Do You Know Series

Terms Associated with Law

This article is to enlighten the public on some terms associated with the law. After going through this article, you’d get a versed knowledge on some different terms used in law. When there is a discussion amongst people about law, you will feel like a complete law illiterate.

The aim is to ensure that every single person be it someone in the law field or not, gets acquainted with some basic law terms you should know. Some of the terms used in law are;

  1. Active Judge.
    This is a judge that is in full-time service of the court.
  2. Acquittal
    A finding of the judge, that the evidence provided is not enough to announce a criminal defendant guilty of the charges charged against him/her.
  3. Admissible Evidence
    An evidence that may be considered by a judge in civil and criminal cases.
  4. Affidavit
    A written or printed statement made under an oath.
  5. Answer
    The formal statement written by a defendant in a civil case in response to a complaint.
  6. Appeal
    A request made after a trial by a party that has lost one or more issues that a higher court review the decision to determine if it was correct.
  7. Appellant
    The party that appeals for a district court’s decision.
  8. Appellee
    The opposing party of an appellant.
  9. Assets
    One’s property of all kinds. Any property owned by an individual is his/her asset.
  10. Assume
    To undertake. That is to take over a certain duty or responsibility.
  11. Bail
    To release someone accused of a crime before trial on the condition that he/she would be present in court when required.
  12. Bench Trial
    A trial where the judge stands as the fact finder in absence of a jury.
  13. Brief
    A written statement submitted in a trial or appellate proceeding that explains one side’s legal and factual arguments.
  14. Burden of proof
    It is the duty to prove disputed facts. It is trite that the burden of proof lies on that person that will fail if no evidence is adduced on either side.
  15. Capital Offence
    Also known as the death penalty. It is any crime punishable by death.
  16. Casefile
    A collection of every document filled in court in a case.
  17. Case Law
    Collection of precedents, authority and laws set by previous judicial decisions on a particular issue.
  18. Caseload
    This is the total number of cases handled by a judge or court.
  19. Cause of action
    A legal claim.
  20. Chambers
    A judge’s and his/her staff’s office.
  21. Chief Judge
    The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court.
  22. Common Law
    Common law is a body of unwritten laws based on legal precedents established by the courts
  23. Complaint
    A statement(written) that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff details the claims against the defendant.
  24. Counsel
    A legal advice. It is also used to refer to the lawyers in a case.
  25. Court
    A body of people presided over by a judge, judges, or magistrate, and acting as a tribunal in civil and criminal cases.
  26. Debtor
    A person who has filed a petition for relief under the bankruptcy code.
  27. Debtor’s plan
    A detailed description showing how the debtor proposes to pay his creditors’ claims within a fixed period.
  28. Defendant
    An individual, organization, or business against whom a lawsuit is filed.
  29. Equity
    The value of a debtor’s interest in property that remains after liens and other creditors’ interests are considered.
  30. Evidence
    The information provided to the jury/judge to decide the case in favour of either party.
  31. Ex parte
    A decision decided by the judge without requiring the consent of all the parties.
  32. Exculpatory evidence
    An evidence that shows that the defendant is innocent of the crime accused.
  33. Felony
    A crime(serious) that is punishable by at least one year in prison.
  34. File
    To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court to enter into the files or records of a case.
  35. Impeachment
    The constitutional process whereby the House of Representatives may “impeach” (accuse of misconduct) high officers of the federal government, who are then tried by the Senate. It could also mean the process of calling a witnesses testimony into doubt.
  36. Injunction
    An order from the court, preventing one or more parties from taking certain actions.
  37. Judge
    An official of the Judicial branch with authority to decide lawsuits brought before courts.
  38. Judgement
    An official decision from the court deciding/resolving the dispute between the parties.
  39. Jury
    The group of persons selected to hear the evidence in a trial and render a verdict on matters of fact.
  40. Lawsuit
    A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty which resulted in harm to the plaintiff.
  41. Motion
    A request by a litigant to a judge for a decision on an issue relating to the case.
  42. Nonexempt assets
    All the properties of a debtor that can be used to satisfy the claims of creditors.
  43. Oral arguments
    An avenue for lawyers to summarize thier positions before the judge and court and also answer questions from the judge.
  44. Panel
    The list of attorneys who are both available and qualified to serve as court-appointed counsel for criminal defendants. who cannot afford their own counsel.
    In the jury selection process, the group of potential jurors
    In appellate cases, a group of judges (usually three) is assigned to decide the case
  45. Plea
    The defendant’s statement pleading guilty or not guilty in response to the charges.
  46. Remand
    To send back.
  47. Sanction
    A penalty used to bring about compliance with the law.
  48. Uphold
    The appellate court agrees with the lower court decision and allows it to stand.
  49. Verdict
    The decision of the judge, court or jury that determines if a criminal defendant is guilty or innocent.
  50. Writ
    A court order(written) ordering a person to take or not take certain actions.

These are some of the terminologies used in law. Enjoy your read? Then don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to Simply Law for more updates.


About Muhammad Abdulgafar

Muhammad Abdulgafar also known by his pen name Author of pain, is a Nigerian poet and writer. He sees writing as a therapy and a way to help heal the world of it's pain and give comfort to those going through pains. He is the author of two self published books(Soft copies only). He is a master of his words and knows just how well to use them. His poetry has always been known to put a smile on the face of every one going through pains who gets the opportunity to read them.