Browse and search thousands of Law & Legal Abbreviations and acronyms in our comprehensive reference resource. pretrial conference - A meeting of the judge and lawyers to discuss which matters should be presented to the jury, to review evidence and witnesses, to set a timetable, and to discuss the settlement of the case. In federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer. Both the plaintiff and the defendant can appeal, and the party doing so is called the appellant. motion - Attempt to have a limited issue heard by the court. Beneficiary: Someone named in a legal document to inherit money or other property. The plaintiff initially decides where to bring the suit, but in some cases, the defendant can seek to change the court. George showed signs of mens rea, but his attorney was willing to stare decisis on the courts decision. To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page. continuance - Decision by a judge to postpone trial until a later date. To make things easier, we’ve put together a list that defines, in plain English, some of the Probate law terminology you’ll encounter most frequently. charge to the jury - The judge's instructions to the jury concerning the law that applies to the facts of the case on trial. The making of laws by a legislative body, such as the senate, the house of representatives, the various state and municipal bodies, parliaments, etcetera. You must show up, otherwise you are going against the wishes of the court and can be accused of a crime. Search warrants require probable cause in order to be issued. Also known as a ‘defendant’ in admiralty and corporations matters and in some courts. trial - A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty,” and the parties are required to come to court to present evidence. And if you don’t find a term here, consult Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary, which defines thousands of legal terms in everyday English. brief - A written statement submitted by the lawyer for each side in a case that explains to the judge(s) why they should decide the case (or a particular part of a case) in favor of that lawyer's client. compensatory damages: Damages that are recovered for injury or economic loss. States are not required to use grand juries, but the federal government must do so under the Constitution. GLOSSARY OF LEGAL TERMINOLOGY Edited and Expanded by John Lombardi A/K/A:Acronym that stands for "also known as" and introduces any alternative or assumed names or aliases of an individual. sequester - To separate. She was eventually acquitted when it was determined that the accuser committed perjury in court. Refinancing: The process of paying off an existing loan and establishing a new loan. For instance, if the person was in a coma. Not-Guilty - A declaration of innocence, that a person did not commit the crime. grand jury - A body of citizens who listen to evidence of criminal allegations, which are presented by the government, and determines whether there is probable cause to believe the offense was committed. Since legal terminology requires specific definitions and wording, it's important to know the exact meaning of each term, even if they already seem familiar. What is Retributive Justice? default judgment - A judgment rendered because of the defendant's failure to answer or appear. This differs from an injunction in that it may be granted immediately, without notice to the opposing party, and without a hearing. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. capital offense - A crime punishable by death. Legal Terminology In 1974, a group of legal interpreting experts convened in Michigan to develop a manual to be used in training legal interpreters. conviction - A judgment of guilt against a criminal defendant. subpoena duces tecum - A command to a witness to produce documents. I’m glad people ask those questions because the legal terminology that surrounds the Probate process can be difficult to understand if you don’t have a background in Wills & Estates law. Read on to find out more. Motions can be filed before, during, and after trial. A statement of acceptance of responsibility. first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Melanie plead not-guilty to the crime of malpractice. ALM's Law.com online Real Life Dictionary of the Law. It translates as ''guilty mind'', meaning the person had the intention to commit a crime. venue - The geographical location in which a case is tried. The prosecution must prove the guilt so that there is no reasonable doubt to the jury that the defendant is guilty. In an appeal it is the party who/ which did not commence the appeal. Criminal Threat: Definition, Levels & Charges, Over 83,000 lessons in all major subjects, {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}}, Public Law vs. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases. Executor - An individual that is responsible for executing a will, or following the wishes of a will and testament. in forma pauperis - In the manner of a pauper. plea - In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges in open court. law clerk (or staff attorney) - Assist judges with research and drafting of opinions. As a legal term, however, the word allege is used to describe the action of formally stating a specific charge in a court of law or legal document. binding precedent - A prior decision by a court that must be followed without a compelling reason or significantly different facts or issues. Magistrate is another name for what occupation? case law - The use of court decisions to determine how other law (such as statutes) should apply in a given situation. A prisoner wanting to argue that there is not sufficient cause to be imprisoned would file a writ of habeas corpus. oral argument - An opportunity for lawyers to summarize their position before the court in an appeal and also to answer the judges' questions. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way. However, a foundation of legal terminology is a good start in understanding courtroom lingo and legal documents. Has the same effect as a plea of guilty as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but the plea may not be considered an admission of guilt for any other purpose. appeal - A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. jurisdiction - (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. allegation - Something that someone says happened. A prototype of an instrument to be employed in a legal transaction or a judicial proceeding that includes the primary essential matters, the appropriate technical phrases or terms, and any additional material required to render it officially accurate, arranged in suitable and systematic order, and conducive to Adaptation to the circumstances of the particular case. Jurisprudence . litigation - A case, controversy, or lawsuit. 2. It may also be used to bring a person in custody before the court to give testimony, or to be prosecuted. 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