime.
SECURED LOAN A loan for which some form or property has been pledged or mortgaged, i.e., an auto loan where the title to the vehicle is held by the lender.
SECURITIES Stocks, bonds, notes, convertible debentures or other documents that represent a share in a company.
SEIZURE The act of taking possession of property for a violation of the law or by virtue of an execution of a judgment.
SENTENCE The punishment imposed by the court upon the defendant after his conviction in a criminal prosecution.
SEQUESTER To isolate jurors from contact with the public during the course of a sensational trial.
SERVICE OF PROCESS The delivery of a writ, complaint, summons or other document to whom the document is addressed or intended.
SETTLEMENT A process of adjusting between the parties a disputed matter, to come to an agreement acceptable by all parties.
SEVER To separate or divide the parties of an action to allow for separate trials for each party.
SIC In such a manner.
SIDE BAR A discussion between the judge and the attorneys for each party out of hearing of the jury.
SLANDER The speaking in a defamatory manner which tends to prejudice another person's reputation.
SLIP OPINION An individual court decision published separately soon after it is rendered.
SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP A business in which one person owns all of the assets of the business.
SPEEDY TRIAL The right of the accused to a speedy trial is guaranteed by the 6th Amendment.
SPENDTHRIFT TRUST A trust set up to protect a beneficiary from spending all of the money he is entitled to at one time; a beneficiary may receive only certain portion of the funds held in trust.
SPOLIATION The intentional destruction of evidence and when established the fact finder may draw the inference that the evidence destroyed was unfavorable to the party responsible for the destruction.
STANDARD OF CARE In cases of negligence, that degree of care which a reasonably prudent person should exercise in the same circumstances.
STATEMENT OF FACT A written declaration of circumstances that are a matter of fact.
STATUS The current standing of a case.
STATUTE OF LIMITATION The time period within which you must file a law suit. The time period varies according to the nature of the case.
STAY To stop. As to "Stay" an order of the court or suspend an order of the court; to hold in abeyance.
STIPULATION A point of agreement, an issue to which both parties are in agreement.
STRICT CONSTRUCTION A close or rigid reading of and interpretation of a law.
SUA SPONTE Of its own will or motion; voluntarily; with prompting.
SUBPOENA A command to appear at a certain place, at a certain time to give testimony regarding a certain matter. A subpoena must be served upon the actual person to whom the subpoena is directed.
SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM A subpoena compelling the production of certain specific documents and other items, material and relevant to facts in issue in a pending case.
SUBROGATION The substitution of one person in the place of another with reference to a lawful claim, as an insurance company.
SUBSTITUTION OF JUDGE A document requesting another judge be substituted for the one currently assigned a particular case.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT A procedure for prompt and expeditious disposition of a matter without trial when there is dispute as to material fact, only a question of law is involved.
SUMMONS To cite a defendant to appear in court to answer a suit filed against him, at a particular time and place. Defendant need not be personally served with a Summons.
SUPERSEDE To override or replace.
SUPPRESS To put a stop to a thing actually existing; i.e., to suppress evidence.
SUPRA Refers a reader to prior text or a previous part of a book; above.
SURETY One who guaranties the performance of another; one who takes responsibility for the obligations of another to a third party.
SUSTAIN To affirm, uphold, to agree.
TANGIBLE Having or possessing physical form; capable of being seen and touched.
TAX ASSESSMENT The value given to the property which is being taxed. Multiplying the assessed valuation by the tax rate yields the tax paid.
TENANCY An interest in realty which passes to the tenant, and a possession exclusive even of the landlord, except as a lease or rental agreement permits.
TENANTS IN COMMON A form of ownership whereby each tenant (owner) hold an undivided interest in the property with no right of survivorship.
TENANTS - JOINT Ownership of real or personal property by two or more persons in which each owns an undivided interest in the whole with right of survivorship
TENANTS BY THE ENTIRETY A tenancy created between a husband and wife by which together they hold title to the whole with right of survivorship so that upon the death of either, the other take the whole to the exclusion of deceased party's heirs.
TENDER An offer of money.
TENDER OFFER A public announcement that a company or person will pay a price above the current market price for shares of a company it wishes to acquire.
TESTATE One who dies leaving a will.
TESTATOR One who has made a will.
TESTIMONY Evidence give by a witness under oath as distinguished from evidence derived from writings or other sources.
TITLE COMPANY A company that examines real estate titles and issues title insurance.
TITLE SEARCH An examination of the records of the Recorder of Deeds to determine whether title to the property is clear of any defects or judgments. The examiner then prepares an "Abstract of Title" documenting the status of the property.
TORT A legal wrong committed upon a person or property independent of a contract.
TORT FEASOR A wrong-doer; an individual or business that commits or is guilty of a tort.
TRANSCRIPT A written record of a trial, hearing or other proceeding prepared by a court reporter.
TRANSFER TAX A tax upon the passing of the title to property or a valuable interest therein from the estate of decedent, by inheritance or bequest.
TRIAL A judicial examination and determination of disputed issues between parties.
TRIAL IN ABSENTIA A trial held without the defendant's presence.
TRUE BILL An endorsement by a grand jury upon a bill of indictment, when they find sufficient evidence to try the accused of a criminal felony charge.
TRUST A legal entity created by a person (grantor) for the benefit of designated beneficiaries under the laws of the state and the valid trust instrument.
TRUSTEE The person who holds the responsibility to manage the trust's assets and income for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
UNTENANTABLE The condition of leased premises that are not fit or occupation or rental.
USURY LAWS Statutes that prohibit finance charges (interest) for loaning money above a
certain level for debt.
VACATE To annul; to set aside; to cancel or rescind.
VALUATION The act of ascertaining the worth of a thing. The estimated worth or price of thing.
VENIRE A group of citizens from whom a jury is chosen.
VENUE Within the jurisdiction of the court.
VERDICT The formal decision or finding made by a jury.
VERIFIED COMPLAINT A complaint signed by the Plaintiff confirming that the allegations contained in the document are true and correct; an affidavit or oath.
VESTED Given the absolute right of ownership; not contingent or subject to a condition.
VETO The refusal of assent by the executive officer whose assent is necessary to perfect a law which has been passed by the legislative body. LINE ITEM VETO The power which governors possess to veto items in appropriation bills without affecting other provisions of the bill.
VIABLE Livable; having the appearance of being able to live; capable of life. VIABLE CHILD An unborn child who is capable of independent existence outside the mother's womb, even if only in an incubator.
VICARIOUS LIABILITY Liability on one person for the actionable conduct of another, based solely on a relationship between the two persons.
VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT A statement read into the record during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial to inform the court about the impact of the crime on the victim or the victim's family.
VINDICATE To clear of suspicion, blame or doubt.
VIS A VIS Face to face.
VITAL STATISTICS Public records kept by a state, city or other governmental office under statutory provision of births, marriages, deaths, diseases, etc.
VOIR DIRE The preliminary examination of prospective jurors, by the court and attorneys to determine qualifications and suitability to serve as jurors.
WAGE ASSIGNMENT The transfer in advance of one's wages in connection with a debt or judgment.
WANTON Reckless, heedless, malicious or extreme foolhardiness, a disregard of the rights or safety or other of consequences.
WARD A person especially a child or incompetent, placed by the court under the care and supervision of a guardian or conservator.
WARRANTY DEED A deed in which grantor warrants good, clear title. A deed which contains covenants concerning the quality of the title it conveys.
WILL A signed and witnessed document by which a person makes a disposition of real and personal property, to take effect after death and which by its own nature is revocable during a person's lifetime. HOLOGRAPHIC WILL One that is entirely written, dated and signed by the hand of the testator himself.
WILLFUL An act done voluntarily, knowingly, or deliberately; intending the result which actually comes to pass; not accidentally or involuntarily.
WITHOUT PREJUDICE A dismissal "without prejudice" allows a new suit to be brought on the same cause of action.
WITH PREJUDICE Addition of "with prejudice" to an order granting a motion to dismiss a complaint indicates finality for purposes of appeal.
WORK RELEASE PROGRAM Correctional programs which allow an inmate to leave the jail for the purpose of continuing regular employment during the day, but report back to lockup nights and weekends.
WRIT A written court order or a judicial process, directing that a sheriff or other judicial officer does what is commanded by the writ or giving authority and commission to have it done.
WRIT OF ATTACHMENT An order of court to seize a debtor's property so as to secure the claim of a creditor.
WRIT OF CERTIORARI An order by the appellate court which is used by that court when it has discretion on whether or not to hear an appeal from the lower court.
WRIT OF MANDAMUS An extraordinary writ to compel performance of an ministerial act or mandatory duty where there is clear legal right in plaintiff, a corresponding duty in defendant, and a want of any other appropriate remedy.
WRONGFUL DEATH A lawsuit brought on behalf of a deceased person's beneficiaries that alleges that death was attributed to a willful or negligent act of another.
WRONGFUL DISCHARGE An at-will employee's cause of action against his former employer, alleging that his discharge was in violation of state or federal anti-discrimination statutes.